Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL) involves non-ridden ground work exercises, to build a relationship with the pony, and improve confidence and self-esteem in the participant. 

What is EFL?

These therapeutic sessions offer a cycle of instruction, response and feedback which enables the participant to communicate with the pony in a way that the pony understands, through body language, energy and movement.

Horses and ponies are prey animals and they have a need to feel safe and seek partnership and leadership. In addition, they are highly aware of their surroundings and very much 'in the moment'. Through building a trusting relationship, where a pony will willingly follow instruction, the participant learns horsemanship skills, receives instant feedback and gains confidence through achieving the desired response. Working with a pony who is happy to build this partnership is hugely rewarding and empowering for anyone, but especially for those who can benefit from confidence and relationship building activities.

We hope every participant will enjoy the experience of being in the presence of our wonderful therapy ponies and will be open minded to what our ponies can teach them about themselves. 

What’s involved in an EFL Session?

You will be welcomed by our qualified EFL Coaches who will introduce themselves and the pony/ponies you will be with. To keep everyone safe they will explain the ground rules around the ponies. They will then introduce the aims of EFL and you will be asked to choose an expectation or expectations you would like to explore. Remember in EFL there are no right or wrong answers. For our insurance policy you will be asked to wear a riding helmet which we will supply. Please note all the EFL sessions are unmounted.

DID YOU KNOW? Oxytocin levels, also known as the bonding hormone, increase during interactions between humans and animals. This triggers an increase of trust towards others, lowers fear and anxiety, improves pain management, enhances learning and empathy towards self and others.

Who EFL can benefit?

EFL can help anyone and everyone, it uses interaction with our ponies to focus and improve life skills. It can help with stress reduction, self-awareness, confidence, boundaries, self-esteem, work/life balance, team building and relationships.

Our ponies enjoy life, taking it minute by minute, only thinking about ‘the now’, ‘the present’. By interacting and observing their behaviour towards us, and others, they can teach us valuable skills to have a healthier, happier internal mindset, that clears and free’s up our emotional and physical capacity to be ‘present’ in what we are doing, which in turn enhances our quality of life.

Who are the EFL coaches?

We are lucky to have three qualified EFL Coaches, who are also qualified Coaches of our Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) clients too. They are Pippa Adam, Sue King and Ian Duncan.

Where does it all take place?

EFL Sessions take place at The Gordon Group RDA Centre at Tweeddale, Keithhall Estate, Inverurie Aberdeenshire, AB51 0LU

What do I need to bring?

Please just come with an open mind, that’s all.

When do the EFL Sessions take place?

At present our EFL Sessions take place on Fridays

What do I need to wear?

All sessions take place in our indoor school, however it isn’t heated so can be quite cool especially in the winter months the advice is to wear warm layers with boots or walking shoes.

What does it cost?

We recommend a block of six sessions, (one a week for six weeks), whichare paid in advance. Each session is £25 and lasts approximately 1 hour. Totalcost for six weeks is £150. This may be paid by a bank transfer or by a creditor debit card on arrival.

How is the money from EFL sessions used?

Gordon Group RDA is a completely self-funded registered charity and money from these sessions goes towards on-going running costs and improvements so we can help even more adults and children, who are physically or mentally challenged or both, enjoy horse-riding and interacting with our ponies.

How can EFL sessions be booked?

Please call our EFL coaches on 0790 709 0825 to answer any further questions or email: eflattweeddale@gmail.com

Please complete the EFL Participant Application Form and return it to: eflattweeddale@gmail.com

We look forward to welcoming you to Tweeddale.

Get in touch with GRDA

If you would like to volunteer, participate or get involved with the RDA please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Gordon RDA
Keithhall Estate
AB51 0LU
admin@gordonrda.org0751 080 3636
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