Equine Assisted Learning Facilitator Training Programme

Course  Overview

Equine Assisted Learning is a unique way of improving our social, emotional and behavioural competencies through working with horses.

Horses are prey animals and as such, monitor their environment, and the people in it, 24/7. They rely on their keen flight instincts and strong social connections within a herd for survival. By observing and working with these natural behaviours, horses can help us become aware of our own behaviours, responses and actions and the need to modify them within the arena and in daily life. Equine Assisted Learning as a tool for growth and development often focuses on the following key areas: self and social awareness, self management, problem solving, decision making, communication and relationship skills.

EAL is suitable for people of all ages, all backgrounds and all learning abilities and interests – from school pupils to those in the profit and not for profit sector. Ultimately we all need to keep developing our social and emotional competencies.

Objectives of this programme:

At the end of the Equine Assisted Learning Facilitator Training Programme, learners will be able to:

  • Discuss and evaluate the different approaches and models that have been developed to involve equines as an extension of animal assisted interventions
  • Describe the theoretical frameworks which help to illustrate how and why equines can assist in the achievement of cognitive and behavioural change and the development of social and emotional learning
  • Understand how Equine Assisted Learning and Coaching can help to discover our own learning styles and help people to work with them
  • Understand the significance of Social and Emotional learning
  • Describe the different ways in which horses learn
  • Understand the language of equines
  • Describe the ethical considerations when working with equines
  • Develop Practical Equine Handling skills (Using the Chris Irwin method of horsemanship)
  • Demonstrate a thorough understanding of coaching and facilitation and the ethical requirements inherent in both
  • Demonstrate the ability to plan, deliver and evaluate Equine Assisted Learning and Coaching sessions
  • Demonstrate how to market Equine Assisted Learning and Coaching as a Business
  • Demonstrate how to apply for grants in order to promote Equine Assisted Learning and Coaching sessions and programmes

NOTE:  This Training Programme should not be confused with Equine Assisted Psychotherapy or Equine Assisted Therapy as this would require the applicant to be a qualified psychotherapist.

Key features of this programme

  • Practical Hands on Training with Equine
  • Dedicated website for learners
  • Individualised tutor support
  • Tutors with specialist skills and experience
  • Experience of learning in the equestrian environment of Festina Lente which reflects best practice in equine facilitated programmes and equine welfare and management.
  • Access to current research on the benefits of Equine Assisted Learning as it relates to both the benefits to people and its impact on equines.

Course information

Course Accreditation

This course is accredited by QQI Level 6 through a Certificate in Life and Workplace Coaching (6S3153) in addition to Festina Lente certification relating to Equine Welfare and Management.

Background to Equine Assisted Learning Facilitator Training Programme

Festina Lente has been providing services and programmes to people through the medium of equines for 25 years.  Since 2006, Festina Lente has been providing equine assisted learning programmes to hundreds of young people, teenagers and adults. These programmes include Equine Assisted Learning, Supported Helpers Programme and our Equine Facilitated Educational Programme.

Festina Lente’s Equine Assisted Learning Facilitator Training Programme is being delivered as a response to individuals wishing to develop this work in a professional and ethical manner.  It is also in response to requests from those in the health, education and training and social care sectors who wish for the integration of equine assisted learning into the services they provide or as an additional alternative intervention.

Entry Requirements

Ideally, course participants should:

  • Be over 25 years of age
  • Hold a third level qualification in a social and/or health care field or related area
  • Have a strong background and experience of working with horses in an empathetic and educated manner
  • Have a proven background in the advancement of one’s own professional development
  • Be up to date with best practice in horse care and welfare issues

For those applicants who do not meet the above criteria but who have sufficient experiences in specific areas, an interview will be part of the application process.

Course Delivery

The course will be delivered over a 12 month period between April and April with 18 days onsite in Festina Lente in Bray, Co. Wicklow as well as distance learning, self-directed learning and continuous assessment.  A variety of different Tutors with specialist skills and experience will be involved throughout the Training Programme.

Course Fee

The cost of the Training Programme is €1,950, payable, in full, no later then 6 weeks before course commencement . Festina Lente is a registered charity and therefore cannot offer credit, please do not ask.

If your application is successful and you are offered a place on the course – you will be sent a link to pay a non-refundable deposit of €250 to secure your place.  

Terms and Conditions

Please note that learners must attend at least 17 days of the 18 days across the modules. In the event that more than one day is missed from any of the modules, learners will be required to repeat the day/s the following year which may delay official graduation from the programme.

EAL Practice sessions outside of the course dates below can be done in Festina Lente Equestrian Centre but there is a fee of €60 per session, the same charge applies to rescheduled assessments.