Unmounted is an advanced horsemanship program that, in many cases, builds on skills students have learned through participation in group activities during past sessions.
Depending on the skill level of the group, lessons may include lunging, long-lining, and other ground training exercises; leading horses through obstacle/agility courses; assisting with helping us keep our herd in shape; and in-depth lessons on equine nutrition, first aid, and creating daily horse care plans.
One of the goals of this hands-on program is to foster vocational skills for participants who may be interested in working with horses in the future.
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, bringing routine and sequencing into play. In addition,
each student's work directly impacts the horse's health and well-being; with that comes a sense of responsibility and pride.
Finally, when the student has finished grooming their 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.