Imagine what the future would look like if we prepared our youth with skills for life?
APPROVED BY THE CALGARY BOARD OF EDUCATION!
Youth Programs at Equine Connection
Youth Development - Skills for Life!
Equine Connection on Disney's "The Family Channel"
Page provided for the Spiritual Equine Connection Society Non-Profit
Skill development programs working with horses. Prepare your children to take on the challenges that life throws at them.
Let's help our kids to build an armour of skills so they know how to protect themselves and move forward with all that life throws at them and have self-awareness about their own behaviour through the powerful teacher, the horse.
All these experiential programs for youth are not only educational but have been designed for youth to acquire strength-based life skills (i.e., developmental assets) such as effective communication, enhanced problem-solving, a better understanding of body language, respecting personal boundaries, among others.
Teachers that deliver results!
The horse has unique characteristics which can contribute to a distinct human-animal interaction and is one of the many contributing benefits to individuals wellbeing. The horse is a: teacher, motivator, strength and calmness.
The benefits of physical well-being are identified through:
(a) physical status - improved physical health (taking part in other physical activities because of Equine Assisted Learning participation, the youth feel better about themselves physically)
Out of the mouths youth: “it made me feel better about myself, I can do stuff without people judging me.” “it made me feel more active.”
(b) the importance of physical touch with the horse - experiencing healthy or safe touch (while grooming, i.e., brushing their body, braiding the mane, petting the horse, hugging the horse, standing close allowing for body contact)
Out of the mouths of youth: “I thought that if I could do that [horse program], I could do anything.”
Mental wellbeing can include mood/feelings, cognition, perception, thoughts, self, intellect, emotion, judgement and identity through perceptions of self.
Social wellbeing focuses on interpersonal relationships of the individual’s relationships or associations with friends, family, community and the universe. All programs are focused on becoming a better communicator through the understanding of space, body language, and dialogue.
Positive change in behaviour (increased awareness of self, others and own learning) like a horse has boundaries and they are clear as to where they want a person to be. The distance and their reaction when you cross those boundaries, as that is what we look for in people too.
This gives the youths an experience to pull from when they are faced with choices in everyday life as they build strong solid skills working with their teacher. Our youth curriculum programs range between 8-12 sessions. This allows the effectiveness of the course but also to track the advancements in each of the youth within it.
Why does it work?
Participation, retention, fun and oh yea... a horse!
What can an 1200 pound teacher do for our kids?
The value of working with horses as a teaching tool to learn new skills have been proven time and time again in the teaching of young people and especially teenagers. The use of an equine assisted learning program is a unique way to teach young people who are fortunate to participate in the Equine Connection Youth Interactive Development Programs.
What if we could have a window into our own behaviours?
Horses understand how to differentiate between potentially threatening behaviour and a calm and assertive nature. Children and young people who have the chance to work with our youth development programs are able to learn how to modify their behaviour through sets of exercises that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. This type of teaching cannot be delivered in a classroom. It is the experience of being in close contact with horses that has the most effect on young people.
Give your students the skills necessary to ultimately better prepare your children to take on the challenges that life throws at them.
One of the many bonuses of working with horses vs a classroom setting is the component of interactivity because we all learn differently, but we can all take away lessons that we learn through our experiences. As the only Nationally Recognized Equine Assisted Learning Program in Canada, each of our exercises is custom designed to maximize learning potential and focus on developing individual skills as they work through each fun interactive group challenge. Teams/individuals will;
- develop relationships
- accept responsibility and accountability
- overcome barriers to find change
- be encouraged to be creative and innovative
- find opportunity in working together
- realize the benefits associated with effective communication
- and recognize the value of mutual trust, respect, and personal integrity...All while having a blast!?
Equine Assisted Learning acts as an important educational tool to help to develop empathy and kindness as well as combat;
- Behavioural disorders
- Low self-esteem
- Drug abuse
- Emotional issues
- Poor communication skills
- Inability to work with others
What would it look like for your kids to be able to stand up against those who bully!!
We teamed up with the FAMILY CHANNEL and Westmount School to STAND UP!WE TEAMED UP WITH THE FAMILY CHANNEL AND WESTMOUNT SCHOOL TO STAND UP! TO BULLYING! Westmount School in Strathmore was one of only 4 schools in Canada to host this anti-bullying rally with Family Channel! PLUS we got to meet the amazing Jennie and Alex of the hit show The Next Step!
Bully-proofing skills can be taught!
The best way to help children not become victims of bullies is by teaching them bully-proofing skills. Victims of bullies usually exhibit poor communication skills and tend to be left out of activities, leaving them isolated. Our equine assisted learning programs have proven to be ideal for a child who exhibits anti-social communication skills as they provide training in social skills which improves communication skills, emotional, physical, mental and spiritual wellness, self-esteem, and encourages sensory stimulation and ultimately, integration.
Why create more victims?
A child with bullying issues may be just as much a victim in his own life as the child he directs his aggression towards. Many bullies are children who have been overlooked, misdiagnosed, suffering from neurological disabilities, or abused children themselves. Our equine skill development programs are ideal for a child who exhibits aggressive behaviour by promoting positive leadership skills, developing choice-making skills and goal-setting skills and encouraging responsibility, creativity, and laughter.
Who should attend?
Victims of Bullies
Our equine programs have proven to be ideal for a child who exhibits anti-social communication skills as they provide training in social skills which improves communication skills, emotional, physical, mental and spiritual wellness, self-esteem, and encourages sensory stimulation and ultimately, integration.
Our equine programs are ideal for a child who exhibits aggressive behaviour by promoting positive leadership skills, empathy, developing kindness and choice-making skills and encouraging responsibility, creativity, and laughter. The youth that teachers, counsellors, and the principal feel display behavioural issues, or who are withdrawn, will benefit most from the program.
It has been proven...
That the more senses that are engaged, the greater the likelihood that new learning will be retained. The more we involve learners, the more senses are engaged, thereby increasing the probability that they will learn, retain, and apply what they have learned.
Each of our exercises is custom designed to maximize learning potential and focus on developing individual skills as they work through each fun interactive group challenge. Teams will work to: develop relationships; accept responsibility and accountability; overcome barriers to find change; be encouraged to be creative and innovative; find opportunity in working together; realize the benefits associated with the effective communication; and recognize the value of mutual trust, respect, and personal integrity. All while having a blast!
Participative Education... Albert Wright
Searching for alternatives to traditional education. Emphasizing self-responsibility, participative education attempts to involve the student in experiences relevant to his future and to provide him with the opportunity and methodology for learning from these experiences. Students would be allowed to develop self-reliance, self-confidence, and increased self-esteem, and would leave school better equipped for lifelong, continued learning.
An example of true change...
A little girl from one of our 12-week curriculums stands up on her last day to choose and explain her word from the achievement board. This little girl has FAS, has been bullied or ignored by her peers and when she started the program was afraid to speak up or express herself. On their last day, she picks 8 words, instead of one and explained each word and why she picked it. As if that wasn’t amazing enough, her peers, who once bullied and ignored her, began to clap at her accomplishment. What an amazing moment!
Want to learn more about horses?
There are some fantastic courses online through Guelph University that can start you on your journey with horses!
SO WHAT ABOUT...
OUR SCHOOL/ORGANIZATION DOESN’T HAVE A BIG BUDGET TO DO THIS PROGRAM!
Call us as the Spiritual Equine Connection Society will always be able to help. The Society's mission is to never turn down a school or a child. The Society will be able to work with what you have available through your school/organization.
HOW DO WE GET THERE?
Transportation is the responsibility of the school/organization. We have a map and directions on our contact us page. Most participants are brought out in two vehicles by chaperones or teachers. This is the most cost effective method of transportation.
CARSELAND? IS THAT FAR AWAY?
Not at all! It takes less time than driving to C.O.P for most people!
We provide all of the equipment for the program, you are just in charge of wearing clothes that you don't mind getting a little dirty and closed-toed shoes.
If you are with CBE, you just get the forms from them. Otherwise, we will send you the permission forms for the participants.
We do ask that 1-2 teachers or staff members accompany the group during the program.
ARE WE RIDING?
No-sir-rie-bob! We only work with horses on the ground in their natural state. All of our work is out of the saddle. You will work alongside the horses as part of your team rather than as a tool. This way the horse can be its true self and not be "on the job". This allows for the best and true reaction of the horse and the most beneficial way of learning for you.
WHAT GROUP SIZES DO YOU WORK WITH?
As small as 3 and to a maximum of 8. Have more people than that? Give us a shout and we can find a solution.
DO I NEED EXPERIENCE WITH HORSES?
Nope. As our program does not require you to ride a horse, no prior experience is necessary. We will inform every group of the rules and safety precautions to take around the animals and the arena. We always put safety first, but we can accommodate everyone's different comfort levels around the horses.
WHAT IF I'M SCARED OR DON'T LIKE HORSES?
If you aren't being pushed out of your boundaries, you aren't learning. This is an opportunity to overcome your fears or get over preconceived notions. We don't always get to pick our team members at work, do we?
WHAT IF IT IS RAINY, SNOWING OR COLD OUT? WILL WE FREEZE?
Not with our heated arena you won't! We have to be out there too so we understand the need for a warm environment. Also, we all need to be comfortable to get the most out of the courses. If the weather outside is nice, we can always work in the sunshine, but too hot or too cold, we have the covered arena to keep us comfortable. Your program will take place regardless of the weather.
DO I NEED CERTAIN CLOTHING?
Although chaps and a pair of cowboy boots aren't required, we do have certain safety requirements when it comes to your clothing. Simple things like closed toe shoes and dressing in clothes that you are ok with getting a little dusty. We will give you a full list of these safety measures, of course.
Cats, Dogs, horses... what's the difference?
There is nothing like a 1,100 lb Teacher…
By their intuitive nature and innate sensitivity, horses can provide facilitators with a window into the participant's personality. As a prey animal, they are sensitive to the stimulus of each participant. They react to the stimulus through body language and participants must adjust their feelings and behaviours to work successfully with the horses.
What can a horse teach you that a human can't?
- Horses consistently model assertiveness and teach us how.
- Horses can't lie or over think a participants motive.
- Horses feedback is honest and instant
- Nature provides them with instincts and senses that are very astute.
- Help to instill empathy and kindness in the participants.
- Horses have natural "herd behaviours" that require trust, respect, and teamwork from all members of the team.
- Horses automatically respond to confusion and frustration as these feelings can put the herd at risk.
- They lead through assuredness - not brute force.
- Horses have distinct personalities and through this, they all have different methods of teaching.
What makes us remember?
One of the many bonuses of working with horses vs a classroom setting is the component of interactivity because we all learn differently, but we can all take away lessons that we learn through our experiences.
The power of the horse is the relationships that we make with them. Through the Equine Connection, we engage the body, mind, and spirit of both species.