Why it Works
Horses don’t care what you look like, or what clothes you wear. They don’t care where you’ve been or what you know. They offer unconditional friendship based on leadership, trust and respect.
Horses bring variety into each session, and as a team, (ie, a student, Buddy, and horse or donkey) improve an individual's ability to interact with others, whilst asking them to take responsibility for themselves and their actions. A student can feel unconditional love, trust and respect from the horse and build on their ability, growing confidence in their own decisions.
Horses can help individuals discover their strengths, and talents, and new skills transfer over to all the other areas of their life. Then they are able to have the confidence to try new things in activities of daily living. Changes can appear small to us but they can be very significant for the youth that come!
Some of the fantastic changes we have seen are as follows;
• Increased confidence in the ability to start something never done before.
• Taking the initiative with a task – as opposed to waiting to be told what to do next.
• Laughing at mistakes rather than getting despondent or giving up.
• Asking questions to get clarity rather than just guessing or responding to requests.
• Taking initiatives at home (according to feedback from parents).
• Confidence to join a Kapahaka group at school.
• Engaging with other students over allocated tasks.
• Learning to control emotions – instead of possible outbursts of anger/frustration.
• Understanding and overcoming fears.
• Thinking/making decisions on their feet.
• Increased social skills and engagement with their leader (Buddy) and Buddy trainee.
• Increased ability and desire to work with a partner.
• Persistence doing a task, rather than giving up.
• Increased empathy with our animals.
• Eye contact when we greet them on arrival, instead of looking at the ground.