Back on Track works with schools in Somerset to give children under 16 who are finding main stream school difficult the opportunity to learn to care for and ride horses.
The project has been running for 8 years and has shown how this activity, away from the school environment, encourages and supports the children to achieve goals, improve confidence and team work skills, increase motivation and willingness to learn. The opportunity to build a relationship with a horse without the fear of being judged, and working together as a team, has a positive effect on behaviour and engagement back at school.
Children are identified by their school and put forward to take part in the 10 week scheme. More recently, Back on Track enabled 16 children in Sedgemoor to undertake the programme. Their school reported that they could see the benefit; one child who had difficulty making friends and was suffering isolation showed increased self confidence and found a sense of achievement, and also a love of horse riding. Another pupil, who struggled with communicating with peers and adults, again showed increased confidence and a greater respect for others, and an increased ability to deal with conflict. The valuable life skills the children learn during the programme helps them within school and beyond.
Back on Track was awarded a grant in February 2016 following fundraising throughout 2015 by the Captains of Burnham & Berrow Golf Club. The grant is being used now by Back on Track to expand their work into a school in the area near the Golf Club, and the positive impact of being around horses will increase the pupils' confidence and help them build new skills.