Course Introduction

HorseBack has now been running its Schools Development Program for the past 6 years. With an emphasis on participation and personal development, teenagers participate in the same SQA Level 4 Certificate in Personal Development Through Horsemanship over a 15 day program.
By working with HorseBack staff and mentors most of whom have themselves been through physical or mental injury, attendees experience personal growth and are inspired to look for a more positive future. With its varied syllabus participants learn a set of basic values and to operate within a team. Emphasis is given to leadership and communication skills. Through stable chores, groundwork and riding of the horses they learn how to treat the horses and thus themselves and others. The success of the programs run to date prove that if young people can be persuaded to re-engage with the educational process they can move forward and fully participate in life

Below are comments from Colin Nicol, deputy head of Banchory :-

“Through participating in the Youth Initiative, we watch the whole person develop as they learn new skills, get into the habit of hard work, and discover that they can do things they never dreamt of.

Learning to work with a horse is one of the most intricate and challenging things anyone can do. Gaining its trust, teaching it to follow you and respond to your signals, requires a combination of confidence, calm, patience and thought. The pupils are responsible for working with their horse which gives them the chance to become a leader. Over time they develop attributes such as kindness, patience, consistency, belief and self-confidence, all of which are transferrable life skills.

Our evidence gathering from classroom teachers, parents and from the pupils themselves has shown that pupils are more engaged in classroom activities. They are able to listen and contribute more effectively and show more confidence in class discussions. Parents have reported that their child is happier and is better equipped to deal with social situations outside of school.”

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