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

TheHorseCourse reduces social exclusion through horsemanship-based 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. 

We are developing a group of carefully trained facilitators. See the team page.

Horses in Prison

TheHorseCourse project began 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 exemplar - a small charity doing a great job of 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. This document has been peer reviewed by CSAAP (Correctional Services Accreditation & Advisory Panel), Ministry of Justice.

We are now working towards NOMS commissioning through PSO 4350 and would welcome the opportunity to work with the new Probation Services and CRCs in the community as well as within secure estates.

Read the TheHorseCourse Evidence Review 2015 here.

See comments from prisoners and staff…

Horses for Youth

Much of our work is in the community with young people and families referred by a range of partners: Childrens Services, Schools, PRUs, Youth Offending Teams, The Children's Society, Action for Children, Children & Adolescent Mental Health Service, Behaviour Support, Troubled Families.

Work is funded both through statutory provision and charitable foundations, including Children in Need and the Monument Trust.

Early results show that TheHorseCourse is very successful in engaging young people and delivering outcomes. We are working on larger studies with the help of Charities Evaluation Services (part of NCVO) and Bournemouth University.

See our Youth Outcomes Summary here.

See comments from students, teachers and mental health/social workers...

Horses in Mental Health

This is an area we are building on, in response to demand from would-be referrers: NHS, private and VSCE. We have ongoing work in youth mental health, but have yet to fully establish our value in adult services. Funding is being sought for pilots in this area.

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

unltd logo shackleton foundation the tudor trust hm prison service j-paul-getty-jnr-2
winston churchill memorial trust triangletrust  parelli the-monument-trust-logo new philanthropy capital
 clinks doyly carte the bernard sunley charitable foundation the childrens society children in need
charities evaluation services bournemouth university Dorset PCC