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Patrons: Martin Clunes and Lord Knight of Weymouth Registered Charity No. 1141654/1170553

Job Opportunities

Please go to our Training page for more on how to train with us and current job opportunities.


As an essential service recognised by our local authority, we have stayed open throughout the pandemic (including during lockdowns) to support those in greatest need. Our professional referrers from Social Care, NHS and local schools are fantastic partners, working with us to triage and support families and individuals – thank you all, it is a privilege to work alongside you as always. 

Our site is currently functioning close to normal capacity, with COVID mitigation in place.


TheHorseCourse is a leader in well-evidenced high impact equine-assisted interventions. Having proven our work in prisons, we have established a busy community-based HQ in Weymouth, Dorset, UK. Employing 6 facilitators and 14 horses, we work with young people from 8yrs old, families and adults. In Dorset we help at least 500 extremely troubled people each year, and we do not charge the participants – our funding comes from a mix of commissioning and charitable grants/donations. We also provide Alternative Provision for young people out of education, accredited qualifications (in partnership with Weymouth College), and supported volunteering through our Working Wellies project.

We train and assess others to replicate our programmes and we work hard to support them in setting up their own centres around the UK. Independent centres running our programmes are becoming increasingly busy and more are opening. We monitor their impact data to ensure they are as effective as we are, and provide ongoing support and training.

We hold an Animal Activity Licence from Dorset Council, No: WPRE0002 (licence holder is Harriet Laurie). We also maintain Social Farms & Gardens Code of Practice compliance.

TheHorseCourse ReStart

Participants are 8yrs to adult, by referral only from Schools & PRUs, Social Care, NHS Mental Health Services, Troubled Families, Offender Services and other specialist agencies.

Our ReStart participants have serious struggles – typically more than four from the list below.  And they are referred because they are ‘stuck’ or disengaged from talk-based support. We teach, rehearse and repeat key resilience and relationship skills in an intensive and challenging, but fun, 5 day programme with feedback in-the-moment from specially trained horses and 1-to-1 facilitator support.

  • anxiety diagnosis
  • ADHD
  • ASD
  • not attending school (training, work)
  • relationship difficulties
  • mood swings/impulsivity
  • highly disengaged
  • self harming
  • suicidal
  • bullying, aggression, anger management issues
  • being bullied
  • risk taking behaviour
  • drug & alcohol misuse
  • eating disorder
  • offending
  • domestic violence
  • neglect / abuse
  • difficult family dynamics
  • parents with mental health problems, offending or D&A
  • living in care, leaving care or at risk of going into care
  • from area of high deprivation
  • homeless
  • wounded in service

Lighter Touch options

In addition to the intensive ReStart we offer Lighter Touch options such as top ups, tailored sessions and group work - different ways to help people at a lower level of need or to provide longer term support after a ReStart course. We also run "Working Wellies", our supported volunteering programme for ex-participants, based around horticulture, land and yard care – which keeps our site clean and lovely and our horses happy and healthy, whilst providing a safe and friendly place to learn and socialise.

To refer

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for referral and consent forms.

Non-verbals Toolbox

We offer frontline professionals and the public a 2 hour training in our specialism - reading and responding to non-verbal behaviour. A game-changer with difficult emotions or behaviours and a briliant way to work on better family dynamics.

See Eventbrite to check dates and book a course. Additional training options are also on Eventbrite.


We are held up as an exemplar in our approach to evidencing the outcomes of our work (see evidence).

A report published by NPC & CLINKS and peer reviewed by CSAAP (the academic panel at the Ministry of Justice) showed a 27 % point reduction in reoffending (where 10% is large).

Studies by Bournemouth University show long term shifts in behaviour, over 70% of ReStart participants:
  • are less anxious (with a 33% average improvement)
  • have reduced problem behaviours
  • improved attendance/engagement at school, training or work
  • improved relationships with peers, families and professionals
  • increased self belief and hope


  • Creative England/Wellcome Trust/NHS Create Open Health 2019
  • Royal College of Psychiarty Annual General Conference (2 prizes) 2018
  • FSI Small Charity BIG Impact, Regional Section Winner 2017
  • Dorset County Council Innovation Award 2016
  • School for Social Entrepreneurs Fellowship 2016
  • BIG Lottery Peoples Project 2016
  • Shortlisted for the Guardian Small Charity Awards 2015
  • Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship 2013
  • Shackleton Award 2011
  • 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

  • It's great to see an intervention where there is such good evidence of effectiveness.

    Helen Price, Lead Commissioner for Families, Gloucestershire County Council

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