Frequently Asked Questions
Where are you located?
Originally based in Portsmouth, on the South Coast of the UK, we partner with local equestrian centres in a range of locations to provide venue hire with an indoor arena, meeting space, facilities & catering.
We're continuously expanding our offering, which means wherever you are, if we don't already operate in your area, we'll certainly look into doing so - contact us to find out about current location options that work for you.
If location is totally prohibitive (or horses just really aren't your thing but you like what we stand for!) we also offer online coaching for personal & leadership development, as well as consulting for performance management and employee engagement.
Click here for more information.
Do I need experience with horses to take part in EFL?
Not at all - the sessions can be taken at your own pace, & you’ll never have to do anything you don’t feel comfortable with - we want you to enjoy yourself! In every session, there will be a horse handler to introduce the horses, explain how to approach them, interact with them, lead them & so on - and they’ll be right behind you to step in if needed. These sessions are ground-based, so no riding experience is required either. Some people even use EFL to cure their fear of horses!
What does EFL stand for?
Equine Facilitated Learning. This experience is a practical, hands-on method of coaching where in fact the horse is the one you’re learning from. The facilitator designs & runs the workshop (which can include ‘classroom-based’ activities, as well as the session with the horses), but what you’ll learn about yourself during the work with the horse, is really a reflection from the horse himself, based on how he responds to you. Remember - horses are genuine, non-judgemental animals - sometimes they won’t do what you want or expect (but that’s where the magic happens!)
How does an EFL session work?
All EFL packages are bespoke, and can include a combination of coaching and/or workshop activities in the 'classroom' before we get to work with the horses. There will be time to observe the horses in their herd, as well as meet & greet them before doing any work with them, so you have time to familiarise yourself with no pressure at all.
Within a typical EFL session, you’ll be leading the horse around a course of obstacles or metaphorical ‘challenges’ in the arena - either using a rope, or simply your non-verbal communication (depending on group size & experience). The aim is to take the horse around the course by engaging with it as a partner, rather than driving it like a car - although you’re leading the way, the horse is really your guide (a bit like Yoda!)
(In groups, up to 6 people might be taking a horse around the course at one time - so there's no sitting about waiting - for groups of more than 6, concurrent sessions may be run with more than 1 horse)
Find out more about EFL sessions here
Who & what is Equine Facilitated Learning for?
EFL is great for everyone, for all sorts of reasons - it's commonly used in therapeutic & social work settings too to help people with their mental health, relationship counselling & so much more.
Recent studies have shown incredible evidence that EFL supports development of crucial skills required to succeed in our careers, including leadership skills, communication & empathy to name but a few. It's also great fun & an unusual team building activity!
Sessions & courses can be designed to suit specific objectives, such as leadership skills development, confidence, communication, team-building, decision-making, mindfulness (the list really is endless). For this reason it works great for corporate team activities as well as personal & professional development for individuals.
Group Workshops & Private Sessions are created bespoke for each enquiry & tailored to the needs of that group or individual - so you can book these as an employer for your staff or a member of your team, or individually for personal reasons.
Scheduled workshops are created with a specific ‘theme’ or topic in mind, & will be run sporadically throughout the year, based on availability. Look out for upcoming workshops that match your personal requirements - typical topics will be things like leadership skills, confidence, & burnout. These will be group workshops where you can book a place to join.
Check out the options & book yours here
What kind of horses do you use?
The reason horses are so perfect to help us with this work is that they’re very grounded, sensitive, intuitive animals - so all of the horses we choose to work with are calm, friendly & well-socialised. There’s no height restriction (one group might use a 3’ shetland & the next might use a 6’ cart horse!) & we work with male & female horses of all ages. Some might be youngsters who haven’t been ridden before, others might be retired riding school masters & there could be anything in between (depending on location & availability)!
What we look for in a suitable horse for EFL is temperament - safety is paramount, so all horses are assessed prior to use & we’ll never use a horse known to bite, kick or be ‘fizzy’. Many EFL participants are complete beginners when it comes to horses, and we want you to feel 100% safe & confident.
What should I wear to my EFL session?
We recommend comfortable clothing (including sensible footwear - flat shoes only!) for an EFL session. There is no strenuous or fast activity involved, but you must be able to reach up, bend down & walk easily - and there may be a bit of mud!
Is EFL weather dependent?
Generally, no. In most cases, the arena for the EFL session will be indoors (this will be discussed & agreed at point of booking based on location, preference & availability) but there may be some time spent outdoors when observing & meeting the horses, as well as walking to/from the field & arena - so for your comfort, please dress accordingly!
What about COVID-19?
We will always operate within government guidelines & restrictions, and we're also sensitive to our clients preferences. That means, if you want to experience a workshop with social distancing in place & wearing face masks (even when it's not a legal requirement), we'll do that - we want you to be comfortable so you can enjoy the day!
Often (for full day workshops) we'll make use of a classroom-type space as a base, as well as the well-ventilated indoor (or outdoor) arena or paddocks, but we can adapt the session to hold the entire experience outside, as needed.
Health comes first - so when it comes to cancellations, if you need to cancel at short notice due to a change in restrictions, needing to self-isolate or feeling unwell yourself, we'll hold your deposit for an event on another day (we can't guarantee the venue hire costs will be protected at all venues, but will do our best in all cases. A specific cancellation policy for your event will be agreed at time of booking)