Michele Lawrence founded Healing through Horses in 2018, with a small herd of retired and rescue ponies. With a lifelong experience of riding and owning horses, it was during a difficult time in Michele’s life, that she began to understand the powerful, healing nature of horses and how in tune they were with our emotions and vulnerabilities.
With a strong desire to learn more about how working with horses could support emotional wellbeing and personal development, Michele was drawn to the emerging field of equine facilitated learning, where she qualified as an EFL Practitioner with LEAP Equine.
Michele has furthered her practice working with vulnerable children at Jamie’s Farm charity, suffering from mental health issues, anxiety, depression, addiction, ADHD, PTSD, self-harm and autism and also works closely with TLC – a charity supporting women and children fleeing domestic abuse.
The Covid 19 pandemic has only accentuated the need for this work, with more people reaching out for support than ever before. The positive outcomes of our programs have been recognized and we are delighted to have received funding from ICAP Charity Day, through The Link Cafe - a donation, which has helped us to continue with this much-needed work. post-pandemic, for vulnerable adults and children.
What We Do
We often get asked ‘what exactly is Equine Facilitated Learning?’ And how does it work?
In very basic terms, it is the practice of facilitating a connection between horse and human - supporting people to become better in tune with their emotions, strengths, and weaknesses, whilst partnering with horses to develop emotionally and spiritually.
At Healing through Horses, we offer experiential programs, promoting life skills and emotional health through gentle, reflective equine-assisted activities. Working with large, powerful animals can help a client to build confidence, self-esteem and help set clear boundaries.
Clients participate in activities, where horses offer invaluable feedback about their emotional state and wellbeing. The role of the Facilitator is to observe what is happening at that moment, respond and sensitively feed this back to the client. Sometimes, horses may lick and chew after a session – this may be because a client is beginning to acknowledge a personal truth or release tension in their body.
How We Work
We work one-to-one and in small groups with adults and children. Our horses live outdoors and roam naturally - free from domestication, limitations, roles and expectations.
Connecting with horses and nature lowers high energy levels and anxiety, as well as soothing and calming the mind. Sessions offer mindful walking, gentle breathing exercises, noticing the horses in that moment and the sounds of nature all around.
We recommend a course of 6-8 sessions, although this time can be adapted for longer-term work.
It is important to note, that Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL) is not counselling, psychotherapy or therapy, but it is therapeutic in nature and can be safely undertaken alongside other forms of therapy and healing with a therapist's consent.
KEY Benefits of Equine Facilitated Learning
- A safe, supportive and confidential space to explore feelings
- Less intense than traditional room-based therapies
- Increased self-belief and confidence
- Stronger connection to body and emotions
- Learning to protect personal space
- Boundary setting skills
- Increased positivity and motivation in all areas of life
- Outdoor learning in nature
EFL is particularly helpful to those who have difficulty trusting others and find talking, on its own, particularly challenging.
“Taking part in sessions with Michele and the horses has helped me so much! Spending time with these calm, kind and gentle animals has provided me with much-needed space, enabling me to find out more about myself and what I need for me. The sessions have taught me how being outside in nature helps calm me down- just me, the gentle neighing of the horses and the bird song! Here, I know I am safe and listened to without judgement. I suffer from anxiety and night terrors.
After only one afternoon with the horses, I had the best night's sleep I’ve had in many years. I can’t thank you enough Healing Through Horses for your support in helping my family to move on and experience deep calm and positivity”
Zaina - Survivor of domestic abuse and key volunteer at TLC
Adults and children
EFL session - 1 to 1 - £120
A course of 6 x sessions is recommended
We also offer non-ridden ‘Outdoor Learning Pony Camps’ – which include learning about horses/horsemanship skills / horse-painting/crafts during the school holidays.