"It's different with a horse": horses as a tool for engagement in a horse therapy program for marginalised young people

Catherine Waite, Lisa Bourke

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12 Citations (Scopus)


The social, emotional, psychological and mental health needs of young people are highlighted in the social agendas of many western countries. While a range of youth programs have been developed, there are pervasive difficulties in achieving young people's sustained attention and positive participation in these programs (Santisteban et al. 1996; Slesnick et al. 2000; Stanton 2004; Szapocznick et al. 1988; Tanner et al. 2012). This research analysed some of the ways in which an innovative program using horses engaged marginalised young people in its first session. A total of 49 participants and significant others were interviewed about their experience of the program. Key themes were identified, namely the power of the horse, non-verbal relationships and non-judgemental relationships, which have been found in other studies (Burgon 2011; Frewin & Gardiner 2005; Karol 2007; Schultz, Remick-Barlow & Robbins 2007). Here, these three themes were observed as being associated with engaging young people in the initial stage of this program. This study implies that horses can be effective in efficiently engaging young clients during the initial stages of a program.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-24
Number of pages10
JournalYouth Studies Australia
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes

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