Special Needs Equine-Assisted Learning

Barnabas Horse Foundation offers a unique opportunity for children and young adults with varying abilities, from anxiety, ADHD, Autism, Down Syndrome, and other intellectual, and physical differences. This program is called the Special Needs Equine Assisted Learning (SN-EAL).

This program model differs slightly from therapeutic riding as it places emphasis on groundwork. Participants take part in an hour-long session, engaging in horse related activities such as grooming, farm chores, and feeding tasks. Hands on learning with the horses activates the senses of those we serve and provides them a source of regulation, comfort and more. In addition, participants take part in recreational activities such as arts and crafts, mindfulness walks, card and arena games, obstacle courses, and more.

The range of projects and undertakings we extend activates the different regions of the brain, allowing the individuals to become aware and in tune with the notion of mind-body connection. Such exploration encourages participants to be self-aware of their thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations, and how those things impact their response(s) when it comes to working with self and others (horses and humans).

It is our desire to make every child and young adult that takes part in our program(s) to feel loved, seen, and valued despite their differences. Most importantly, we want to instill in them self-confidence, awareness, and efficacy!

For more information or to sign-up, please contact Shayla at (301)266-7027.

A Few Words From Our Program Participants

Marley, Program Participant

I love riding horses because they distract me from the world which makes me calm. Everyone at Barnabas treats me really nicely and they are accepting of everyone.

Marley, Program Participant

Meghan Poole, Parent

Barnabas has been a breath of fresh air for my kids, they are always smiling and so relaxed when at the stables. The volunteers are committed to the kids and work with them so well on good days and bad. Our experiences there are invaluable.

Meghan Poole, Parent

Joe, Program Participant

I love that I get to be with horses. I love to be with my friends too. And Miss Shayla is very kind and caring.

Joe, Program Participant

Bradshaw Family

The Barnabas Horse Foundation has helped our family so much and countless others. With Jake being born at 26 weeks and weighing 2lbs, 1.5 ounces we knew he would face challenges growing up, however I never imagined it would be severe anxiety with chronic tic disorder. Barnabas Horse Foundation has helped him overcome a lot of this as well as help him cope with everyday struggles. He’s learned to use his voice and speak up, learned to relax, take a deep (horse) breath and learned how to find other avenues to channel the anxiety. Without the help of Barnabas and their amazing staff I don’t think Jake would be in the place he is today. We are grateful and truly blessed to have them all in our lives.

Bradshaw Family

Jake, Program Participant

This is the place where I feel safe and can be myself.

Jake, Program Participant

Thompson Family

Our daughter enjoys seeing friends and being around the horses at the barn. She looks forward to the weekly sessions. We’re confident that the staff is hyper-aware of all safety concerns and that she is well supervised while on property.

Thompson Family

Shelton Family

My daughter suffers from severe anxiety, PTSD, and insecurities Her self-confidence has improved and her anxiety began to decrease incrementally. We are forever grateful for Shayla and the Barnabas Horse Foundation team for their healing environment and their continued therapy in her life. I would highly recommend Barnabas horse for any child or teen suffering from anxiety disorder or related emotional challenges because not only does the therapy work, the staff and volunteers are kind & wonderful people.

Shelton Family

Dowanna Whitfield, Parent

The equine assisted learning program has helped my adult son be more independent and feel confident in what he has learned. I love to see his smile when we drive thru the gates at Barnabas.

Dowanna Whitfield, Parent