Ainrush Stables will bring you on a journey of self discovery

Dr Caroline Murphy pictured with Molly, one of the beautiful horses at Ainrush Stables. (Picture: Jamie O'Flaherty)

Ainrush Stables is a dedicated equine assisted learning centre established in 2017, nestled in the foothills of the beautiful Ballyhoura mountain range in Co Limerick.

If you suffer from anxiety, lack in confidence, find it difficult to be assertive or would like to develop mindfulness skills, then the Equine Assisted Learning Facilitator Dr Caroline Murphy and her staff can help.

Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) aims to bring you on a journey of self discovery by increasing self-awareness and self-management through a range of fun and challenging activities interacting with horses on the ground. No horse riding is involved with activities and no experience with horses is required.

Under the guidance of Dr Murphy this will provide a range of skills to enhance your personal and work life and she explained that there are different forms of Equine Assister Learning (EAL).

“As a facilitator, I observe the client interacting with the horse or pony while engaging in various activities on the ground. There is no horse riding involved and no experience around horses is necessary. The clients interaction with the horse is deeply personal. As the facilitator, I support the client to learn more about their own behaviours, thoughts, feelings and beliefs in a safe, non judgemental environment. Working with the horse as a team, this can be a catalyst for change in the client.

“EAL will allow the client to experience  positive and negative emotions much more quickly than office based approaches, as the client reacts to the horse in the present moment. It is now real and no longer hidden. This allows the client to own these emotions and discuss the impact of them.”

Equine Assisted Learning Sessions can be anything from 1/2 day/full day team building experiences to more individual tailored sessions once weekly for six weeks depending on individual needs. Individual sessions typically last 60-90 mins and are suitable for children 7yrs and older, teenagers, young and older adults.

A number of studies have shown that participation in Equine Assisted Learning Programmes have shown improvements in self-confidence, personal responsibility, boundary setting, teamwork, communications, problem-solving and leadership skills.

Equine facilitated programmes are experiential by nature allowing a dynamic to develop between the person and the horse, providing excellent opportunities for developing self-awareness due to the horse’s immediate responses to people’s reactions, mirroring people’s emotions and thereby providing instant feedback.

The team involved comprises of the horse, the participant, an equestrian advisor and a facilitator. The focus of the sessions is generally on the person working with a horse on the ground, so riding is not usually involved.

Dr Caroline Murphy is a medical doctor who has worked in general practice for thirty years with extensive experience of general health issues, but in particular Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Asperger Syndrome and mental health disorders.

Having a lifelong passion for horses led her to train as an Equine Assisted Learning Facilitator at Festina Lente, Bray Co. Wicklow in 2016/2017 where she received the accredited Equine Assisted Learning Facilitator – QQI Level 6 Distinction.

Contact: Dr Caroline Murphy, Ainrush Stables, Coolavehy, Ballyorgan, Co Limerick, V35 XE42.

Phone 087 – 2543442