Patrons: Martin Clunes and Lord Knight of Weymouth Registered Charity No. 1141654

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 replication. In addition, we aim to widely disseminate what is found to be effective, raising standards in this field.

Horses in Prison

TheHorseCourse project began at HMP Portland in 2010 as an Offending Behaviour Program focusing on disengaged and disruptive violent offenders. 

An Evidence Review, including Theory of Change and Contribution Analysis has been published with NPC and CLINKS, under an MoJ-commissioned project "Improving your Evidence". TheHorseCourse was chosen as an axemplar - a small charity doing a great job demonstrating impact. Latest data shows that 12 months post release our participants have a reoffending rate 27 % points lower than predicted. This compares with a 10% maximum expected by MoJ.

Read the TheHorseCourse Evidence Review 2014 here

See comments from prisoners and staff…

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 and will publish an evaluation soon.

See comments from teachers and students...

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).

See comments from Mental Health partners and service users…

  • It is an intervention for the most difficult to engage

    Russ Trent, Governor, HMP & YOI Portland

  • I hope this work which I understand the PCT Commissioner has been impressed with, is able to continue

    Jeremy Wright, Minister for Prisons

  • TheHorseCourse has succeeded in getting through to some of the most difficult and disruptive Young Offenders...

    Lord Ramsbotham, former Chief Inspector of Her Majesty's Prisons

  • A new option which shows great promise to reduce exclusions and to reduce ongoing mental health issues.

    Kirsty Dring, Wellbeing Team Leader, All Saints School, Weymouth

  • THC has made significant impact - one student learnt she is able to succeed, another has doubled her time in lessons.

    Allan Wood, Headmaster, Compass Learning Centre (Pupil Referral Unit)

  • We are working in partnership with TheHorseCourse on a number of pilots including Rehab Services, Crisis Service and Acute Inpatient settings.

    Sarah Rose, Dorset Mental Health Forum

  • A uniquely powerful course for installing mental and emotional self control...I am excited to be a part of this project.

    Stephanie Gaunt, licensed 3* Parelli Professional Horsemanship Instructor

  • Students have to take control of the situation, be effective... that is huge.

    Tracey Hodder, Specialist Support Worker, Compass Learning Centre

  • We train our people by doing, but when things go wrong we try to fix them by talking. It doesn't make sense.

    Reverend Simon Beveridge, Royal Marines, Poole

  • Preliminary findings from the evaluation research are incredibly positive.

    Professor Rosie Meek, Criminal Psychology, Royal Holloway University

  • Engaging and motivating prisoners is notoriously difficult and yet TheHorseCourse has managed to do just that consistently and effectively.

    Lord Jim Knight of Weymouth (former Minister for Education)

  • I'm amazed by the work of Parelli practitioners such as Harriet Laurie... There is no-one horses cannot touch!

    Linda Parelli, Parelli Natural Horsemanship, USA

  • Seeing these kids getting a horse to do something for them simply by controlling their own moods is incredible.

    Martin Clunes (Actor, Presenter & President of The British Horse Society)

  • THC empowers prisoners as teachers and leaders of horses, rather than trying to further diminish them as pupils.

    Emily Bolton, Trustee, Solicitor, Founded the Innocence Project New Orleans

  • Society would benefit from this sort of intervention earlier, I would like to see it in primary schools.

    K Forrester, Trustee, School Teacher & Head of Year

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