Core Program

“[I learned] that if you breathe and enjoy the moment, you can recognize and accept your thoughts.” – Group 10 Participant

Building Internal Resilience Through Horses was developed as an innovative trauma- and violence-informed resilience program, offered to young women (aged 13 – 18 years) from Peterborough and surrounding areas, who had experienced or witnessed violence in their home, or experienced intimate partner violence in dating relationships.

The core program curriculum included eight weekly two hour EAL sessions, book-ended by expressive art sessions. Three additional expressive arts booster sessions were delivered as wellness check-ins at different periods following the completion of the core program (1-month, 6-month, and 12-month). The expressive arts sessions were based on regular programming offered by Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre, used to provide trauma-informed psychoeducation and facilitate alternative forms of self-expression.

All sessions were delivered in small groups (ideal size 5-8 participants per group), with no previous horse experience required. Between Spring 2017 and Fall 2019, the program was delivered to 12 groups of 83 young women.

cover of manual

Download the Building Internal Resilience Through Horses manual – a free community resource and guide for therapists, social workers, and equine program facilitators offering skills-based equine-assisted learning.