Horses Help Students Deal with Bullying at School
Students in Ulster County, NY have new friends helping them face bullies at school when they return to the halls this September. They're 4-legged prey animals and weigh about 1,000 pounds each. Hudson Valley HorsePlay has created a program with horses that support social skills, assertiveness, empathy, resilience and problem solving. All activities take place on the ground, along skilled experiential facilitators.
Guided by seasoned facilitators, participants engage in in-mounted activities with horses to support skills such as self-esteem, the making and keeping of friends, assertiveness, resiliency, problem solving and empathy.
The work with the horses has shown many kids that they are worthy and capable of creating healthy relationships (with the horses) despite their appearance, socio-economic status or other "reputation."
Research shows that kids with strong social skills are more comfortable dealing with bullies and other difficult situations. They're also less likely to bully others, because they can navigate difficult situations without resorting to intimidation, manipulation and other bullying tactics. Studies have also linked strong social skills with better academic achievement, impacting their careers and relationships.
Hudson Valley HorsePlay serves individuals, groups and families throughout the year with various programs ranging from social skills to the treatment of trauma and substance abuse disorders.
HorsePlay activities are 100% on-the-ground. Cori Nichols, director, explains, "We don't teach people how to control horses (read: people), we provide people with an opportunity to learn how to change their own behaviors."
Staff are are trained and certified with Eagala, Equine Experiential Association and other credentials.