Pony Partnerships offers a unique environment to explore ways to improve life.
Not everyone finds it easy to relate in a traditional way - the expectations attached to room based interventions may feel overwhelming to some people. Here at Pony Partnerships, we offer a unique flexibility in the way that we work. Sessions can be designed to suit the person, rather than expecting the person to fit into the session.
We have the capacity to work creatively, by building relationships with our facilitators, as well as our animal partners, and the outdoor environment in which we are based. As well as supporting young people with their general wellbeing and a range of mental health difficulties, some of our more specialist areas included working with neurodiversity (i.e. Autism, Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder - ADHD, Pathological Demand Avoidance - PDA, school refusal, eating difficulties, BPD, and bereavement.
Equine Facilitated sessions involve working alongside a horse or horses as a part of the treatment team. Being with horses promotes different ways of thinking, being, and relating. This helps clients to explore alternative ways of relating to their somatic (bodily) selves, others, and the world. This supports an increase in the way clients experience and interpret their understanding of that they are doing, and how they are doing it. This relates to the sensory areas of proprioception (perception of the position and movement of the body); neuroception (whether situations/people are safe, dangerous, or life threatening); and interoception (helps you to understand and feel what is going on inside your body, as well as regulating this). These sensory elements of working with horses will help develop techniques to self-regulate.
The principles that apply to building a relationship with horses can be translated into healthy human relationships. The non-judgemental response of the horse can make it easier for clients to identify and examine how they create those same patterns in relationship with themselves and with others; thus, helping to support the client to take positive steps in how they relate to other people.
Sessions are client-led with the programme beginning around assessment and allowing the client to explore the site and familiarise themselves with it and the animals and therapist. The client’s needs are responded to and met in the moment around their capacity for regulation and window of tolerance. The sessions are not activity or task led, although tasks around equine care may be explored as a means of learning about the self and other. This can help people to attune to their own sensory needs as well as those of the horses. This also supports understanding of attachment and trauma responses and the development of blame free strategies and explanations for behaviours.
Evidence shows that skilful facilitation of these therapeutic activities helps young people develop social and emotional capabilities including:
• secure attachments;
• improved well-being;
• psychosocial benefits;
• positive change;
• increased levels of hope;
• decreased levels of depression;
• increased perceived social support;
• self-esteem and self-confidence;
• more consistent behaviour;
• lower cortisol levels;
• increased problem-solving skills and general self-efficacy;
• fewer mentally distressing symptoms;
• improved nonverbal and verbal communication and interpersonal effectiveness;
• boundaries and limit-setting.
Our approach is aligned with compassionate equitation where the welfare and wellbeing of our equine team is central to what we do. If the work does not benefit all of us, then it benefits none of us.
We offer a free 30 minute consultation where you can come and meet us and the animal team, and see what you think. We are located close to Derby City Centre and have parking facilities. We are also close to many bus routes in Alvaston. We can also offer sessions at Rosliston, near the forestry centre.