Equine Assisted Learning & Personal Development

Learning Life Skills That Last A Lifetime!

Equine assisted learning (EAL), which combines experiential learning, interaction with equines, and life skills education to increase participants' affective, physiological, and behavioral regulation. EAL offers unmounted and mounted equine learning programs. Horses help  facilitate the learning of responsibility, self-efficacy, unconditional love, required helpfulness, confidence, self-esteem, empathy, emotional intelligence and resilience. 

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Pictured above: Esther Adams-Aharony, World, National, and Regional Champion Equestrian,  EAGALA Certified Practitioner and Israeli Licensed Social Work
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Strides To Solutions is a clinical care farm specializing in equine-assisted therapy. The farm is situated on a beautiful, 10 dunam property in central Israel, in moshav Sitiryya (20 mins from the airport). Strides to Solutions offers a variety of office-based, equine-assisted therapy and skills training services to meet your needs. We are dedicated to our youth, adults, and families who are experiencing concerns relating to life transitions, stressful events, emotional distress, mental health disorders, substance abuse disorders, and other areas of life that create challenges. Our farm has resident horses, rabbits, dogs and chickens who live here and assist in many of the therapy sessions and therapeutic activity programs we offer. At Strides to Solutions, we use creative activities and evidence-based therapy approaches to help individuals and families achieve their goals.

Who facilitates EAL?

EAL interventions and learning opportunities are facilitated alongside specialist practitioner and National Titled Equestrian, Esther Adams-Aharony.

Esther Adams-Aharony is a licensed Israeli Social Worker and multi-Regional, National, and World Champion competitor. She has combined her knowledge of 30 years+ of horses as well as her training as a Social Worker to provide individual or group sessions. 

What is Equine Assisted Learning?

Equine assisted learning (EAL) is an experiential method where the focus may be on developing specific skills as well as social, emotional and behavioral development. This focus on life skills can be related to academic achievement and classroom behavior, personal growth and exploration or professional pursuits such as leadership development and executive coaching.

Why use horses?

Horses are prey animals and are vulnerable as such. As a species their survival has depended on co-operative group living, highly developed non-verbal communication skills and the ability to run away at speed from the threat of a predator (Mills & Nankervis, 1999). As a consequence, horses are social beings by nature and finely tuned to body language. Horses are therefore highly sensitive and responsive to the behaviour of others which includes humans. This innate responsiveness means they are able to provide feedback which facilitates the therapeutic process of EAL (Burgon et al., 2018). 

Who is EAL appropriate for?

EAL is ideal for children, adolescents and adults seeking to develop the tools and strategies needed to make good choices and improve on their innate strengths. It’s a great way to experience the benefits of our programs for those not requiring psychotherapy or complementary to existing therapy.

 

Horses & Mindfulness

Horses naturally live in the moment and strive for a peaceful existence: to forever be galloping around would use up far too much energy for an animal that needs to graze for a large proportion of its day. Horses are therefore naturally in a “mindful” state: they are fully embodied and seek calmness and connection with each other and the world around them, qualities sought by practitioners of Mindfulness meditation practices. The qualities that horses bring to the work with young people in our EAL practice then enable the introduction to Mindfulness concept and practices to happen in a naturally occurring way (Burgon et al., 2018). 

Skills Learned Weekly

EAL moves beyond intellectual awareness and allows clients to experience in a tangible way how their behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs impact themselves and others.

  • making good decisions

  • reading body language

  • managing risk, setting boundaries

  • respecting personal space

  • teamwork & leadership

  • negotiating environmental sensory stressors

  • understanding social cues

  • increase resiliency

  • increase awareness of self and environment

  • increase communication and trust

  • improve relationship building skills

  • gain deeper understanding of responsibility

Evidence Based Techniques

The horse is claimed to provide benefits such as being non-judgemental and motivational, useful as a metaphor, for building self esteem, confidence and mastery, adapting behaviour and effective for building trust and attachment with both the horse and therapist. It is claimed that animals in general can act as ‘communication mediators’ within the personal development environment and help to provide a calming effect, especially during initial sessions (Levinson, 1969; Corson & Corson, 1980; C. Wilson & Turner, 1998; Fine, 2000; Friesen, 2010).

What is the cost?

Equine Assisted Learning

Approximately 438₪/60 mins ($130)

Approximately 168₪/30 mins ($50)

Group Sessions  340₪/ 1 hour and 30 mins  ($100) *limited availability

*Sessions must be paid a month in advance to book and keep your spot during the week for the month.

*Session time start at agreed appointment time

*Must wear shoes with a heel and pants (no shorts) 

*Must wear helmet while handling/riding horses at all times.

*Must bring bottle water.

*24 hour cancelation is a must, if not fee is forfeited. 

*Please note that Strides to Solutions is NOT a riding academy. We do not offer riding lessons to the public.

Image by Guillermo Mota

Equine Assisted Activities and Therapy has been found to improve engagement, maladaptive behaviours, and socialization in individuals who have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) 

Image by Silje Midtgård

Horseback riding has been found to improved anxiety, depression, self-esteem, attention, and learning disorder symptoms in ADHD children (Wi-Young et al. (2017).

Image by Helena Lopes

Equine Assisted therapy with at-risk children to improve of social exclusion and found improvements in persistence, flexibility, taking responsible risks,  impulsivity and empathy; it also helped decrease challenging behaviors.

Image by Sarah Olive

Animal Assisted therapy has been found to improve secure attachment for effective for adolescents who have suffered childhood trauma and subsequent mental health problems (Balluerka et al., 2013)