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

“TheHorseCourse exemplifies the right attitude and

approach towards collecting and analysing data in

order to test and demonstrate impact, as well as

develop practice responsively.”

James Noble, New Philanthropy Capital



We are extremely research-friendly. Please get in touch if you are a researcher connected with an academic institution looking for an interesting project.


Papers and Studies

CallToAction THC 2017 150

Call to Action 2017

BU and others are calling for funding for an RCT (randomised controlled trial) or other large scale controlled evaluation. This is in response to BU analysis of the follow-up data on 126 participants from external professionals - the outstanding results, on top of all the previous evidence of effectiveness, have led to this call.

81% of participants shifted in a positive direction across 8 inter-related core skills

the average positive shift seen using a scale 0–32 was +10.4 points for those that improved.

Statistically significant positive results (p<0.001) were found in each of the 8 dimensions of TheHorseCourse Skills Star, see THC Star online. A large standardised effect size (d=1.1) was found for the summed scores of the 8 dimensions.

view 1pp PDF

Evaluation to date 2016 1 

Summary: Evidence to date 2016

A summary of all the evaluation studies on our work and a snapshot of how the ReStart works.
Full copies of most of the studies are linked below.

view 9pp pdf


TheHorseCourse Youth Outcomes Summary, 2015

33% average improvement in managing anxiety
29% average gain across eight core skills: Engagement, Calmness, Assertiveness, Focus & Perseverance, Empathy, Realistic Planning, Communication, Responsibility
85% of participants increased attendance/engagement with education
80% of referrers attribute improvements to TheHorseCourse, (55% strongly)

Produced with support from Charities Evaluation Services (part of NCVO).
view 6pp PDF


TheHorseCourse Evidence Review, working with Offenders 2015

Including Theory of Change and Contribution Analysis

27 % points reduction in reoffending

£8.30 return per £1 spent in prisons

Written in collaboration with New Philanthropy Capital (NPC) & CLINKS. Peer reviewed by the Correctional Services Accreditation & Advisory Panel (CSAAP), Ministry of Justice.
view 56pp PDF

edp cover

Moving Forward in Recovery
Pilot Summer/Autumn 2015

55% of participants shifted from disengaged/not progressing in treatment to attending and progressing. They attribute this change to the course.
On average they also made a 12% improvement on the 8 skills taught by TheHorseCourse.

Produced by EDP Drug & Alcohol Services (main service provider in the Southwest, UK)

view 26pp report


Interim Evaluation Report, 2012

written by Dr Rosie Meek, Head of Criminology, Royal Holloway University

Includes Update 2015

view 21pp PDF


Dissertation by Rachel Natasha Thomas, BSc Applied Social Sciences (Criminology) 2013.

A careful analysis of exit interviews of prisoner participants.

view 63pp PDF

Referral / Outcomes / Feedback Star

TheHorseCourse Star

TheHorseCourse Star shows the eight areas we work on directly during the course. It is marked up as part of the referral process, later as the basis for discussion of outcomes together with the participant and finally as part of the feedback to referrers. View PDF.

UK Prison-oriented people may be interested in the correlation between the star points and the identified needs in OASys (Offender Assessment System). This version of the star shows the roughly corresponding sections. View PDF.

  • 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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