TheHorseCourse Restart Programme

TheHorseCourse Restart Programme:

At the heart of Devon Healing Horsemanship's offerings is the Restart Programme, an intensive action-based intervention designed for individuals who have not found success with traditional talk-based services. This programme spans up to 10 hours over 4 days, focusing on experiential learning and skill development through interactions with specially trained horses. Participants engage in tasks such as “horse whispering” and guiding horses to perform specific actions, which helps them cultivate essential psycho-social skills in a practical, non-verbal manner.

Our Restart participants often face serious difficulties  (see list below) and are referred because talk-based support has not worked for them. We specialise in helping people who are disengaged or stuck – we are experts in action-based intervention.

We teach social and emotional skills, expertly coached 'in the moment', in response to challenges with the horses. Our horses are carefully selected and highly trained to ensure clear and easily observed physical feedback as participants develop mastery of eight skills: engagement, responsibility, calmness, assertiveness, realistic analysis and planning, focus and perseverance, relating to others/empathy, and communication and language.

We set “just right” challenges where participants struggle but are crucially always coached to success in tricky, intricate tasks with the horses. These short episodes of learning, each lasting about 10-20 minutes, result in relentless success repeated over and over again for a whole week. It becomes clear to participants that success comes from mastering new skills in calmness, focus, and perseverance. They don’t just “feel great”; they actually learn to “be great” and they know it!

To culminate, they work with horses at liberty (no ropes), performing seemingly impossible tasks. This feels absolutely magical and has a profound impact on the way they see themselves and their abilities.

We measure change through feedback during and at the end of the course from our participants, who give an average score of 9.5/10 for course helpfulness. They describe improved confidence, self-belief, and happiness.

We also analyse our case notes and check long-term impact by asking our referrers for feedback two months post-intervention. They report that 86% show improved self-belief (36% strongly and 50% somewhat).

A study supported by the Charities Evaluation Services demonstrated significant post-programme improvements, with 95% reporting enhanced identity, 80% experiencing reduced anxiety, and 85% showing increased engagement in work, school, or training. Similar improvements were noted in reducing problematic behaviours and improving relationships.

Sessions are 2-2.5 hours long, held on four consecutive days to help set new skills and habits. The results tend to be dramatic, with participants shifting to a point where they can then engage with specialist talk-based support or re-engage with mainstream provision. See our evidence page here.

We provide detailed handbacks to the participant and their referring professional and discuss follow-up support.

All our Restart participants can access unlimited top-up sessions as needed (subject to available funding).

List of Difficulties: (Our participants often typically have four or more from the list below)

Not attending school (training, work)
Relationship difficulties
Mood swings/impulsivity
Bullying, aggression, anger management issues
Being bullied
Risk-taking behaviour
Drug & alcohol misuse
Eating disorder
Domestic violence
Difficult family dynamics
In a family with mental health problems, offending, or D&A
Living in care, leaving care, or at risk of going into care
From an area of high deprivation

Restart Cost:
The cost to commissioners is £95 per hour / £950 per Restart. Where statutory funding is not available, we rely on our charitable fundraising. If someone needs our service, we do not turn them away.

To refer, please contact us at – we often suggest a taster session to ensure the participant is happy to commit to the four-day Restart.

Alcohol advice and support
Bereavement support
Adult education and learning
Activities for children and young people
Drugs advice and support
Advice for young people
Mental health support
Connecting with nature
Employment and training initiatives
Family support groups and organisations
Connecting with others
Preventative services for children and young people
Healthy lifestyle
Mental health
Social prescribing
Support with employment
Youth support
Service access criteria:

Participant is aged 8 and above with the cognitive reasoning of an 8 year old or above.

If the participant has any further needs such as vision and hearing impairments; learning difficulties or physical disabilities then I will get in touch via  to discuss the individual needs of the potential participant.

Additional needs catered for:
Vision impairment friendly
Hearing impairment friendly
Learning difficulty friendly
Physical disability friendly
Dementia friendly
Non English speaking friendly
Waiting list (weeks): 2
Disclaimer: Please note that services on the Joy Marketplace are independent and are not necessarily endorsed by your locality/area.