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Equine Therapy

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Equine Therapy

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Equine Assisted Therapy and Learning (EAT&L) is part of a larger category in Animal Assisted Activities. Research is demonstrating that animals have the potential to help humans learn and heal in dynamic ways that activities without animals cannot (Frewin & Gardiner, 2005; Kamioka et al., 2014). There are a wide variety of methodologies in which horses are helping humans heal (Nelson, Signal, Wilson, 2016). At Shellby Equestrian we match horses to humans in a way that helps both grow and learn. People of all ages can learn natural horsemanship, horse behaviour & horse communication skills through the use of Parelli Natural Horsemanship. Groundwork activities offer people “teachable moments” in real time relationship with horses for the purpose of gaining lifelong relationship and leadership skills. Additionally, for those that want to ride, riding horses has been shown to improve both physical and mental health in humans (www.pathintl.org).

Horses have unique characteristics that other animals do not. Although work with dogs, cats, birds or dolphins, for example, may offer people the comfort of companionship and play, work with horses has additional benefits:

Horses are herd animals – Because horses live in a herd very cooperatively, they model how to get along in a group. This makes horses good teachers of anti-bullying strategies and other important boundary setting lessons.

Horses crave leadership – A herd will not survive without a good leader, thus horses are always looking to find one. Horses will even trust a human to lead them if good, safe leadership is demonstrated. Work with horses teaches humans to be better leaders.

Horses are large in size – Horses command respect due to their large size, thus disrespectful humans have the opportunity to learn respectful behavior through work with horses.

Horses are prey animals – Humans are natural predators, which makes it difficult for horses to trust humans. Trust must be earned and is the foundation for healthy relationships.

Horses are naturally hyper-vigilant – Horses are naturally aware of their environment and on guard against predators. This means they can teach humans to be more aware. In addition, for those who struggle to manage stress or the effects of PTSD, horses model how to be at-ease and at peace in a stressful world.

Horses are non-verbal – Horses read body language accurately and offer humans instant biofeedback on their own body language. Even when humans are incongruent about how we are truly feeling, horses read, know and offer us feedback about what our body is saying.

  • Students will watch a horsemanship demo lead by a qualified teacher that will give students experiential learning lessons on leadership and behaviour and its effect on relationships.
  • Students will also engage in hands on activities (on the ground) such as grooming, leading, and caring for horses that can instill confidence and empathy towards others.
  • This interactive style of learning with horses enables many students to build lasting connections that are not always made in a traditional classroom setting.

We have a variety of sessions and courses available, which are adaptable to the needs of the group or individual.

INDIVIDUAL – These are tailored to the needs of the individual’s personal goals. Equine therapy can be particularly valuable for assisting with conditions such as anxiety and depression, or for teaching life skills for conditions such as autism. While working with a horse matched to the individual, people will learn about horse behaviour and communication. Through naturally reflecting human body language, horses teach us life lessons about ourselves and potential areas for growth.

War Veterans courses – for Returned service Veterans suffering from PTSD and other conditions – Weekly sessions are run under the RSL Life Care Banner. These sessions are funded by the RSL and donations are always gratefully accepted. To learn more about how Equine Therapy is helping War Veterans overcome anxiety and depression click here to read a news article published by the Daily Telegraph.

Therapeutic Riding – Shellby offers the opportunity for those with disabilities to ride. We have instructors certified through the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship to help enable disabled riders to realise the benefits that horse riding offers. The rhythmic motion of the horse has been demonstrated to help improve flexibility, balance, and muscle strength (www.pathintl.org).

PONY EXPERIENCE – Half-day excursion for preparatory school groups. Observe a demonstration of horse/human interaction and behaviour, have the opportunity to groom, lead and personally interact with a horse. This can extend to a mounted experience where permitted. Lessons on leadership, teamwork, and character will be gained through this experience.

PONY PLAYGROUND RELATIONSHIPS – Half-day excursion for primary students. Understanding herd behaviour and its relevance to human relationships. This is a program designed to combat bullying in the playground, and to help children understand the effect they have on each other. Lessons on leadership, teamwork, and character will be gained through this experience. Lessons on leadership, teamwork, and character will be gained through this experience.

Introductory Horsemanship and Stable Management Course – For Secondary age school groups for a half or whole day. This program can be extended to a week long, or an extended course as required. Observe demonstrations of horse/human interaction and behaviour, learn to groom, lead and interact with horses. This course is focused on developing strong leadership skills in youth. In addition to basic skills learned in shorter sessions, participants in this course will learn the 7 Games of Parelli Natural Horsemanship which teach horse behavior as well as leadership and relationship skills with horses. Extension will also include the basics of horse management and understanding the daily care of horses. Groups will assist with cleaning stables and equipment, feeding the horses, and general maintenance of the stable area. Riding lessons can also be incorporated if desired. This course can be tailored to meet the needs of your group.

Horses are unique creatures that can teach humans unexpected and important life lessons, as well as leadership and relationship skills. Bring your team to Shellby for a day of building and exploring relationships, creating trust, and learning to connect on a new level with your colleagues.

We offer half day or full day programs for groups of up to 20 people.

On arrival, your group will observe horses turned out in a herd. Horses generally live in harmony together and are very effective at working through conflict quickly. They model effective methods of working together in mutually beneficial ways.

Participants will then have the opportunity to work in small teams with a horse in a series of groundwork activities designed to teach leadership and team-building. Groundwork activities with horses are most effective at teaching these skills.

At Shellby, we are flexible to the needs of your specific team. We are able to focus our aims and program for the day on your team’s goals, when requested. Depending on the length of program desired, we can also incorporate riding into your teams’ program. Riding, however, is not required or a typical part of the team building and leadership program.

Nestled in the beautiful Ku-ring-ai National Park, Shellby is the perfect place to host your next team-building session. Catering can also be included in this package.

"I can't recommend natural horsemanship classes with Angie highly enough! Despite many years of riding I have grown my understanding and connection with horses immensely and it shows in the saddle and on the ground! To top it off, Angie is absolutely fantastic – to every lesson she brings a wonderful mix of expertise, heart and encouragement. Every class I walk away feeling energised and excited about what I learned, practiced, and am eager to discover more. Every one who's passionate about horses stands to benefit from horsemanship, especially the way Angie shares it", Natural Horsemanship student

“I enjoy it because I'm jumping from one step to another and horses are my favourite subject. I like join up and I like cracking whips because I like the noise and it reminds me of The Man from Snowy river", 8yo Tash who fell in love with horses at a pony party

"It gives her confidence in herself and her abilities, as well as a stronger sense of herself as she relates with others. It allows her to channel her energy, giving her a good sense of vitality, as well as strengthening her body, mind and emotions. There is a calm, positive and relaxed energy about her after sessions. She is also having fun whilst getting to know these beautiful animals in the most respectful and individualised way", Foster Mother of 8yo Tash

"Horse Riding has improved my core strength immensely, which has allowed me to not only become a better rider, but it has also improved every aspect of my daily life. The bond that you have between horse and rider is so special, and for me, I feel the horse I ride understands I have a disability and the horse really looks after me. My coach, Angie, and all the staff at Shellby are so encouraging and supportive, I have learned so much from Angie, I can't thank her enough", Daniel Clarke

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More Information

For more information about Equine Therapy please call the office on (02) 9450 1745 or complete our Contact Us form.