If you are eligible and would like to access our services free of charge, please pick the retreat you think would suit you best and then click the 'Scholarships and Bursaries' tab to apply for funding.
All of our services can also be booked by using the 'book now' buttons on this page. You are welcome to book as a group with friends and family or, alternatively, book individually and we will match you with a like-minded group. All our profits from paid services go towards providing free retreats for people who might never normally have the experience.
"Thanks for everything you have done for our adopted son and for us. I expected Hooves for the Heart to be just another therapy for his trauma. I didn't expect it to touch and change me as father as much as it did. I will never forget my little son- who we thought would never trust a caregiver again- reaching his arms out to me for the first time. I cannot thank you and the horses enough."
-Parent of 5 year old boy with reactive attachment disorder.
Horse Play is a service specifically for children who are adopted or in long term, stable foster placements and their families. It can be offered as a course of six, hour long weekly sessions or as a five day residential course. This program is based on the Hooves for the Heart method created by the world-renowned instructor Terena Thomas as a result of growing up in a therapeutic parenting environment and it uses attachment-based therapeutic parenting principles.
Run by our Equestrian Director, Lindsey Crosbie, the only Hooves for the Heart method trained instructor in the whole of the UK, Horse Play is designed to help children and young people to bond with and trust their care givers, aid emotional regulation and help the brain to heal from trauma by interacting with equines on the ground as well as utilising their movement. Parental support and participation is required.
Horses can help young people heal from trauma by providing natural consequences from a non-judgmental learning partner who will only interact fruitfully with them when they are calm, compassionate and congruent. Horses stimulate the senses in a myriad of ways, providing calming input for an overwrought amygdala. Their movement is soothing, helping to regulate emotions, develop the limbic system and light up new areas in brains affected by trauma. Stroking, grooming and riding horses releases oxytocin. When a child and their parents interact together with a horse, this feel-good hormone facilitates family bonding. Parents and instructors work as a team to ensure children feel safe, supported, able to understand healthy boundaries and form relationships based on trust.
£420 for a course of six weekly one hour non-residential sessions.
£1500 for a five day residential course with self catering accommodation in a nine bedroom farmhouse in a stunning forest location included.
Participant aged 3-18.
Child is adopted or in long term, stable foster placement.
Parental support and involvement essential throughout sessions.
If you are on a low income, you may be able to access this service for free. To apply for a bursary, please click here
The Alpha Mare Course
Do you live with a mental health issue that leaves you feeling isolated? Would you like to reconnect with yourself, discover your own inner strength and gain support from a group of like-minded women? What if you could do all of that while spending time in a beautiful place, interacting on the ground with a herd of horses, finding out what they have to teach us about assertiveness and strong, connected relationships.
The Alpha Mare Course won a Marsh Christian Award for innovative peer supported in 2019. Piloted with funding from Mind, the leading mental health charity in England and Wales, and Agenda, the alliance for women and girls at risk. As a women’s mental health peer support programme, it helped more than 40 women experiencing disadvantage who were frequently under-represented in services to improve their mental health. It is now available to anyone who has experienced mental health issues.
What is Peer Support?
Peer support differs from other forms of mental health services in important ways. It happens when people who have similar experiences of something difficult come together to support each other. It is through this development of meaningful, two-way relationships that peer support works. Crucially, the people involved play an active role in creating a safe environment for each other. Peer support can improve your emotional health, well-being and sense of belonging. A vital part of peer support is mutual respect; peer support aims to help both those giving and receiving support. Everyone's experiences are treated as equally important, so you might find this gives you a different experience to more traditional support options. Talking to people who have been through similar challenges may:
· help you to talk about what you are feeling and experiencing
· help you share suggestions for coping techniques and support options
· introduce you to ideas and approaches that have been helpful to others
· reassure you that you're not the only person who has felt like this
· increase your self-esteem and confidence over time help you see how common mental health problems are, and that everyone experiencing them deserves support
· provide a sense of belonging to a community of people with similar experiences
· give you a safety net to turn to at difficult times or if you’re at risk of crisis
· help you to find support that's right for you
· help you feel more empowered about your own wellbeing, if you feel disillusioned with the support you've received so far.
If you are interested in applying for a bursary-funded place, please click here:
"Interacting with the horses has helped me to be kinder to myself, understand when to trust and how to set boundaries with other people. I know now what positive relationships are all about."
-Survivor of domestic abuse
"The women visibly grew in confidence each week. It was the first time I had seen some of them smile since they came into the refuge. They didn't just learn to ride. They learn to be assertive, to be courageous and to trust in themselves and their own bodies again."
-Women's refuge support worker.
Are you recovering from trauma, loss or abuse? Overcoming Obstacles is a therapeutic horsemanship program designed for women and girls who have experienced violence, abuse and coercion. It uses Horse Agility and Competitive Western Trail riding to build confidence, communication skills and courage. This program is experiential, participants are operating in the moment not processing past events. The Overcoming Obstacles project empowers women to develop skills, learn relaxation techniques, regulate emotions, build confidence and improve mental and physical health so that they can recover and reconnect after trauma.
If you are interested in applying for a bursary funded place click here: