The HorseBack experience is an award winning programme which offers nationally accredited qualifications in personal development through horsemanship and mental health and wellbeing. Participants have the opportunity to gain a better understanding of themselves and their individual needs through a residential week and continued online support.
Whereas the initial HorseBack courses were about providing somewhere safe to take time out following a life-changing injury, we appreciate the need to provide tangible learning objectives and clear measurable learning outcomes. It is imperative that course attendees progress and take positive steps forward in their path to recovery. This might be in increased confidence and self-esteem, healthier relationships, volunteering, education or indeed full or part-time work.
Personal Development Through Horsemanship
This programme takes place over three months with initial online input, a residential week at HorseBack UK and further online follow up and support.
Activities whilst at HorseBack Include:
Horsemanship – drawing simple but effective parallels with human behaviours
Archery – improving focus and concentration using calming techniques
Bushcraft – connecting with the outdoors and appreciating the positive benefits
Pilates – promotes mindfulness, body awareness and physical health
Breathing Exercises – decreases stress and anxiety and increases energy
Team Building – increases communication and confidence
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy – helps develop new coping skills and manage emotions
Over time an emphasis on volunteering and mentoring has helped keep service personnel engaged with the Charity, preventing a return to isolation. This initiative ensures that the skills and resilience acquired at HorseBack UK continue to grow allowing progression on the individuals’ recovery journey.
How to attend
We aim to help as many people in the Armed Forces community as possible. We support service personnel and veterans of all ages, whether difficulties have arisen during time in the Armed Forces or many years later.
We prefer for individuals to come via a referring body. This can be a PRO if still serving or for veterans Combat Stress, NHS or other recognised military associations.
If you are wishing to self refer then we would expect support from your GP.
HorseBack UK has two separate sites for accommodation purposes. When you initially attend you will be accommodated at Smiddy Hill which can sleep up to twelve people. Our other accommodation, which is reserved for Strikers, sleeps up to four people. All our accommodation is shared and has shared facilities (bathrooms, kitchen etc).
At both sites clean fresh bed linen and towels are provided by HorseBack UK.
We do not allow any pets in the accommodation unless it is an assistance dog. Prior to bringing any animal to site, you must get permission confirmed by a member of the HorseBack UK Team.
You will be collected from the accommodation and transported to and from the main site at Ferrar.
Whilst you are on the course, HorseBack UK will provide you with a lunch. Ingredients are provided in order that you can cook an evening meal and provisions are given to you for Breakfast. If you require any additional items to those we have provided you with then these can be purchased locally at your own cost.
There are no WIFI facilities at either sites of accommodation. There are facilities at the main site at Ferrar. If you require access to WIFI then you will be provided the details to access the system.
Unless you are bringing a registered carer with you then HorseBack UK does not allow anyone other than course attendees to stay in the accommodation.
Yes. There is a washing machine and tumble dryer at Smiddy Hill and a washing machine at the Stables Cottage.
Prior to attending a course you will be provided with a set of Joining Instructions which provides information about the course and what items you will need to bring with you.
No we do not provide a uniform. However, we do carry a limited amount of merchandise which you can purchase from the main site at Ferrar.
We generally start at 9.15am and run until 4-5pm depending on the type of activity you are taking part in.
No we offer more than horse riding. There are other activities arranged for you in the afternoons such as fishing, falconry, bush craft and gliding. However, if there is something you would really like to do during your stay with us, let a member of the team know and we will try to accommodate you.
Yes. We are very mindful of the ‘pace’ that we run our courses and we run at a pace that is comfortable for everyone. Tea, coffee and soft drinks are provided throughout the day for your comfort.
We aim to get everyone away by 2pm in the afternoon. However, if you have to catch a train or get to the airport earlier we will ensure that you are transported in good time in order to catch your flight or train.
HorseBack UK courses follow a set structure and theme. This means that you will not be able to ride straight away. We teach Western Style Horsemanship which is very different from the English style of teaching and riding, so even though you may have some previous experience of riding, we take you through a comprehensive programme which allows you to build and gain trust from the horses you will be working with.
The courses are specifically designed for both serving and ex-military personnel and the emphasis is on their needs, aims and objectives. It is therefore not normal practice to allow carers to get involved with the course. However carers are encouraged to help the HorseBack Team throughout the week with various chores including meal preparation for the course attendees.
There is no structured programme in place for evening activities. However, dependant on the size of the group and general consensus, activities can be arranged.
Progression is an integral part of the HorseBack ethos and further opportunities will be discussed on an individual basis when you are on the course.
HorseBack UK is a charity and unfortunately we are not in a position to assist with travel costs.