The British Horse Society Changing Lives Through Horses is an alternative education programme, developed by Britain’s largest Equine charity, The British Horse Society, where children and young people can learn in a safe and nurturing environment alongside highly trained coaches at British Horse Society Approved Riding Centres. The BHS believes that horses and equine facilitated learning can have a remarkable role to play in impacting on a young person’s life.
The Changing Lives Through Horses programme was developed and piloted in 2016 with excellent feedback from the twelve centres involved. Since then the programme has grown, with over 70 trained centres nationwide and with over 1300 young people accessing the programme to date. Our coaches receive support to run the programme and regular training from our dedicated Changing Lives Through Horses team at the BHS.
The programme is aimed at children and young people aged 5-25 years who have become, or are at risk of becoming, disengaged or excluded from education or training, or those with additional needs that mean they need more support to maintain their school placement. Participants who have benefitted from the programme include those with special educational needs, including social and emotional mental health needs, and those who may have experienced trauma or adverse childhood experiences.
The main aim of the programme is to develop and support 6 key life skills: Communication, Confidence, Teamwork, Building Relationships, Perseverance, and Responsibility. The programme is structured around two frameworks – the Achieve and Explorer awards. Both offer horse care and ridden modules with structured awards and certificates that recognise and reward achievement. Activities contained in each award provide opportunities for the participant to develop in the six key life skills that are transferable back to school or further education opportunities, practice learning skills linked to their school curriculum and build a portfolio of equine knowledge and experience that could lead to a pathway of further industry qualifications.
From September 2022 we are also able to offer accredited Personal Development Qualifications integrated within the programme at Entry Level 3, Level 1 and Level 2.