Equine Kids Youth Leadership Program

Equine Kids™ is a ground-based equine-assisted youth leadership program (ages 7 to 18), created by Monty Roberts Certified Instructor Simon d’Unienville. Monty Roberts is a best-selling author and world-renowned horseman, known for his gentle, yet effective, horsemanship and equine-assisted programs.

Equine programs, from horseback riding to equine-assisted therapy, have long been known to help improve human mental health. Winston Churchill was famously quoted as saying:

“The outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man.”

Indeed, people across generations, from little girls to old men, have been captivated by horses for centuries. And studies have shown that horses are particularly good for children, and have exceptional benefits for children with emotional and/or behavioural issues.

Monty Roberts Kids Course - assisted Join-Up
Equine Kids Course - Monty Roberts Certified Instructor Simon d'Unienville
Monty Roberts Kids Course

Program History

The Equine Kids program is based on the scientifically backed Monty Roberts Lead-Up® program.

Lead-Up is a ground-breaking equine-assisted therapy program which reduces violence in at-risk youth. With conclusive scientific evidence of reduced violence and abuse towards horses and people, Lead-Up workshops teach vulnerable youth about the power of non-violence, trust-based relationships and peaceful leadership.

The Lead-Up program is now being implemented in many countries across the globe, including South Africa, and Lead-Up founder Katie Cunningham was awarded a certificate from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for her efforts in reducing violence through horses.

As one of fourteen Monty Roberts Certified Instructors worldwide that are certified in the Lead-Up program, Simon d’Unienville, Equine Kids’ facilitator, is using the healing power of horses, combined with Lead-Up’s proven techniques, to assist children aged 7 to 18 develop strong leadership skills and improve their resilience through workshops with horses.

Lead-Up Guatemala - equine-assisted therapy program
Lead-Up International founder Katie Cunningham receives award from Queen Elizabeth
Lead-Up California with Monty Roberts Certified Instructor Simon d'Unienville

About the Equine Kids Program

The equine kids program is broken up into 4 age groups:

Ages 7 to 9 (Grades 1 to 3)
Ages 10 to 12 (Grades 4 to 6)
Ages 13 to 15 (Grades 7 to 9)
Ages 16 to 18 (Grades 10 to 12)

The equine kids program is run for 2 hours, every second week during school terms. Each phase is 10 weeks (5 workshops), after which participants receive a certificate of completion.

At each workshop the participants will develop their ground-based skills with horses – from grooming to leading to herding exercises, and as they develop their confidence and abilities they will move onto more advanced skills.

As participants learn to work in groups, build sound groundwork methods, and work in a partnership with their horses, they will learn the value of effective communication, improve their self-confidence and self-esteem, build resilience and learn to practice essential skills like other focus.

Other proven program benefits include better spatial awareness and improved sensory integration, reduced stress, better emotional control and developed empathy.

The therapeutic benefits of horses for kids
Equine Kids program - equine-assisted youth leadership program
Equine Kids program - equine-assisted youth leadership program

Equine Kids Program Benefits

Equine-assisted programs have been proven to be beneficial to all children and the Equine Kids program may be particularly beneficial to children struggling with:

  • Addiction
  • ADHD
  • Anxiety
  • Bullying (both bullies and those being bullied)
  • Depression
  • Emotional & Behavioural Issues
  • PTSD & Trauma
  • Self-Confidence
  • Shyness / Withdrawn

Please contact us to learn more about the science behind the Equine Kids program and discuss the benefits it may have for your child, or any questions you have about the program.

Students desensitizing horse with Dually Halter in Monty Roberts Introductory Course of Horsemanship, Monty Roberts Courses
Equine Kids equine-assisted youth leadership program
Equine Kids equine-assisted youth leadership program - team-building

Program Cost

The Equine Kids extra-curricular program costs R 450 per child, per 2-hour workshop.

Classes are kept small (maximum 4 to 6 children) for individual attention.

The program will be available at our yard – Equiville Manor in Midrand, and at several riding schools across Johannesburg’s Northern Suburbs and Pretoria’s Southern Suburbs.

Please contact us for a list of participating riding schools.