ANNE Brown is well-known in donkey circles. She lives in a rural area of County Down on a smallholding with her herd of 16 donkeys. Anne has over 25 years’ experience working with donkeys and is the Area Representative for the Donkey Breed Society. She also does work for the Donkey Sanctuary in Cork, offering livery and rehabilitation, enabling donkeys to move on to foster homes. Alongside all this, Anne works as a primary school teacher and has 17 years background in education, so she is a very busy lady!
In October 2018, Anne qualified as an Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL) Practitioner at Horse Haven UK in Somerset.
EFL is a fast emerging field in which horses, donkeys and humans work together as guides and facilitators to help and support both children and adults to understand and enhance their life skills, emotions, well-being and increase self-awareness.
There is a wealth of research coming to the fore about the positive impact both horses and donkeys can have on our day to day lives. Horses and donkeys are non-judgmental and only react to the present. They can mirror the participants’ behaviour, physical movements and emotions, which helps the participants to be more aware of themselves.
Horses and donkeys have a heightened awareness, sensing body language and interaction of those around them. Consequently, how horses and donkeys respond to us can provide powerful feedback, emotions and behaviour.
Therefore, Equine Facilitated Learning is a practical based approach for both children and adults that promotes the development of life skills for education, professional and personal goals through Equine-Assisted Activities.
During Equine Facilitated Learning programmes, horses and donkeys are a key tool to gain insight into how we perceive, behave and interact. This insight is highly invaluable for our personal development, mental health and well-being. Furthermore, this approach is particularly beneficial for conditions such as stress, trauma, anxiety, ADHD and PTSD to name a few. By carrying out Equine-Assisted Activities, participants become more confident, solve problems, develop trust and feel a sense of achievement, positively impacting on their self worth and self esteem.
“I did my EFL training with Suzannah Leighton from Horse Haven UK based in Glastonbury. There was no training available to become an Equine Facilitated Learning Practitioner here in Northern Ireland, so that is how I met Suzannah. I then did further training to become a trainer for them, so I could implement the course here,” said Anne.
“I was very fortunate to meet Suzannah and I’m extremely grateful to her for giving me the opportunity to teach the Diploma here. She has taught me so much and has given me the courage to step outside the box and follow my passion with donkeys, helping both adults and children.”
Anne then developed her business ‘Learning In Harmony With Donkeys’ in Saintfield, County Down, where she now runs Equine Facilitated Learning sessions with both children and adults.
In July 2019, Anne successfully completed a ‘Train the Trainer’ course in Somerset and is now licensed by Horse Haven UK as a valued EFL Trainer for the whole of Ireland. There have been hiccups along the way, with covid and lockdowns, but Anne is now up and running with ‘Equine Facilitated Learning Practitioner Trainings’ at Learning In Harmony With Donkeys, in conjunction with Horse Haven UK.
Anne successfully held the first Diploma training programme in Northern Ireland in April, at her donkey farm outside Saintfield, where three people successfully passed and are now qualified Equine Facilitated Learning Practitioners. She looks forward to welcoming new participants for the next training week, scheduled for July 4 to 8, running from 10am to 4pm each day. The Diploma course for July is nearly fully booked, so Anne hopes to hold another week in August, followed by a further course in October.
The EFL Practitioner Trainings provided by Anne follow the methods taught at Horse Haven UK. The course involves five days of hands-on practical work, with volunteer case studies provided for the final assessments. The programme includes theory-based work, with lots of practical experience in order to fulfil your dream in becoming a confident and qualified Equine Facilitated Learning Practitioner.
The course will enable you to set up your own EFL business and obtain the necessary insurance to do so. Mentoring will be available afterwards to help you to get started and move forward – so don’t worry, you won’t be alone!
Students qualifying in Ireland will receive a certificate from Horse Haven UK, 35 hours CPD (continuing professional development) and be invited to join the worldwide group of EFL Practitioners.
The practical work is essential to build confidence and gain a thorough understanding of how EFL works. On receipt of the accredited diploma, participants will be able to join ACCPH (accredited counsellors, coaches, psychotherapists and hypnotherapists).
The Diploma in Equine Facilitated Learning has been approved and accredited by the following bodies: International Animal Care and Education (IAC), Continuing Personal Development (CPD), which carries 35points and ACCPH (Open Accreditation for Counsellors, Coaches, Psychotherapists and Hypnotherapists).
If you love horses, donkeys and enjoy helping people, you might consider becoming a qualified ‘Equine Facilitated Learning Practitioner’. The cost of the course is £1,050 with a deposit of £250 to secure your place. For more information about the EFL course, please go to www.horsehavenuk.co.uk and click on the Diploma link.
For further queries or to book your place on the course, please contact Anne Brown from Learning in Harmony with Donkeys on 07719 270954 or email: email@example.com
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