My work is mainly focused on meeting the needs of looked after children and their subsequent outcomes. The whole sector is awash with funding for ‘innovation’, but to date few solutions have been produced despite millions of pounds spent by government. However, there are some very rare gems of innovative approaches built on evidence with accompanying robust evaluations. TheHorseCourse is a fantastic example of this and the only new therapeutic approach I am excited about. The evidence on its effectiveness is becoming compelling, and their drive to generate further evidence through independent evaluation is both brave and to be commended. I would encourage all commissioners in health and social care to consider TheHorseCourse as an integral part of their approach for specialist children’s services and early help.
Dr Mark Kerr, Lecturer in Social Policy, Kent University
It’s great to see an intervention where there is such good evidence of effectiveness, and where so much attention has been paid to making sure that the real changes in young peoples lives are understood and captured.
Helen Price, Lead Commissioner for Families, Gloucestershire County Council
This course really helped the students with their confidence. Often I see these kids so afraid of failure that they won’t even try. Right from the first moment they had to change the way they were being, take control of the situation, be effective. If they can do that in their lives, that is huge.
Tracey Hodder, Specialist Support Worker, Compass Learning Centre
I learnt that horses actually aren’t that scary. I focused on what I had to do, I was calm. I took responsibility for my own actions and I also thought about the horse and not myself. I think this Course has changed the way I think of horses and myself because to control a horse you have to be very gentle and not shout.
Watching from the sidelines with other professionals, we were identifying so many different positive skill sets, behaviours and outcomes being learnt in such a powerful way. We saw confidence; the challenging of rigid thinking and dogma; how to be assertive; physical exercise; achievement of goals; perseverance and inspiration (to name just a few.)
Patrick Tracey, Probation Service Officer, Forest of Dean
During the time of the course S had to meet with professionals she had not seen in a while and every one of them commented on how they felt she was like a different person, she walked with her head high, spoke with confidence and smiled. S spoke so passionately about what she was doing and learning from the Horses. S enjoyed being with the Horses and being out in the fresh air, S had previously isolated herself and would spend days not leaving her house. Since attending the Horse Course she no longer isolates herself and will engage with professionals working with her. S and I spoke about what she had learnt, she explained that in life things can go wrong but you just need to stop, take a breath and try again. This was something she had learnt to do with the horses. When I asked if she had enjoyed the week she explained it was ‘The best thing she had done in her life’.
Danielle Reid, The Nelson Trust, Gloucester
At last C was in the right place to be able to reflect on what she gained from the horse course and wrote the words on the attached black board to sum it up and thought you might like to see it. She also said how she felt calm at the horse course and thought this was because she was in control of something, after a time in her life when things had felt out of control. She also said she learnt that when things weren’t working to take a minute and gather herself and then try and again and was able to say how she had made use of this in her every day life and how it had helped her with perseverance.
Karen Morgan, Team Manager, YST Tewkesbury
TheHorseCourse has made a significant impact. One female student now recognises that she is able to succeed if at first failure seems to be the likely outcome for her. No Longer. Another whose attendance at the Compass was limited at best has developed sufficient confidence to more than double her time in lessons here.
Allan Wood, Headmaster, Compass Learning Centre
Thank you very much for the amazing opportunity, that you gave so willingly,
I’ve really learnt so much I can honestly say, that all I’ve learnt will never go away,
All the great advice and also the training, from grooming the horses and also playing,
When I was struggling you picked me up, by helping me relax I would less mess up
Excerpt from a poem written by a Gloucestershire Participant
Shadywell, Middle Duntisbourne, Near Cirencester, GL7 7AR