This service is being offered free of charge. Contributions can be made by going to the “Donate” tab at the top.
Youth are invited to come just as they are with no expectations. Mentors will greet each one upon arrival to begin their 90-minute one-on-one session that is offered once a week for six weeks. The Mentor’s goal for each session is to instill hope and provide an atmosphere for personal growth and development. A Spurs of Hope mentor is an adult who is gifted with listening and being the best cheerleader for that teen. The equine activities used are educational and will help develop the youth’s social skills. The horse may be a part of the entire 90 minutes or as little as 30 minutes with the remainder spent on relationship building. The horses are our centerpiece here on the ranch; however, if a youth does not want to participate in an equine activity, they may choose an alternate one that does not involve a horse.
(In the event the mentor is not experienced with horses, an equine specialist will facilitate this portion of the session)
• Working with the horse from the ground (catching, leading, grooming, working in the round pen using natural horsemanship methods to create a horse-human relationship, hoof care, bathing the horse, etc.)
• Riding the horse (including saddling and bridling)
• Rhythmic Riding (Mentor leading horse while rider sits bareback both forwards and backwards in rhythm to music)
• Horse Painting (our horses are gentle and large enough to become a giant canvas)
• Blind Folded Game (Youth is blind folded and leads his horse from the ground through obstacles under the direction of his peer)
Horses have historically been trained with harsh methods that cause them to submit out of fear. At Spurs of Hope, we create a human-horse relationship built on trust that causes these beautiful and powerful creatures to submit out of their own will. We work alongside the youth with their horse to show them how to cause the horse to want to be with them. Respect, boundaries, body language, and leadership are a few things practiced in this human-horse relationship. It is an amazing experience that is transferred into their everyday lives.
This program is for girls and boys ages 12-17 who are referred through the Girls and Boys Club of the Ocoee Region. Referrals may also be accepted privately for youth in the community. Referral information can be found by clicking the “Contact” tab at the top.
HORSE TRAINING & RIDING
This program is for girls ages 12-17 or adult women ages 18 and above who want to learn more about horses and the basics of riding. It is offered in group, but private lessons will be considered in certain circumstances.
The sessions include the following:
- Understanding the communication of horses
- Catching, haltering, and leading a horse
- Caretaking (feeding, grooming, signs of health problems, barn maintenance, etc.)
- Round pen sessions (there are many hours that go into training a horse on the ground before saddling him. Once you have learned all the basic steps, you only need to refer to it each time before riding. You always want to know which side of the bed he woke up on that morning before putting your foot in the stirrup. The human also learns much about relationships and communication during these sessions.)
- How to tack up your horse
- Basic riding lessons (most of what is learned from the ground training will be transferred to the saddle when ready to ride)
The Lesson is one hour and taught once a week for eight weeks. More advanced ground training is offered to those who desire to know more than what eight weeks can cover.
What is Equine Facilitated Learning?
In an educational setting, horses and the lifestyle that goes along with maintaining horses, provide opportunities to teach critical life and communication skills. Horses mostly use non-vocal communication and thus are wonderful teachers to help us better understand and learn how our non-verbal communication might be impacting or influencing others in our lives. Horses also demand that we are aware of our surroundings at all times. In order to stay safe around horses we must be observant and present in our bodies. We have to listen to each other and to the horses. We have to stay focused and attentive. To care for horses takes dedication, time, and effort and our clients can learn a strong work ethic that may transition back into their daily lives. Furthermore, clients gain self-esteem and self-confidence while learning how to work with such a large and powerful creature. In all, horses provide us with a way to see our internal landscape and modes of operation exposed. They offer us humility, compassion, and challenge all critical elements to supporting self-growth and self-awareness. For more information go to www.pathintl.org or www.eagala.org.