Horses & Me
In addition to riding sessions, Pegasus offers students the opportunity to participate in non-riding activities that still incorporate therapeutic human-horse interaction. One such non-riding activity is Horses & Me, our horsemanship and equine education program. Lessons are adapted to the students’ abilities and can include ground training, equine nutrition, grooming, comparing riding disciplines, basic equine anatomy, and learning how to tack up and lead a horse.
Below is a summary of the many benefits of the Horses & Me program:
- Physical: Grooming incorporates large muscle groups as well as fine motor skills. The student is constantly stretching, bending and reaching, which requires balance and coordination.
- Social/Relationships: Students have the chance to work together and help one another. They also have the opportunity to develop relationships with the volunteers, the instructors and the horses they care for.
- Routine/Sequencing/Responsibility: Grooming has a specific order to it, which brings routine and sequencing into play. In addition, each student's work has a direct impact on the horse's health and well-being; with that comes a sense of responsibility and pride. Finally, when the student has finished grooming his or her horse, the work is reviewed, creating a standard the student should strive to achieve.
- Reflection: At the end of each session, students self-assess their performance, identifying their strengths and opportunities for improvement.
- Awareness/Focus: Horses talk to us with body language. Learning to listen to a horse's body language is, in large part, what keeps us safe around these powerful animals. Horses & Me students learn to be focused, present and "in the moment" when working with horses.
- Calming: Horses respond favorably to a slow, quiet demeanor and a soft voice. As students become calmer and more soothing, they begin to notice the positive effect their behavior has on their horse.
- Confidence/Empowerment: The development of the horse/human bond assists students in gaining respect, trust and leadership skills. Each success empowers them and builds self-esteem, which motivates them to try new things and take an active role in their own education.