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2 Nov 2018

Full-Time Internship Equestrian Centre Internship @ Bray, Co. Wicklow

Posted by Festina Lente Co. Wicklow, Ireland

Internship Description

Festina Lente non profit charity is known for its work with humans, horses and horticulture through a varied and innovative range of equine related and horticultural activities and Festina Lente offers invaluable opportunities to gain experience in your chosen field in our internships programme.
All interns in our Equestrian Centre will also be expected to help in the yard and lessons as well as their chosen programmes. Our Equestrian programmes below are part time so interns may choose a combination so that they are working full time, ie Therapeutic Riding & Equestrian Centre Yard & Lesson Assistant or Supported Helpers Programme & Equine Facilitated Educational Programme or Supported Helpers Programme & Equestrian Centre Yard & Lesson Assistant, etc.

Equestrian Centre Therapeutic Riding Internship

Interns will gain valuable perspective on the role of the Therapeutic Riding Coach through observation and mentorship. This placement is suitable, but not limited to, students studying Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Physical Therapy, Speech and Language Therapy, Special Education and Social Care. Other degree’s can also be considered.

Through full participation in all aspects of the Therapeutic Riding Service the intern can gain knowledge on the benefits of Therapeutic Riding (ie: the physical, sensory, social, cognitive, and psychosocial benefits), organisation and management of sessions and therapeutic goals (when appropriate, under direct supervision) disability (interns will assist with a broad spectrum of children and adults with varying levels of abilities and difficulties), management and welfare of the therapy horse/pony and stable management. This is a part time programme.

Equestrian Centre Supported Helpers Programme Internship

The Supported Helper Programme involves children, teenagers or adults with special needs or with social difficulties in everyday equine care tasks such as mucking out stables, grooming, bringing ponies in and out of the fields, and other tasks associated with the care and management of ponies and horses. Supports are tailored to the learning style and ability of each person and staff to participant ratios range from 1:1 to 1:3. The programme has been reported to increase confidence and self-esteem, social awareness and has also improved social relationships. This is a part time programme in the afternoons.

Interns who choose this programme will work alongside one/two experienced Facilitators and assist in the running of the session where clients will experience all aspects of equine care.

Involvement in this programme is suitable for interns studying social sciences, education or studies which include and emphasis on the value or need of social and emotional competencies.

Equestrian Centre Equine Facilitated Educational Programme Internship

The Equine Facilitated Educational Programme focuses on the social and emotional learning of primary school children (usually 8-12 years of age). Each week a maximum of three children from four different local schools attend the programme and work in the Equestrian Yard and the Walled Gardens. Interns who choose this programme will work alongside one/two experienced facilitators and assist in the running of the session where children will experience all aspects of equine pony care and also learn about gardening through the management of an allotment.

This programme has a strong emphasis on the core competencies for social and emotional learning including self-management, social awareness and responsible decision making so all sessions are centred around these.

Involvement in this programme is suitable for interns studying social sciences, education or studies which include and emphasis on the value or need of social and emotional competencies.

This is a part time programme in the mornings during the school year.

Equestrian Centre Equitation Science Internship

Interns will gain valuable hands on experience in the merits of Equitation Science. Training under the 8 Principles of Equitation Science, interns will develop a clear understanding of how the horse learns and of the importance of horse welfare in a busy equestrian centre. Ideal for anyone studying equine science or veterinary medicine but also for anyone who has or works with horses who wishes to get a more ethical approach to interacting with horses. “Every time we interact with a horse we are training them” Andrew McClean.

Interns will gain valuable hands on experience in the merits of Equitation Science. Equitation science promotes “an objective, evidence-based understanding of the welfare of horses during training and competition by applying valid, quantitative scientific methods that can identify what training techniques are ineffective or may result in equine suffering. Equitation science uses a multidisciplinary approach to explain horse training, for example from a learning theory perspective that removes anthropomorphism and emotiveness” (

Due to the high number of people who interact with horses in Festina Lente, all with varying understanding of equitation science, inconsistency of messages is a big problem for horses. Interns will work alongside our staff. Understanding how the horse learns helps us train effectively and clearly, improving horse welfare.

The system used in Festina Lente is that formed by the Australian Equine Behaviour Centre – the world renowned home of Equitation Science – is a step-by-step program designed to accumulate particular habits in the horse, as listed below:

Analysing and reducing all training goals to a series of single learned responses (Under-saddle: go, stop, turn, and yield. In-hand: go, stop, head down and yield).
Progressively building, or ‘shaping’, a series of qualities into each response: 1. Basic Attempt; 2. Obedience (response timing & lightness); 3. Rhythm (speed control); 4. Straightness (maintaining line and body straightness); 5. Contact (rein and leg connection and neck and body posture) and 6. Proof (the horse performs anywhere and everywhere).
Establishing cues (light aids).
Following strict schedules of timing of pressure and release.
Using clear schedules of positive reinforcement to maintain behaviours once they are elicited from a light aid.
The AEBC system results in a relaxed horse that responds to light and sensitive controls. The horse is now properly prepared mentally to perceive and therefore be influenced by more subtle signals such as the rider’s seat and position. When training is undertaken in ways that are more easily perceived by horses, the success rate climbs. Knowledge and skill in training psychology adds a vast dimension of enlightenment to riders before embarking on classical training.

All Internship Students for the Equestrian Centre must have experience working with horses and managing their care in a stable environment unaided (mucking out, grooming, leading & tacking up) and want to work with people of all abilities.

More details on our website including our application form.

Job Categories: Medical, Science & Environmental. Job Types: Full-Time Internship. Job Tags: Education, equine, occupational therapist and social science.

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