Frequently Asked Questions

What is EAL / EAP ? 
Equine Assisted Learning is a process in which groups or individuals work with horses, an equestrian specialist and a facilitator to develop their personal awareness, problem solving skills, team-working and leadership skills amongst others. 

Equine Assisted Psychotherapy involves using therapeutic activities in an arena to develop emotional growth and personal development with a team consisting of horses, a licensed therapist and a horse professional who can work together to address treatment goals. 

What are the benefits for me? 
The benefits of EAL are improved self-awareness, self-confidence, communication skills, relationship skills, problem solving and teamwork. Horses are able to read the most subtle cues and respond to the messages people give to them in that moment with complete honesty. Horses reflect back the emotional state of the participant, so that people learn that if they change their behaviour, the horses will respond differently. People can then translate that learning to their interactions with others. 

What do I do – How does it work? 
Participants will be in an arena with the horses, the equine specialist and facilitator. There is no horse riding involved, all of our work is ground based. The focus of all our Equine Assisted Therapies is not riding or horsemanship. In fact 100% of our workshops take place on the ground. The focus involves setting up activities involving the horses, which will require the client or group to apply certain skills e.g. leading a horse over a pole, or through a maze. Which can lead to personal reflections and FUN. 

How much does it cost? 
There are various packages available based on individuals, groups or organisations – please contact us for more details. 

How long is a session? 
Sessions generally last between an hour to an hour and 30 mins depending on group sizes. 

I don’t know anything about horses / I don’t like horses can I still benefit?
No knowledge or previous experience of horses is necessary. Even if you don’t like horses this could actually be helpful in establishing ways of changing patterns of behaviour and experimenting with new approaches. 

What if I’m afraid of horses? 
No problem, many clients have initially had a fear of horses, we have a safe and supportive environment for you, where working with your fear may prove invaluable in developing new skills and revealing insights. 

What should I wear?
Please wear sturdy and sensible footwear e.g. wellies or walking shoes. We recommend that you wear comfortable and easily washed clothes. Rain jackets, leggings and water boots are recommended for rainy days, sun hats, sun screen and fly repellent for hot days. 

What clientele are EAL / EAP suitable for?
Equine Assisted Therapy is suitable for children of 4 years up, families, couples, teenagers and the retired to SME’s and large corporations.


What does the research say?

A number of studies have shown that participation in Equine Assisted Learning Programmes have shown improvements in the above areas.  Equine facilitated programmes are experiential by nature allowing a dynamic to develop between the person and the horse providing excellent opportunities for developing self-awareness due to the horses immediate responses to people’s reactions, mirroring people’s emotions and thereby providing instant feedback.


What does Equine Assisted Learning involve?

The team involved comprises of the horse, the participant, an equestrian advisor and a facilitator. The focus of the sessions is generally on the person working with a horse on the ground, so riding is not usually involved.


What is involved in an Equine Assisted Learning Session?

The Equine Assisted Learning session starts with an observation session where people observe horses interacting with each other within an arena space.


This is followed by an opportunity for people to approach each of the horses and explore levels of self-awareness when in the company of horses. There are number of activities that can be used as part of the Equine Assisted Learning sessions; in most cases the horses will not wear head collars.


Team-focused activities can include individuals or groups to build an obstacle course through which both they and the horses/s walk where the focus is on communications, problem solving and relationships. Other activities explore the individual’s level of awareness and boundaries and how these affect relationships.


Why is working with horses so beneficial?

Horses are able to read the most subtle cues and respond to the messages people give them in that moment with complete honesty.


Horses reflect back the emotional state of the participant, so that people learn that if they can understand their behaviour the horses will respond differently.


Accomplishing a task involving a large and powerful horse instills confidence and self-assurance which the participant can bring to other challenging and intimidating situations in their lives.


Do you learn to ride a horse?

No, the focus is on working with horses on the ground, observing and interacting with the horse or pony based on the individual’s own level of comfort so you do not need any experience with or riding horses.


Is it Safe?

Yes, the role of the Equine Assisted Learning Programme Facilitator is to ensure the safety of both the people and horses at all times.


How many people can do an EAL session?

Ainrush Stables’s Equine Assisted Learning Service is now available to people as a group or one to one. It is also available to families, corporate team building and really anybody that would like to participate in an equine assisted learning and personal development session.  A group is made of between 2 and 4.  Sessions may be a once off or can be availed of over a number of weeks.