Think Like a Pony
Our mission is to empower young people through horsemanship. We pledge to provide a safe learning environment so that a young person can thrive physically, mentally and emotionally. In order to develop a relationship with a pony and excel in practical skills, children learn strategies such as controlling breathing, body language and voice.
The Think Like a Pony ethos is based around learning to respect self, respect others and take responsibility for ones’ own actions. By learning how ponies communicate and form relationships, children and young people have an opportunity to reflect and improve on their own communication and relationship skills.
We promote the education of an holistic approach to riding, handling and caring for horses both at our flagship horsemanship centre in Leeds, and nationwide through our online Club and team of instructors.
A Unique Approach to Horsemanship
Whether your child is passionate about competition, is a happy hacker or is simply pony mad, the Think Like a Pony Club will excel their horsemanship journey.
The Club is specifically tailored to children, and provides a unique online learning environment which gives them a robust education in all aspects of horsemanship through video lessons, e-books and worksheets. From developing a relationship on the ground with their pony to understanding holistic horse care and balanced riding, the Club is a complete educational package.
Children have direct contact through the website to an online horsemanship instructor who marks their written and video assessments, offering direct help and support when needed.
Club members can earn over 70 badges towards horsemanship topics such as:
- building a relationship with a pony on the ground
- balanced riding
- learning to massage a pony
- holistic pony health
As well as being ideal for families working with their own pony, the Club is perfect for young people working with horses as part of an equine therapy programme or for pony-mad children who do not have their own pony but are keen to develop their understanding of horses.
“We love that this empowers you to train your pony together as a family. The focus is on caring for the horse holistically and developing a strong relationship with them, an approach which certainly reflects our family values.” – Gemma, parent of Think Like a Pony Club member and experienced horse owner.
Riding School – Learning to Communicate and Ride in Balance
At our flagship centre in Leeds, children learn all aspects of horsemanship and horse care, in an holistic and ethical way.
- To communicate with a pony on the ground
- Co-ordination, confidence and balance in the saddle
- Horse care from the pony’s perspective
- Understanding what a pony needs and how to care for them
To get the most out of their lessons, children ride one-to-one with an instructor in private lessons to begin with. This gives them the time, space and support they need to develop the foundation skills required to ride effectively and in harmony with their pony. When children are fully independent and balanced, they can join a semi-private lesson. We do not offer large group lessons as we prioritise your child’s learning and safety.
“What an amazing place, the staff are so supportive of each child’s needs and often do those extra little things that mean so much to them. It is somewhere where my son feels valued, he adores his pony and can see his own progress with badges he has earned. What a beautiful surrounding to be in!” – Jo, Riding School Parent.
Youth Development – Our ponies help when no one else can!
Young people are referred to us when no other form of therapy is having an impact. Without support, they are at risk of chronic mental health problems that can lead to isolation, self-harm, depression and even suicide.
Seeing a Future Again – Through learning to build a relationship with a pony, children learn strategies that empower them to take control of their physical, mental and emotional state. This in turn helps them to build stronger relationships, re-engage with learning and see a future for themselves. The programme is suitable for any child with social, emotional or mental heath difficulties.
“Before I started Think Like a Pony, my life was chaos. I didn’t go to school. Mum wanted to put me into care and I was on the street committing crimes. It has given me something positive to focus on, I am calmer and I have taken control of my own future. Riding at Think Like a Pony has changed my life. I am now back in education and family life is back on track.” – Youth Development Student.
Empowered Parenting – Empowering Families
Through learning to communicate with the ponies, families learn strategies that improve communication and family cohesion. This helps families to work through issues together in a calmer and more collaborative way.
“The course helped us to identify that certain behaviours were contributing to our situation and gave us different strategies to use which have empowered us all to feel more in control. Through the help, support, and love of the staff at Think Like a Pony, we have a better understanding of our actions, how they impact on other family members, and how to avoid falling into these patterns again.” – Jaynee, parent.
A Unique and Successful Approach to Family Work – Through learning to communicate with the ponies, families learn strategies that improve communication and family cohesion. This helps families to work through issues together in a calmer and more collaborative way.
We have seen that parents who attend the courses are able to support their children to improve mental and emotional wellbeing in the home environment and wider life.
Parent and Carer Groups or Family Sessions – We tailor sessions to meet individual needs so that we can best support the family. We run group sessions or can work with a family on an individual basis.
25% Club Membership for 1 year – Coupon Code: HSTLAP23
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