Using horses to help people learn life skills is the focus of a relatively new approach called equine assisted learning (EAL).
It’s being used in a broad spectrum of settings, including corporations, college campuses, hospitals and medical training facilities and with veterans.
In schools across the country EAL is being used to help students gain better understanding both in academics and in other areas, such as communication skills, problem solving, teambuilding, conflict resolution and anti-bullying programs.
EAL is an experiential learning approach, meaning students are involved in activities as they learn.
For many students, learning while doing encourages both deeper understanding and better retention of the material they are studying.
After participating in each activity they discuss what they learned as well as any behavior patterns which helped or hindered their learning style.
New insights into both the material being learned and what helps them to learn are common.
The focus of EAL sessions is determined by the educational or competency goals of the clients or students involved.
In this process the horse becomes a teacher in additional to the horse specialist and licensed mental health professional who attend each session.
EAL programs use the horses to create challenges for the students and to teach skills such as understanding nonverbal communication, problem solving and creativity.
EAL can be very focused on specific learning (e.g., enhancing science or reading strategies) or broadened to include teaching students to examine overall learning patterns and seek what works best for each individual.
Students attending our summer camp sessions will practice and improve on school acquired skills in the areas of reading, writing, math and science.
The horses will serve as the subject matter and medium for enrichment learning.
Students will have the opportunity to apply the skills they have learned in a setting that helps them truly see the "why" of their classroom learning!