"I would recommend this type of therapy to anyone who is able to access it."
A group of students were chosen from my school, all of which having their own individual emotional and social difficulties.
The students attended every week and were greatly disappointed when some sessions were cancelled due to bad weather and when the course came to an end. It was interesting to watch these students interact with each other and the horses.
They grew in confidence with each other, the horses and themselves without being aware, at first, that this process was taking place. Those students who were quiet, standing back from tasks and group work began to push themselves forward as their confidence grew.
Over the weeks their individual characters, strengths and weaknesses were uncovered not only to themselves but to those of us working with them.
Interacting with horses in an excellent tool as they do not 'talk back' instead they use body language. Some students find it difficult to accept verbal comments from adults or their peers regardless of whether it is praise or criticism; the horses have their own way of telling the students if they are pleased with what it is they are doing.
This concept was difficult for the students concerned to understand at first but as the weeks progressed they began to read the horses' behaviour and respond accordingly.
I would recommend this type of therapy/social learning to anyone who is able to access it. Animals and humans all behave in similar ways, by observing the horses' behaviour and through discussion we were given the opportunity to analyse ourselves as well. The time spent with these animals is therapy in itself.
(Part of testimonial from Janet Knaggs, Behaviour Support Team, Bedlingtonshire Community High School)
"I behaved more in school and came every day. I had a more positive attitude."
B, aged 15
"Helped bring my family together and to acknowledge I needed help with my additions".
S drug addicted parent.
"That I can do something if I say I can".
K, aged 15
"Yes, built my confidence".
S, aged 15
"Yes, managing my anger?"
Sh, aged 16
D, aged 16
"I can control my anger now and don't swear so much."
Da, aged 16
" Coming here is like when you your medicine is at the top- you feel calm and focused"
17 year old with ADHD likening coming to TAP with Ritalin!!
"Yes cos it will help you with feeling better inside. I wish I could keep coming".
J, aged 16
" Absolutely its helped us repair the fractures in our family and amazingly using a lot of laughter. I didnt realise therapy could be such fun!".
Adoptive parents of two teenagers with developmental trauma and attachment difficulties
"Yeah, because I've improved on my attendance."
R, aged 15
Text message from a mother whose life had been blighted by drugs and domestic violence to her Family worker.
" Thank you for sending me and J to Turn About Pegasus. I was in danger of losing my son. Thank you for giving me my son back".
D aged 36
Parent feedback 6 months after a weeks intensive Equine Assisted Play Therapy programme
" Every adoptive family should be provided with this kind of therapy. After 3 years of hell 6 months after recieving this therapy we continue to grow as a family and get closer. Tracie and her team held us through the laughter AND the tears and gave us hope that we are in fact the experts on our child and we can do this with a little help from our friends.