I cannot rave highly enough about this course, which our son was lucky enough to gain a place on via a social services referral.The course involves working with the horses to gain their trust, and understanding and empathising with them to enable them to do certain movements and tackle obstacles. The website explains all this much better than I am doing. http://www.thehorsecourse.org It is designed to help children and adults with additional needs such as ASD and has had a hugely beneficial effect on those who take part.
Watching my child working with these beautiful animals in a very calm environment was a wonderful thing. He had not worked with horses before, but quickly learned to interpret their body language and respond appropriately. He gained hugely in confidence in the week, and gained empathy and better understanding of how others display emotion, and how to respond to this. His self-regulation improved, along with his focus and posture.
He also gained a certificate in horsemanship, for which he had to be videoed and tested. He took this totally in his stride, whereas normally any reference to tests would have had him tearful and refusing to take part.
A huge thank you again to those who work at the project, which I believe is now rolling out to other parts of the country.