A new rural project where children, who are struggling, can learn to face their issues by working with horses.

Unfortunately, this project was not successful

Horserenity was born from a special meeting some twelve years ago. We watched a small, troubled autistic boy find a place of calm within himself while spending time with, Jack, our kind-hearted horse. Since then we have revisited and researched the connection between humans and horses and concentrated on retraining ourselves to be able to bring our idea to life. 

As a family, we have now set up a social enterprise in Dorset, and look after a herd of eight horses that range from two fluffy Shetlands, up to our very own BFG - Henry the Irish cob. These gentle animals are helping families in crisis by working with children on the autistic spectrum; those with Aspergers, ADHD and many other behavioural problems. The horses spend time with young adults who have been excluded from school, and people living with emotional trauma.

Since starting in the Spring 2017, we have been able to open the yard to the local community and give respite and hope to a number of families; but have increasingly found that those most in need of support cannot access the necessary funding. The public services and schools that we deal with do their very best, but they have limited funds themselves.

Currently, one in every 6 children in Dorset has some kind of registered special education need (source: DFE) and Horserenity already has a growing waiting list. To be able to provide the sessions that are so desperately needed, we would like your help.

With extra funding we can deliver:

  • one-to-one sessions with the horses in the fields and round pen
  • tailored sessions for families
  • group work with local schools and centres
  • programs that address self esteem and confidence issues
  • specific employability certification
  • delivery of nationally recognised qualifications
  • training for session leaders so that we can expand our team.

What we do is called Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL):

Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL) is best described as a fusion between therapy, education and fun. Sessions are created so that a living, breathing soul – a horse - facilitates the learning. 

As prey and herd animals, horses have evolved with man and are incredibly sensitive to our behaviours and emotions. At its simplest EFL provides space to reflect and increase self-awareness; at its deepest level it provides life-changing experiences.

Here is an article from the Bournemouth Echo explaining a bit of what we do. We have also featured on our BBC local radio: this is a post from when BBC Radio Solent came to visit. 

What People Are Saying About Horserenity:

“As soon as he arrived at Horserenity his behaviour calmed, his energy lessened, he smiled, he giggled, he loved it! But little does he know, he’s actually learning all the time.

"Sarah goes above and beyond and really give her all to our children, an amazing lady, an amazing place and an amazing service. Thank you for giving me my son back.”   

"Sarah, Dan and the horses at Horserenity are just amazing!! They have provided a calm, safe place for both my son and myself through a very tough time. 

"At a time where my son has been out of education awaiting a specialist provision they have offered hope and support. It has given him a space where he can be himself and feel good about who he is. It has helped his self esteem, confidence and his ability to focus. He just adores the horses, and other animals and looks forward to his sessions." 

"I have been amazed when I see how calm my daughter is when she is around the horses at Horserenity.  She can be very noisy, over excited and a bit rough at times, but the horses have such a calming effect on her it is lovely to see. She has really gained in confidence and thoroughly enjoyed her time with Horserenity and would love to be able to do more."  

"Not the angry boy we see in the classroom".  

"She is getting so much out of this experience".  


Why it's a great idea:

1. Spending time with horses has been shown to reduce anxiety and violent behaviour and give individuals ways to overcome the challenges they meet every day.

2. Working with these non-judgemental animals can build confidence and self esteem.

3. National statistics show that overall exclusion from schools in England and Wales is increasing, but we have seen children who were struggling with attending school, to be able to return to mainstream education, after sessions with the horses. 

4. The core curriculum can be delivered while spending time in the fields, away from the increasingly judgemental pressures of the classroom.

5. We have evidence showing that incidents of violent behaviour towards siblings are reduced after EFL sessions, lowering the need for social services to get involved.

6.  Parents and carers of the children that we work with have been able to return to work as their children learn to cope without the constant need for reassurance.

Overall the benefits of working with horses in a calm, non-threatening environment is far reaching for both individuals, our local community and society as a whole. 

We are currently working on setting up a national partnership with our umbrella organisation, Equine Assisted Qualifications (EAQ), to research and deliver quantifiable social value for major corporations, as they work towards delivering the requirements of the 2012 Social Value Act.

Any funds raised over and above our target will go towards helping meet the day to day core running costs of the Centre.