Horse Power

The Greatwood charity provides real world experiences for young people through their interaction with rescued former racehorses. Horse Power was developed by Greatwood and is an innovative and highly original programme helping young people develop soft skills such as teamwork, co-operation and empathy through working with horses. The programme welcomes students from both urban and rural settings and provides opportunities for young people to practise and develop skills of a practical nature that will support them as they enter the world of work.

history Campaign has now closed

It ran from 2:30 PM, 23 June 2015 to 2:30 PM, 23 June 2015

Registered Charity in England and Wales (1117322)





  • Education/Training/EmploymentEducation/Training/Employment


  • Children (3-18)Children (3-18)
  • Young People (18-30)Young People (18-30)



Greatwood developed the Horse Power programme in 2006 and from our Marlborough base currently reaches 300 students per year many of whom have difficulties in accessing a conventional curriculum. The programme is now going nationwide through a series of partnerships with Independent Schools. Partner schools will run the Horse Power programme and access training and support from Greatwood. Each partner school will act as a hub in their Local Education Authority area. Horse Power works with young people who have poorly developed emotional literacy levels or a deficit of “soft skills”. Pupils may have recognised special needs such as autism, complex learning difficulties or social, emotional and behavioural difficulties or they may be referred from schools with no clearly identifiable special need. The common need in all the young people who attend the programme is the inability to communicate effectively, to work as a team member, to solve problems or to show empathy. Many of our young people no longer attend school regularly and have become disengaged from conventional learning. Past academic failure has led to a lack of confidence in the learning process and a deficit in the social skills vital when entering the world of work. We aim to be inclusive as our students come with a wide variety of life experiences, which have included the care system, inconsistent parenting, drug and alcohol abuse and domestic violence. Some of our young people have been school phobics and attending Horse Power has been the only social activity that they have undertaken that has been able to prepare them for life beyond school. Our target group are those young people at risk of social exclusion, who may be unable to access work or college placements because they lack the essential social skills needed to function as part of a team. Horse Power seeks to develop these skills by giving young people real life practical activities using our rescued horses. The fact that we believe strongly in second chances for our horses has a resonance for many of the young people attending Horse Power. Students are given opportunities to perform practical tasks involving teamwork, motivating a team, solving practical problems, giving and accepting praise and reading body language. We saw the need to develop a formal qualification for the students attending Horse Power so developed a course entitled “Developing confidence through working with animals” accredited by The Open College Network. For many this has been the starting point for entry to studying animal husbandry at college.