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Animal Assisted Learning is a guided approach which offers students a safe and scaffolded experience with animals. The purpose of animal assisted learning at Carbrook Centre is to develop specific student wellbeing and educational outcomes. This is a non-therapy-based approach. At Carbrook Centre, the animal assisted learning program is developed and guided by animal experts, qualified teachers, and counsellors.

We have several animals including chickens, a pig, horses and a miniature pony. Our resident dogs (Benny, Sonny and Freddy) take turns being on site too. These animals allow our students opportunities to learn about animal behaviours and also how to respond and care for our animals.

Our popular horse program involves horse handling/horsemanship and also allows our students the opportunity to develop and grow in the sport of equestrian vaulting.


Learning with Horses

The special bond between horses and humans have been well documented. Working with horses can offer unique experiences for students who have difficulties connecting with and trusting others. The unique qualities of horses provide the following learning opportunities:

1. Horses are big and powerful. It is very challenging to force a horse to do something it is doesn’t want to do. Natural horsemanship teaches students skills to effectively lead and communicate with the horse.

2. Horses look for a leader. The horse will recognise the student as the leader if they can lead with kindness, firmness and confidence. 


3. Horses are a herd animal. Working with horses teaches students the important qualities about group (herd) behaviour. These observations can help students understand how the actions of individuals impact the group.


4. Horses are fun. Working with horses is often attractive to young people and assists them seeking fun and adventure in healthy ways.


5. Horses require hard work. From picking up manure to carrying buckets of water, horses require a lot of hard work. You can’t expect to have the fun without the work.


6. Horses relate on a personal level. Like many animals, horses have distinctive personalities which are easily matched to individuals. Matches may be like with like, or opposites attract!

Ground Skills

Groundwork with horses consists of exercises that you do with your horse while you stay on the ground and lead the horse on a (rope) halter, cavesson or neckrope and a long lead rope.

More details on the importance of Ground Skills coming soon.


Equestrian Vaulting

Vaulting is a sport which combines the skills of gymnastics, dance and horsemanship. It is the safest of the equestrian sports and is performed on horseback whilst the horse is being lunged in a round yard. Vaulting can be performed individually or in teams. Vaulting provides the foundation for the correct rider's seat, balance, rhythm and coordination as well as confidence in working with horses. Vaulting is often a prerequisite of riding. Our equestrian vaulting program is facilitated by a qualified Equestrian Australia coach.

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