“I now have two families – Brook Hill has helped me be do better with my schoolwork and Piper, the horse that I ride helps me when I have a bad day.  Brook Hill is my calming off place – I love it here, and actually I am beginning to like myself and school!

The Problem

So many students struggle with school.  The National Education Association’s Twelve Point Plan for Reducing the School Dropout Rate pinpoints “community-based, real-world learning experiences for students” and involvement in small after school groups as a key factor in increasing the rate of high school graduation.

The Solution

Brook Hill Farm’s unique program, United Neigh, teaches the students the skills they need to have success in school.   Through Equine Assisted Learning, the students learn skills of resilience, responsibility and organization that are necessary to be successful in school.  The United Neigh program provides this experience for youth who are at-risk, have a disability, or are socially disadvantaged or just cannot cope in a regular classroom environment.

United Neigh accepts youth ages 12-18 from Lynchburg City and the surrounding counties. The teens are from various backgrounds, some disadvantaged or abused, while others have learning or physical disabilities.  Some just cannot succeed in a traditional classroom environment.  Participants follow a program that instills self-confidence, a strong sense of personal responsibility, recognition of the value of teamwork, and real-life workplace skills. This is accomplished through a bond of trust with a horse whose background is, too often, just as painful as their own. The youth come to the farm and get to call a rescue horse their own as they aid the farm with its mission of rehabilitation.

College interns, earning college credit from local universities, serve as mentors. These role models promote the value of education, healthy lifestyle choices, and hard work in a safe, supportive family setting. Academic performance is a high priority; success at school is emphasized.  Staff, college interns, and participants work together to help the students learn the skills they need to have to be successful in school. 

The Equine Assisted Learning in Education model provides a program that teaches young people a strong sense of personal responsibility, work ethic, and accountability.  Everyone becomes a part of the Brook Hill family, sharing work, passion, triumphs and disappointments.  Everyone works together towards the mission of helping the rescue horses.

Through hard work and love, the youth care for and heal their rescue horses, and, very often, find healing themselves.  Since the program’s inception in 2002, the at-risk youth who have completed the program have all had better attendance and better grades in school.   

The farm will be publishing the research soon and will be sharing to further educate everyone on the benefits of Equine Assisted Learning in Education model.

Successful Graduates!

“Brook Hill Farm is my family – no matter how many foster homes I have, this place stays the same and gives me the consistency and support I need to be successful in school!”

If you would like more information about this program or any of the other Equine Assisted Services we offer please email us at secretary@brookhillfarm.org