Phase 1 – Discovery

The discovery phase is aimed at the individual finding out about themselves, their team mates, the horses and the environment. Attendees often feel way out of their comfort zone in unfamiliar surroundings with new people. We will discuss feelings and emotions such as anxiety and how it effects behaviour. The attendees will work with the horses on the ground as well as in the saddle and experience how their emotions and attitude affect the horse. We will discuss empathy and building a relationship through mutual respect and understanding. Through working with the horses they will become aware of the significance of non-verbal communication and the importance of congruence.

Attendees will be expected to undertake practical tasks such as fencing, stable management and cooking; some of these will be individual challenges and some will require team work. They will participate in other activities including falconry, bush craft, fishing and conservation. Each activity will be led by an expert in the field and attendees will have an opportunity to gain first-hand experience. Hopefully by the end of this first phase participants will have become aware of repeated patterns of behaviour and how these may have prevented them from connecting, not only with other people but with themselves. They may begin to recognise that negative attitudes towards themselves and others result in negative outcomes. A positive approach leads to a feeling of empowerment and success becomes far more tangible!

Phase 2 – Consolidate

The second phase aims to improve horsemanship techniques, challenge fears and anxieties but at the same time build on trust, respect and compassion. It will develop communication skills, problem solving and coping strategies, self-confidence and self-esteem. Developing awareness, both of self and others, will lead to stronger friendships and effective team work. An introduction to conservation and map reading will provide an exciting challenge and the opportunity to put it into practice in the beautiful surroundings of Glen Tanar. This will be the first step towards the John Muir Award. Overcoming uncertainty, whilst gaining new skills and recognising personal strengths are some of the important and rewarding outcomes of this process.

Phase 3 – Explore

The final phase is about exploring the attendees potential. Hopefully they will have discovered a great deal about themselves, their emotions and behaviour, their strengths and their responsibility to make positive choices. They will expand their horsemanship skills, their individual talents and team work and hopefully this will lead to increased self-confidence, a sense of self and a bright, motivated attitude. The final few days will require planning and preparation for the overnight expedition. Participants will plan the route, pack all necessary equipment and set up camp for the night. They will ride to base camp and then out into the hills of Glen Tanar. That evening they will work as a team to gather wood, build a fire and cook their meal, ending the day under canvas in military style tents and camp beds. The last day will include participants giving a short presentation on their experience of the course. This can take any number of formats from audio recordings, art, poetry, photography or a talk given to a small audience of staff and any guests the participants wish to invite. An award ceremony will follow the presentations.

Life After HorseBack

Beyond the courses, HorseBack UK provides the opportunity to return as a volunteer and take on a variety of jobs, from working with the horses and new course participants to building, painting and fencing plus various fundraising activities. This reaffirms the feeling of empowerment, being part of a team and develops vital new skills. We also offer the opportunity to join us on a work based scheme and gain recognised qualifications in Horse Care.

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