Equine-Assisted Therapy and Learning with At-Risk Young People Horses as Healers

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2014-04-23
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

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The health benefits of interaction with horses for people experiencing mental health and other conditions is fast gaining recognition all over the world. This book explores the experiences of seven 'at-risk' young people who participated in a research study based at a unique therapeutic horsemanship centre in the UK. Therapeutic horsemanship is aligned to the developing fields of equine-assisted psychotherapy and equine-assisted learning where horses are partnered for social, emotional and learning benefits. The young people who attended the Therapeutic Horsemanship centre were referred from organisations including a foster care agency, youth offending team and a pupil referral unit, and were considered to be 'at-risk' due to their various psychosocial disadvantages.
A number of themes emerge throughout the course of the book, including the areas of nurture, attachment and trust, social well-being and resilience, identification with the horse, a 'safe' space and calming influence, role of the horse in the therapeutic arena and the natural environment and spiritual dimensions. Additional links to the mindfulness literature are explored and bring an exciting new dimension to the field of equine assisted therapy and learning. The book includes a foreword from Leif Hallberg, author of Walking the Way of the Horse.

Author Biography

Hannah Burgon is a lifelong horsewoman with a PhD on equine-assisted learning/therapy. She is also a qualified social worker and previously worked in youth homelessness and foster care. Hannah is founder and co-director of Sirona Therapeutic Horsemanship CIC (www.sironacic.com) and has published a number of papers on the benefits of interaction with horses.

Table of Contents

Foreword; Leif Hallberg
1. Background to Equine-assisted Therapy and Learning
2. Background to 'At-risk' Young People and The Yard
3. Self-confidence and the Opening of 'Positive Experiences'
4. Attachment and Trust
5. The Psychotherapeutic Relationship
6. Mindfulness, Horses and Nature
7. Conclusion

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