To begin with Simon was too anxious to touch any of the horses and couldn’t engage with his peers, instead he chose to watch the others work with the horses from a distance.
Over time, knowing he had the space to take himself away for a break if his anxiety got too much, Simon began working with the horses. He formed a powerfully strong bond with one of our horses Princess who herself struggles with anxiety due to past trauma.
*names changed for confidentiality*
Simon started coming to Learning Through Horses at a time of personal crisis. His autism diagnosis made it hard for him to build relationships with others and his anxiety was so debilitating he was barely leaving the house and was experiencing significant physical symptoms of nausea and panic when around other people.
Simon managed to train her to overcome her anxiety in a number of situations. He applied the same learnings to himself and developed a range of successful coping mechanisms to manage his anxiety. The other young people in his school saw his natural rapport with the horses, they started to call him “The Horse Whisperer” and asked him for help at the stables. This allowed Simon the chance to build friendships and to see himself as someone who can take a leadership role and help others.
After 12 months at Learning Through Horses Simon had transformed into a confident young man, he has gone on to college to study animal care and still keeps in touch.