Providing youth at-risk with the opportunity to ride a horse, and giving our horses the chance to change lives.
We provide a program that not only introduces our riders to the basics of horsemanship and riding skills, but also creates a space where communication skills, sense of self and self-esteem have the opportunity to develop and grow. We serve youth who are involved with child protection services, youth struggling with addictions, and LGBTQ+ youth. While our participating youth come from diverse backgrounds and experiences, they are similarly struggling emotionally and behaviourally and are considered at-risk.
Our riders attend weekly riding lessons and are matched with their own horse and volunteer for the duration of each 10-week session. Working with their volunteer, and under the direct supervision of a riding instructor and professional counsellor, our riders are responsible for the grooming and tacking of their horse, before participating in a 30 or 60-minute riding lesson. Following the lesson, volunteers, riders and instructors come together for the weekly ‘debrief’ session, and together discuss both the challenges and accomplishments they have experienced with their horse this week. This is also a time where the participants have space to process their feelings and behaviours while receiving positive feedback from their peers, volunteers and program staff.
Through interacting with their horse, participants are able to develop life skills, build confidence, and gain insight into their own issues and challenges. The goal for YRP is to create an experience where each participant feels successful, empowered and connected to their horse.