BEHAVIOURAL
Riding & Equine Assisted Therapy
Riding and equine assisted therapy provides a range of psychological benefits toward the improvement of well-being for all, as well as those with specific psychological difficulties. Island Equus helps to facilitate behaviour change through tailored sessions with the individual or in small group sessions.
 
Self-Confidence & Mastery
 
Through a series of sessions clients will notice improvements in self-confidence and self-esteem.  Through the mastery of a number of skills working with horses on the ground and in the saddle enables a sense of confidence to be gained. Learning new skills in communication with the horses can then be translated to the wider social world.  Mastery of a skill considered difficult by the general population increases confidence, acceptance and normality.
 
Awareness and Control
 
Self-awareness and control of behaviours as well as emotions are learnt through appreciation for the perception and nature of the horses.  Behaviours and emotions are reciprocated in the reactions of the horse, helping individuals to learn how self- control is important in influencing others and their perceptions. If the client is out of control emotionally and behaviourally then this will be mirrored in the horse.
 
Stimulation and motivation
Gaining new skills and stimulation from a new activity and the exhilaration of riding results in a new narrative, which can be shared socially outside of the stable yard, encouraging speech and communication with others.  For those who are unable to participate in traditional exercise or games, riding and horsemanship allows individuals to discover a new part of their identity. Involvement with Island Equus and the special relationships formed with the horses and the centre encourages overall improvements in daily motivation.
Confidence and mastery of fears
Gaining a master of fears through progressive and controlled activities enables gradual improvements in beliefs about ourselves.  Acceptance of the fears we have and working with them to overcome them can be worked on throughout sessions. Mastery of riding and horse care skills challenges the individual to attempt and succeed at new activities which require skill and dedication to gain. Although we facilitate the activities in a secure and safe environment the individual must learn to trust the horse and facilitator and work with fears involved in what appears to be a ‘risk’ activity. When success is gained, the experience is exhilarating and confidence will be increased.
Routine and Patience
Equine assisted therapy and riding encourages the development of patience working on the ground and in the saddle. Increased understanding of the perspective of the horse and how to best communicate with them can take much repetition and patience is needed in learning how to provide clear signals to the horse. Riding effectively requires practice and involves repetition and routine, which helps to develop patience in the individual. 
Rehabilitation in trauma
Traumatic events in childhood or later in life can be characterised by individuals inability to cope and lead to long-term physical and psychological consequences. We have a special interest in helping young people who have experienced trauma and our equine assisted therapy has shown many benefits in helping individuals reconnect with their identity and regain coherence in their life story through horses.  As well as gaining improvements in the other beneficial aspects of the therapy it is hoped that individuals who have experienced traumatic life events can improve their self-understanding and their place in the world. For young people we can offer NVQ qualifications to help them progress in life towards a career and further learning.
Improved social behaviour
Working with our horses, individuals can learn to understand the importance of altruism and reciprocity and show improved sharing behaviours. Attending to the daily care of the horses encourage less selfish behaviours and increased sense of responsibility.
Well-being and relaxation
General experience of well-being and relaxation is gained from the calm and friendly environment at Island Equus. Senses are stimulated and the countryside setting gives the feelings of freedom to get away from daily stresses and worries. Many individuals love to ‘get away from it all’ and the focus on the horse especially when riding means that all thoughts can be put aside whilst concentrating on the task at hand.