Our programs focus on children who need a helping hand. We give everything to enlarge their world and to improve their self-confidence. Besides this, we do a lot of research into our programs behind the scenes. This way, we can monitor the effects of the programs and we can improve continuously the programs. We evaluate the Work like a Horse programs with participating schools and organizations regularly. The results of these evaluations are used to further improve the Work like a Horse programs.
At this moment, the most research takes place in the after school program. Each year, the children participate in two tests. One at the start of the school year and the same test at the end of the school year. A test on knowledge of profession and a study of the competence experience of the children. We compare the results to find out what we can improve and how the experience of the world changes for these children. Besides this, individual observations of tutors and teachers are important and we ask children to rate each lesson and excursion. These results give us an insight into the quality of our program so that we can change and improve our programs if needed.
Since we work with horses in some of our programs, especially in Work like a Horse Special Education, we are interested in independent scientific research into the effects of activities and therapy with horses. At this moment, only a limited amount of scientific research is published and available on this subject. Therefore, we try to stimulate discussion about the necessity of this kind of research and to stimulate parties to take this research to the next level. The scientific research into the effects of therapy with horses is not only used to improve our projects. It can also lead to e.g. certification of organizations that offer this kind of therapy or to reimbursement of therapy costs by insurance companies.
To raise awareness for the necessity of research, we have organized two congresses with our partners CHIO Rotterdam and LBP Group International. The first congress was in 2016. During this congress, we talked about the effects of therapy with the use of horses for children with autism or with a neurological disorder. National experts shared their knowledge here. A few years later, in 2019, our second and more international congress took place as a side-event of the European Championships Jumping, Dressage and Para-Dressage in Rotterdam.
“I learned to be brave.”
(participant After School program, 10 years old)