We like animals at Running Deer School. They’re honest, unconditional and un-apologetically hairy!
Animals at Running Deer School
Every morning the school pack runs to a particular student, desperate to say hallo and re-establish contact after a night apart. For her part, the student issues greetings, praise and cuddles like a gracious Queen greeting her subjects (maybe not the cuddles..). The dogs are in seventh heaven and it’s really lovely to see the bond she has with them.
The Running Deer School’ mission is to play to an individual’s strengths and this student hopes to study animal care. So working with the student to establish what works for them, we’ve recently seen the addition of riding lessons and work experience to her timetable and I’ve accompanied her to the stables.
True to form, within five minutes of arriving, a young kitten was writhing around on her lap, purring like an outboard motor and the ‘unfriendly’ stable dog was within petting distance. Horses also seem very in-tune with this student and want to be close..
The riding lessons have been going really well and I get to run round the sand school too – holding a lead rope (which causes great amusement). We’ve been also working filling hay nets and mucking out and learning about horse care from apprentice Charlie, who also came through the school and found the horses especially helpful.
As Charlie says, ‘Working with and around horses is extremely therapeutic’ …and it’s well known that horses can help people navigate challenging emotions as they’re very intuitive and responsive.
We hope this placement will help build trust, confidence, improve social skills and promote responsibility. In this environment, our student is absolutely content, focused and engaged, learning in a way that best suits her. And the animals love it.