Our Horse First Approach

At Equine Learning CIC we believe that our horses are just as important a part of our team as our people. They carry us, not only on their backs, but also towards our goals and dreams. Horse riding and horsemanship are activities like no other, where we are asking a large prey animal to trust and work with us - their natural predators. We ask all of our participants to come along with a horse-centred approach, with the expectation that learning good horsemanship is challenging and requires, effort, concentration and dedication. Our participant expectations need to be that the horses and ponies have something to teach us, and if the horses don’t always behave how the participant wants this isn’t because they are ‘bad horses’ or ‘naughty’ – they are just being horses. When we are learning, horses may not understand what we are asking of them and their response is a learning opportunity. To learn and ride with us you need to make a commitment to put the HORSE FIRST:

Happy to ride – learning horsemanship and riding is a privilege, not an entitlement. Please appreciate the horse who kindly lets you ride on their back or work with them on the ground.

Opportunity to learn – each horse and pony has a different lesson to teach you about riding or horsemanship, please take the opportunity to learn from all of the horses.

Respect – Please make the decision to ride and work with the horse and ponies kindly and without causing abuse or pain. Please don‘t be offended if we ask you not to do something for the welfare of the horse.

Simplicity – we start with the basics, we want you to learn the basics really well before progressing as we believe that this is the foundation of good riding and horsemanship. Please be patient and don’t ask to canter before you can walk!

Empathy – horses are live, sentient animals with their own thoughts and feelings, please consider their feelings in all that you do when working on the ground or riding.


Follow instructions – your coach is there to guide you and help you learn horsemanship skills, please agree to follow their advice and instructions at all times.

Intention – please arrive with the desire to learn and commit to working with the horses to achieve your goals. Learning good horsemanship can be challenging -  do not expect the horses to do all of the hard work for you!

Rapport – understand that it may take time to build a good friendship / relationship with each horse or pony.

Safety– take responsibility for yourself and the horse you are riding or working with. Take part in all horsemanship activities with the safety of everyone participating in mind at all times

Trust – your horse / pony needs to trust you and needs you to trust them, this can only be achieved through kindness and clear communication. Be prepared that these skills take time and dedication to build.