We would like to build an outdoor animal exercise arena to create an enclosed, safe space for Horse Boy activities and therapies, whatever the weather and in a calm environment for the children that struggle. Also we would like to lay some paths to make the farm more accessible for wheelchairs and buggies.
Move the Mind Community Interest Company was founded by Nicole Gillard, one of only two UK based Horse Boy Trainers. Move the Mind, uses the Horseboy method and therapeutic riding. This is a therapy for children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other cognitive impairments.
Nicole works with children with autism using horses, and other elements of guided play to help repattern the brain by participating activities that release oxytocin, the ‘feel good’ hormone. This helps unblock the learning receptors, and reduce cortisol, the ‘stress hormone’, so that the young person can be less anxious and more open to learn. This is done through kinaesthetic learning, such as riding and physical activities.
ASD is a neurodevelopmental disorder based on impaired interaction, communication and restricted and repetitive behaviours and interests. Children with ASD struggle with socializing and communicating.
Therapeutic riding is an equine assisted activity designed to contribute positively to the cognitive, physical, emotional and social wellbeing of individuals with special needs, focusing on attention, control and sensory management.
The Horseboy method uses sensory body to body contact on the horse, to ease anxiety. It uses sensory therapy, and incorporates riding with the child to create rhythms to aid communication skills and facilitate learning in children with ASD. The method was first devised in 2004, when Rupert Isaacson realized his autistic son became more engaged and less tantrums were had when he rode with the horses.
Nicole works with three special schools and forty families one to two times per month. She works from the Move the Mind base in Kilmersdon, which is a large farmyard with a field with a variety of huts and stables. The field is home to animals including chickens, sheep, goats and kittens. Nicole is working to increase the play opportunities at the base to allow for more children to come to MTM on a weekly basis working directly with Nicole and her volunteers, she would like to build to 100 young people per week.
The arena will allow the therapy to take place in an area which reduces distraction, allowing volunteers and the young people to quietly explore, play and interact to further use the therapeutic methods of Horse Boy and its’ pedagogy. As well as riding, children can bring the animals into the arena and interact with them.
Move the Mind are supporting so many families now but are desperate to help many more. There is a huge need