Equine Assisted Learning Activities

Posted by Kristen Hancock on

If you have never heard of Therapeutic Horseback Riding or Equine-Assisted Learning, you do not want to miss out any longer. 

Therapeutic horseback riding contributes positively to the cognitive, physical, emotional and social well-being of individuals with and without special needs. Offering educational and health benefits, this form of therapy is like no other. The horse and the emotional / physical connection made with the human is where the magic happens. 

Traditional therapy works for some, but what a human accomplishes through building a relationship with a horse is something no other human can do. 

Equine-assisted psychotherapy (EAP) is another form of horse related therapy that does not necessarily involve riding a horse. The EAP model has been used for centuries but has only in recent years been working it's way into mainstream society. This experience happens as a licensed therapist facilitates interactive activities for the client and a horse. Through these activities the client has a unique way of learning more about themselves. 

You can learn more by checking out the PATH website (https://www.pathintl.org/about-path-intl/about-path-intl).

What if someone does not have a special need?

That is where equine-assisted learning comes into play. Equine-assisted learning is a fancy way to say learning about and interacting with horses. Although this involves humans learning about horses, horses teach us humans about life.

Equine Assisted Psychotherapy - shininglightequestrian.com

How? 

Equine- assisted learning involves opportunities for confidence building, self esteem building, development of leadership skills, coping skills, learning responsibility, and the importance of relationship building, all through the interactions with horses. 

So what activities might someone participate in? 

There are many activities but some of my favorites involving Equine Assisted Learning are through crafts and games. Take a look at a few favorites below and share this with others so that they have an opportunity to see what everyone is talking about!

     Broom Polo

    It has been a favorite equine activity for hundreds of years, but most of us do not have a polo mallet lying around the barn. However, chances are good that there is an extra broom around somewhere. To get a game of broom polo going, all you need is a set of brooms and an inexpensive plastic ball. The kids can choose up teams, or they can practice their accuracy by hitting their "polo" ball through different goals and obstacles. 

     Build A Farm

Cut a farm scene from felt and make a felt board. IF you want to take it a step further, use a magnetic farm set. Pass out the different pieces. Each person must place them on the scene in a logical sequence. Use your imagination!

     Horseshoe Frames

Supplies - horseshoes,  paint, brushes, cups, stickers, hot glue gun, glue sticks, scissors, and a pen

 Instructions

- Take pictures of yourself with your horse and print them out

- Place horseshoe over photo where you want it, and trace the OUTSIDE of the horseshoe with your pen

- Cut out the picture where you traced your horseshoe

- Hot glue the horseshoe onto your photo

-Decorate! 

Use your imagination and put your creativity to work.

     Puppets

Supplies - Sock, eyes, foam sheets, yarn, ribbon, and any other craft supplies you can think of.

Directions

-Create your awesome horse!

Use your imagination and put your creativity to work.

     Hulalasso

Supplies- Hula Hoops, Round balls in different sizes, rope/ Twine / string, scissors

Setup and Directions

-Tie your string / rope / twine to the end of a hula hoop. It will be like a lasso.

- Gather a bunch of balls (anything that can roll) and spread them out in a large area (your backyard is a great place to start).

- Use your hula hoop lassos to try to lasso the balls and bring them in.

Objective

- The person that catches the most balls wins.

     Horse Race

Supplies - Stick horses,pool noodles, stakes/sticks, yarn/string

Setup and Directions

-Find a large enough playing space to accommodate the amount of players. Backyards are always best.

- Set up a square pen by placing stakes on three sides of the square. Use string to wrap around each stake to connect the three sides.

-Scatter balloons around the yard.

-Each player will get on their stick horse (If you don't have one, get creative) and use the pool noodles to push the balloons into the pen.

     Objective

Get all balloons into the pen. To add a little competition, take for pens and have teams.