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Youth Life Skills & Leadership Program

Empowering Today's Teens

How Do These Life Skills Programs Help Youth
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We have been trained by the world-renowned Equine Connection - The Academy of Equine Assisted Learning Inc, who certifies all over the world through the Academy of Equine Assisted Learning BuildingBlock™ course. You will see Equine Connection instructors in the videos provided, these will give a better understanding of the value of our programs and workshops.

Let's make a difference.

Saddle Up Life Skills has a unique, researched approach to helping teach valuable life skills to our young people! Here, the horses are the teachers. These experiential programs for teenagers are not only educational but have been designed for students to acquire strength-based life skills (i.e., developmental assets) such as effective communication, enhanced problem-solving, a better understanding of body language, and respecting personal boundaries, among others.

Youth Skills Development Information


What if every youth was empowered to rise above their “story” and life situation to develop real, unshakeable confidence?


Why Empowerment Programs are Important

for Today’s Youth

Today’s youth don’t have it easy and face complex issues like increasing pressures from peers, family members, and even mentors. Achievement pressures, confusion, abuse & sexual exploitation, bullying, isolation, depression, social media exposure and at-risk behaviors are just some of the challenges our young people face daily. We should be equipping them with the life skills and confidence required to not just get through life, but to soar!

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Teaching Youth the BuildingBlock™'s of Life One Skill at a Time

By utilizing an interactive, hands-on approach through the educational BuildingBlock™ Curriculum, we facilitate teachable moments with a lasting impact. This allows our facilitators to keep the learning process growing, by building upon different skills and objectives each week. This ensures the effectiveness of our program and allows us to track individual advancements in each of our youth.

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Why Partnering With Horses is so Powerful in Empowering Youth

In our Rising Stars Development Programs, we partner with horses to deliver powerful, interactive, and experiential non-riding activities to help teens and young adults. By including horses in these specially designed educational experiences, we can significantly multiply the participant’s rate of success in facilitating life-altering change, as well as in enhancing emotional growth and developing psychological wellbeing.

    When I teach you, I will never judge you! I will never lie to you! I am a teller of truth as that is ONLY what I can do because of my brain! I will bring love and healing to your heart! I will offer you a way to smile, giggle, and have FUN!! This learning I promise to you doesn’t just stay in the arena, this learning you will transfer into your own life!
    To be prey is to be vulnerable. Their job is to not be killed. The number #1 thing a prey animal needs to feel is SAFE! A horse's senses are highly astute and can tell in a moment when thoughts from the mind and feel from your gut are off. They can hear our heartbeat, and they will react to the slightest changes within a team; allowing facilitators to find those “teachable moments” for your organization. Horse movements are linked to emotion. Horses are the most feeling of beings so use their intuitive vs thinking, as humans do. They are just like us - sort of. Movement is the key to a horse, primarily forward movement. Everything about staying alive involves forward movement, which parallels us, humans. Herds to horses are just like teams to people. Horses require a leader to trust, respect and keep them safe, just like we appreciate having in the workplace. This gives us the ability to parallel everything that happens to real-life situations so that what you learn really sticks within each human! Quite simply, the horse does the teaching; facilitators are only there to offer an explanation and provide guidance as you work through the solution. Working with horses creates memories that can be applied to our lives and retained far longer than sitting in ‘just another classroom.’ This program offers lasting change because you can't fool the teacher!
    Equine Assisted Learning is a learner-based educational, experiential experience with horses. More specifically, it is an effective approach to human development that encourages individual and team growth. Participants engage in objectively driven exercises. They find themselves learning valuable life skills in a fun and exciting atmosphere while working with horses. Exercises are developed to encourage self-confidence through validated, hands-on experiences. Equine Assisted Learning has proven to be useful, powerful, positive, educational, and creative.
    We focus on skills that help participants move forward in life, such as how to communicate feelings more effectively by using verbal and nonverbal communication tools. While our horse-assisted learning programs help participants learn how to interact effectively with others, improve self-confidence, and build problem-solving and decision-making skills, it is NOT equine therapy. Equine Assisted Learning works because the teachers are the horses!


This is why our youth programs are unique & innovative:



Our programs focus on empowering youth and helping them to make healthy, informed choices so that they can respond to life’s difficulties with courage, self-awareness, and confidence.

The Briefing

Once our participants arrive, we welcome them to our facility, go over safety & housekeeping, and explain how these programs work and the program they'll be doing and the objective they'll be learning.

Arena Time

This is where the magic happens. Our participants will partner with their teams and horses and go through the program. Each program has an objective and guaranteed outcome. Everything learned will be paralleled back to real life! These skills will then be transferrable to their own lives.

The Debrief

Once the arena time is over, we'll come back into the classroom where we'll debrief the program, bring everything back to the objective one more time and ensure the learning really transfers back to life.

Words & Journalling

We then end the session with achievement words, and the participants journal their "a-ha's" and progress to be able to reflect back on them. All journalling will be sent to the organization or given to the parents at the end of our time together.

Teachers that deliver results.

Unlike a traditional classroom setting, here at Saddle Up Life Skills, the horses are the teachers. What better partner in the experiential learning experience than the horse. Horses live in the moment; they don’t judge, and they are great listeners that require strong leaders. We focus on safety first and foremost with our youth and our horses and begin our curriculum ensuring that the student is taught the basics of working with the horses properly. Once the horse feels safe and comfortable with the student, they will form a partnership that will allow them both to work together. The facilitators at Saddle Up Life Skills will use these moments to parallel the experience back to real-life situations at school, at home and in their individual lives.  


Our Rising Stars program is not a bandage effect for humans; it's life-changing with proven results from a 5-year research study with the University of Calgary, Saskatoon, and Regina.