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Youth in
Equine-Assisted Therapy

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With the project we develop the valuable role of youth in equine-assisted therapy practices. Together with our partners we created the YEAT Guidelines. The Guidelines is designed to serve beneficiaries of therapies, young professionals, organizations, and newcomers to equine-assisted therapy.

The project Youth in Equine-Assisted Therapy /YEAT/ aims to gather organizations from different sectors and embark upon together a journey to better the quality of the work, activities and practices of the entities in the field of YEAT across the partner countries – Bulgaria, France, Belgium, the European Union and internationally. The project will advance the capacity of the participating organizations, build bridges between different sectors, address common needs and priorities in YEAT, create and spread innovative approaches in YEAT, serve children and young people with disabilities.

 

To reach our goals we have formed a partnership with Association For You /Bulgaria/, Quality Education for Sustainable Social Transformation /QUEST/ (former Brussels Outdoor School) /Belgium/, Luck 33/France/, and Creativi108 /Italy/.

 

The first partners' meeting took place in January 2022 near the beautiful Lanton, France, hosted by our partner Luck33. It gathered representatives of each partner organizations. We spend a couple of days getting to know each other, working hard on the project and exploring the local culture. Within the project a learning exchange event is organized in May 2022. The cooperation between the partners will result in the production of a YEAT Guidelines - a useful tool for everyone who is professionally involved in YEAT or just wants to learn more about it. That required planning and developing strategies by the partners that took place during the meeting.

 

In one of our coffee breaks we had a traditional French dessert that we all enjoyed. In the free time we toured part of the Arcachon Bay, saw real oyster farms, and visited the The Great Dune of Pilat - Europe's tallest sand dune. Part of our work on the project requires working with equine centers. We visited a local equine center where everyone was able to learn on field more about horses, equine care, training and communication.

 

Paint and Quarter Horse Foundation is the only entity in the partnership professionally involved with horses. Thanks to the preparatory work we did and the first project meeting all other partners now know more about equine-assisted therapy and start exploring its potential in the youth sector. 

 

This May we had a Learning Exchange Activity 

 

The 5 day event gathered diverse participants from Bulgaria, France, and Belgium in the beautiful village of Chavdar, Bulgaria. We and the staff members of our partner organizations were excited to welcome young and experienced professionals of equine-assisted therapy, youth workers, young people with special needs, and their kind accompanying persons. The first days we dedicated to getting to know each other, visiting cultural places, and working on topics of equine-assisted therapy from the point of view of each group of participants. It was followed by two days at the horse ranch where our organization provides equine-assisted therapy sessions. The on-field work was exciting and gave a chance to everyone for close contact with the horses. The young people in the group received their first equine-assisted therapy sessions by the different professionals from Bulgaria, France, and Belgium. All activities gave us a chance to reflect on different practices and apply some of them. The last day we dedicated to evaluate our experience and receive valuable feedbacks from each of our participants. One example of the remarkable results participants achieved was a new concept for a project by Association For You involving the young people with special needs and the equine professional from Bulgaria.

During the summer of 2022 Creativi108, an Italian non-profit organization, joined enthusiastically our project. 

In September 2022 we held our second YEAT Project meeting. It was a real pleasure to meet the partners from each organization and dive into the project together for two full days. The meeting was organized by our partners from the Brussels Outdoor School. The first day we managed to get acquainted with our new partner Creativi108, Italy and new staff members of the other organizations. A recap of the entire project was made and great stories shared about the Learning Exchange Activity we held in May 2022 in Bulgaria. The second day we moved on to the work on our Project Result – the Youth in Equine-Assisted Therapy Guidelines. The Guidelines will be a useful tool for variety of people interested in the subject. It will feature tips, recommendations, stories, data and other information. It will be available in 2023 for free on the websites of all our partners. Of course, time was dedicated for everyone to explore the beautiful city of Brussels following the recommendations of our hosts.

The information we collected during the Learning Exchange Activity from that diverse group is reflected in the Youth in Equine-Assisted Therapy Guidelines that is available since January 2023. The YEAT Guidelines aims to serve the youth community encouraging it to benefit more and more efficiently from equine-assisted therapy. It contains practical information such as what are the benefits of equine-assisted therapy, type of practices, and methods. The Guidelines offers success stories from the project for illustration of the application of the therapy. 

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In May 2023 we held our third and final YEAT Project meeting. The partners sprent three days discussiong the YEAT project and how to sustain it. The meeting was organized by Paint and Quarter Horse Foundation Bulgaria. We reviewed the details of the project, went over the acomplishments we reached and the challenges we faced during the 20 months of the project. We spent a day at the horse ranch surrouned by the therapy horses. We had the chance to once again experience ourselved their great therapeutic power. The meeting was the final international event of the project but we know that we will meet again with our great colleagues and friends.