HORSES are being used for leadership training courses at an East Lancashire equine rescue centre.

Free taster events are to be held at Briercliffe-based Happa in its quest to diversify ways of bringing cash into the facility, which is primarily used for rehabilitating and rehoming neglected and abused equines.

The Shores Hey Farm Rescue Centre has teamed up with specialist equine-facilitated business trainers Lead-Change to run the ‘Courses with Horses’ scheme, which promise to ‘unlock potential, transform communication skills and translate know how into doing’.

A handful of horses with ‘nice characters’ have been chosen by the charity’s staff to interact with people as they are guided by specialist coaches.

A spokeswoman for Lead-Change said: “The courses combine interactions with horses, on the ground, not horse riding, and non-directive coaching in powerful learning experiences.

“Interacting with horses at liberty, not on lead ropes, demands the same personal qualities that make for effective communication and leadership in work and life, such as awareness, clarity, focus, intention, energy, empathy and influence.”

Julie Rickwood-Gan, development officer at HAPPA, said: “We’ve got some ponies with really nice characters, that somebody with no experience with horses would feel comfortable with.

“Even though horrible things have happened to them, horses are just like people in that with some of them, even if they’ve had terrible experiences in the past, they will be forever open to trust again.

“We’d really like the taster courses to take off, because we think it’s a really good idea, managed by people with a lot of experience with horses.

“The horse is being used as a learning tool, and it is more about learning to be a better leader by going into a new environment and doing something they’ve never done before.

“One of my colleagues at the rescue centre went on one of the courses iand thoroughly enjoyed it.”

For more information on the next course on Tuesday, April 16, or to book, call Lead-Change on 0845 130 5648, or email