Jacob's Den Equine LearningBack to Activities
Jacob's Den is a new not-for-profit organisation that aims to Develop, Enhance and Nurture wellbeing through horses for children, young people and also those with additional needs or mental health challenges in our community.
We follow HETI guidelines for the welfare of all our horses and most of our horses originally came to us from welfare organisations or have been donated to us from homes where they could no longer be cared for.
Our Centre is run by Val Atkin and our volunteers. Val has been a SEND and also mainstream teacher for 30 years. Val has owned horses for over 40 years, has trained with the RDA and is a qualified UKCC Pony Club Coach.
All our sessions are non-riding and no experience is necessary. We already run HAF activities for SEND children in the school holidays and we can now open our gates to others in our community. We offer bespoke individual, family and group activities at a variety of times at Jacob’s Den but work in partnership with the horses in groundwork activities, grooming, leading, feeding as well as particular tasks eg designing and creating obstacle courses to work through etc.
The main aim however of what we do is to encourage people to discover more about themselves, develop new ways of thinking and change any negative behaviours. Horses are naturally gentle and calm creatures, and are able to mirror and respond to human behaviour, meaning that they are highly effective at interacting and working with others in a patient and non-judgemental manner. Working with horses in the way that we do doesn’t just result in psychological benefits - it has physical benefits too.
This is good for wellbeing because
- It has been found to reduce people’s blood pressure and heart rate, and help to calm physical symptoms of conditions such as anxiety and stress.
- It supports biophilia as we are set in a tranquil rural area with woods, lakes and fields. Research suggests that biophilia can have a positive impact on well-being by affecting three of our mind-body systems: physiological (eg. it reduces anxiety), psychological (eg. it reduces anger and fear) and cognitive functions (eg. it improves creativity and boosts mood).
- It brings people together
The horses and staff are all fantastic this has helped my daughters mental health no end and I can’t thank Val enough for her dedication to the HAF programme. Would strongly advise booking for a thoroughly enjoyable experience with outdoor scavenger hunts, den building, dream catchers and horse related activities also lunch was included. Thank you to all the team.