TheHorseCourse is an equine-assisted behaviour programme delivered in prisons and other settings in the UK. Our charitable purpose is to reduce social exclusion through horse-assisted interventions. To this end we work hard on innovative programme development, robust testing of efficacy and careful duplication. In addition, we aim to widely disseminate what is found to be effective, raising standards in this field.
Horses in Prison
The project began at HMP Portland in 2010 as an Offending Behaviour Program focusing on disengaged and disruptive violent offenders. It was replicated at HMP Oakwood, HMP Verne and HMP Eastwood Park in 2012, with three further facilitators delivering the course using their own horses. In 2013 Dorset Mental Health PCT commissioned continuing services to be provided at HMP Portland. With the support of Minister of Prisons, Jeremy Wright, NOMS (National Offender Management Services) have undertaken to evaluate the course alongside the ongoing Meek/Hemingway evaluation.
Horses in Schools and Pupil Referral Units
Early results show that TheHorseCourse will also benefit younger people at risk of offending or having difficulties within education due to a lack of social and emotional skills. We are currently engaged with a series of pilots in this area. Dr Ann Hemingway of Bournemouth University is currently scoping a Randomised Controlled Trial of TheHorseCourse working with this population.
Horses in Mental Health
We are working in partnership with Dorset Mental Health Forum to develop a number of pilots within NHS settings, including Rehab Services, Crisis Service and Acute Inpatient settings. Dorset Mental Health Forum is part of the Wellbeing & Recovery Partnership (ImROC demo site), working on NHS Mental Health Service redesign across the whole of Dorset. Results will be monitored by UDMH (University of the Department of Mental Health).