In 2017, Education Through Horses, a not-for-profit organisation, took over a neglected, 7 acre farm at Banbury Hill, Broad Oak, near Sturminster Newton, North Dorset. The organisation has set up a number of environmental and learning projects at Banbury Hill and is grateful for the help and support of volunteers.

The Land
The land had been over-grazed and was very badly poached but is recovering well. We are planting native flowers to establish an old-fashioned meadow, full of native flowers for bees and butterflies, surrounded by a vibrant native hedgerow for birds and small mammals. Deer are often seen wandering through the pasture too!

The Animals
There are now two small ponies on site, Blossom and Basil. They are very friendly and can often be seen up on the stable yard waiting for someone to come and give them some attention! They can choose where they spend their time and have access to an open stable, the stable yard and a large area of unimproved pasture with a wide range of grasses, herbs and native plants. There is a volunteer rota of helpers who look after the horses, feeding and caring for them, checking water and poo-picking the fieds. 

Horses and Equine Assisted Learning
The main area of work is equine assisted learning, providing education for children, young people and adults through interaction with horses. Equine assisted learning is an innovative way to help people to become more self aware and self confident. It is appropriate for all ages and abilities. Sessions take place from the ground, there is no riding involved.
Sessions are available for children, young people and adults including those who: 
  • have low self esteem and self confidence
  • are on the autism spectrum
  • have conditions such as Attention Deficit Hyper-activity Disorder (ADHD), Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) , foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS)
  • suffer with anxiety, depression, eating disorders
  • are excluded or on the point of exclusion from school
  • have social, emotional or behavioural difficulties
  • are in recovery from substance misuse or addiction
  • have mental ill health
  • have mild to moderate learning difficulties including dyslexia
  • are older and looking for opportunities to socialise and learn new skills.
The Polytunnel and Greenhouse
Growing vegetables in the polytunnel and greenhouse can be both fun and rewarding for people of all ages, young and old. If you have experience of gardening or would like to help out in any way, we'd love to hear from you. Gardening is one of the areas that we are using to help us with our maths and english projects too.

The Veggie Plot
We have planted runner beans and squashes in the veggie plot but most of it is still cultivating nettles - great for the butterflies and soup for humans too! f you're looking for a plot to cultivate, please get in touch as we'd love some more help with the veggie gardening.

The Fruit Garden
There are established apple trees, grapevines and blackcurrant bushes in the fruit garden and opportunities to learn more about pruning and cultivation of tree and bush fruit.

Pond Restoration
The pond is one of the areas that requires restoration but we need to do this in the autumn so that we make sure that we don't disturb any newts, frogs or toads that might be using the existing pond for breeding. While we wait for the right time of year to do this, there is time to sit and look out over the beautiful Blackmore Vale.

The Classroom
The 'classroom' is based in a mobile home and the new paint has made it look much more inviting. It's a warm indoor space for when it's cold outside!

Qualifications
We are an EAQ (Equine Assisted Qualifications) Approved Centre and because of this approval we are able to offer national qualifications through EAQ's accreditation with the Open College Network London Region (OCNLR). 
EAQ is a specialist equine assisted learning organisation providing training and qualifications in a range of subjects throughout the UK.  EAQ has been awarded the prestigious Investors in People Award.

EAQ Approved            OCNL Logo            copy of iip logo cmyk small

Project Ideas
We have lots of our own ideas for environmental projects but we are open to your ideas too. If you have an idea but need a space to operate from, please get in touch and we'll see what we can do to support you.

Some of our projects for this summer include:
  • Maths
  • Creative Writing
  • Positive Parenting
  • Landscape Painting and Textiles
  • Building owl, bat and bee boxes.