Hens for Hire

School Hen Keeping Specialist

ReStart - The Horse Course

Positive Ponies is a fully approved, designated hub for 'TheHorseCourse' in the Midlands. Situated in the heart of the National Forest on the Staffordshire/Derbyshire boarders. From 2024 we will be delivering 'TheHorseCourse' to young people from local area. We are fully insured, advanced DBS and licenced with East Staffordshire Council.

When talk-based provision does not work, we provide a new option: an action-based programme with impressive evidence of effectiveness

Services Overview

For those with complex psycho-social needs we offer intensive and well-evidenced equine-assisted interventions. Stepped down support is provided as equine-assisted top up sessions, AP (alternative provision of education) or supported volunteering. Our well-evidenced equine-assisted services are for 8yrs to adult, by referral only from Social Care, NHS Mental Health Services, Schools & PRUs, Offender Services and other specialist agencies.

Intensive ReStart Programme

Our ReStart participants have serious difficulties – typically more than four from the list below.  And they are referred because talk-based support is not working for them. We specialise in helping people who are disengaged or stuck – we are experts in action-based intervention.

  • Anxiety Diagnosis
  • ADHD
  • ASD
  • PTSD
  • Not attending School (Training work)
  • Relationship Difficulties
  • Mood Swings/Impulsivity
  • Disengaged
  • Self Harming
  • Suicidal
  • Bullying, Aggression, Anger Management Issues
  • Being Bullied
  • Risk Taking behaviour
  • Drug & Alcohol Misuse
  • Eating Disorder
  • Offending
  • Domestic Violence
  • Neglect / Abuse
  • Difficult Family Dynamics
  • In family with mental health problems, offending or D&A
  • Living in Care or at risk of going into care
  • From an area of high deprivation
  • Homeless

The ReStart

Our evidence based ReStart course is action-based, designed to interrupt participants’ usual thinking and emotional responses, whilst responsive to their individual pace and needs.

The ReStart is usually delivered over 5 consecutive days, working for approx 2 hours per day with 1-to-1 facilitator support. We teach, rehearse and repeat key resilience skills in an intensive and challenging, but fun way, with feedback in-the-moment from specially trained horses.

There is no discussion of the past. All sessions take place in action with the horses, there is no classroom content or talk-based therapy or counselling. Tasks are guided by the facilitator and the horses are selected and trained to provide especially clear and easily observed physical feedback to participants, many of whom may not have interacted with horses prior to taking part in the programme. The methodological focus is on social and emotional shifts being made ‘in the moment’, in response to difficulties encountered.

Our participants are unmounted handlers, learning to work in partnership with the horses on the ground. The course employs an approach using a series of specific tasks as tools to develop positive habits. This unique programme allows us to shape difficult behaviour with non-verbal strategies which seem to be more acceptable to those who struggle with conventional interventions.

The Skills Star below show the 8 key skills we work on:

Skills Star
  • Engagement (Confidence as a Learner) – enthusiastically taking on new challenges, pushing limits whilst also taking care of own confidence
  • Responsibility – taking responsibility for our own thoughts, emotions and actions
  • Calmness – having the habit of calmness and knowing how to create it in difficult situations
  • Assertiveness – able to be calmly assertive, without getting aggressive or upset
  • Realistic Analysis & Planning – Stopping to think before acting, making a realistic assessment of situations and planning accordingly
  • Focus & Perseverance – working towards goals despite setbacks
  • Relating to Others / Empathy – seeing the needs of others, offering care and support, feeling closely connected
  • Communication & Language – two way, respectful, assertive communications, having language to talk about thinking and emotions

On the last day, each participant has a robust reflective session with their facilitator – looking at their progress in each of the areas of the Skills Star (see Method for more info). We will also give each participant the opportunity to record a short video of everything they have learnt in the week.

Feedback from Paulet High School Students that attended in April 2024

"I learnt about respecting personal space and the importance of letting someone know if they were too close and it is impacting on my personal space and how I am feeling. I have also given this advice to my friends when I have seen them invading people's space and impacting on how someone else is feeling."

"Calmness: I notice how I am emotionally and physically more now. I recognise how my body language and the way I say things impact on how someone else feels. My empathy skills have improved."

"The course helps you to understand yourself better. In the moment you don't realise how you are feeling but having the timeout with the horses has enabled me to recognise now if I need to relax or have some space."

"To Persevere - Working with Logan - he is lazy at times, you have to keep trying otherwise he would never do the things you wanted him to like move into the shapes. You need to keep trying at things to be able to succeed."

Ready to find out more?

For more information or to refer to us, please visit our Contact Us page.
For full details on evidence please visit: www.thehorsecourse.org/evidence