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Title: Reflexive exploration of the experiences of at-risk young people participating in therapeutic horsemanship
Author: Burgon, Hannah Louise
ISNI:       0000 0004 2751 735X
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis is part of a journey that has encompassed a lifetime love of horses. It evolved from horses being a childhood passion, and led to working with horses together with young people with various disadvantages and difficulties in a therapeutic and educational capacity. The PhD research study followed as an attempt to articulate and share some of the experiences of ‘The Yard’, the therapeutic horsemanship (TH) programme on which this thesis is based. Through a personal belief and understanding that contact with horses could be therapeutic in a number of ways I found myself in the fortunate position to be able to incorporate TH in my work as a social worker for a foster care company. Whilst initially this was limited to young people who were in foster placements with this particular company, the TH programme expanded through interest from outside agencies to include young people referred from youth offending and other organisations. The young people who attended the TH programme, named ‘The Yard’ for the purpose of this study, were generally considered to be ‘at-risk’ within the social work and allied professions due to their circumstances and histories. Substantial research within the literature concerned with risk and resilience claims there is a high likelihood of negative life outcomes as a result of experiencing adverse childhood experiences (Masten, Best, & Garmezy, 1990; Rutter, 1985). It cannot be claimed that this thesis is completely impartial or objective; on the contrary it is a deeply personal and reflexive account of my experiences alongside seven of the young people who attended The Yard and participated in the study. I can only hope that through the many hundreds of hours of the meticulous process that has made up this practitioner-researcher ethnography, that I have provided some kind of useful contribution to the knowledge base of TH. In any case, at the very least, it has certainly been a hugely worthwhile endeavour in terms of gaining invaluable insight into my own practice, together with associated personal and professional growth.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available