Challenge by Choice
Many programs talk about how they take a relational approach with their students. However, this language is connected to a level system that has embedded consequences and rewards for specific “behavior”. These hoops through which students are able to jump, create an opportunity to “behave” in order to avoid negative ramifications or gain some external “privileges”. This approach ends up minimizing the relationship between student and staff and puts all focus on what the student simply does, no matter the motivation. We believe there is a better approach.
Our focus will not be around change through privileges (levels), but rather change through choice. Our students and families will be invited to join with us and educate our team around what they want to accomplish and the things that they need to work on. Our team will work with them to craft a plan of action and help them identify the goals they want to accomplish along the way.
The fundamental shift is coming from a place of trust as opposed to distrust. We can then make specific invitations for students to make change in their life, not to gain a reward or avoid a specific consequence but because it is what is needed at the moment for them to become something greater. Lifelong relevancy is developed from this inside out approach.
Equine Assisted Wellness
Equine Assisted Wellness provides a metaphoric experience with horses to promote self-awareness and the principles of relational growth. The human-horse experiential process teaches participants about themselves in a relational context and helps them become more aware of behavioral patterns and better understand healthy relationships.
Equine Assisted Wellness occurs both in an individual and in a group setting. The process involves establishing a relationship, first with a horse on the ground and then evolving into the saddle. Activities in this process include 'joining up' with the horse, grooming, lunging, natural horsemanship training and group experiential exercises. As the individual progresses in responsibility and ability, higher levels of riding and horsemanship are experienced.
“What horses need to hear from us is what many of us would like to hear from ourselves, and each other. They need us to have a calm, focused assurance. They need us to be consistent. They need us to be assertive yet non-threatening. They need us to be both strong and compassionate. In short, horses need us to be our best selves.” — Chris Irwin, Horses Don’t Lie