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Catalyst Living Skills

Working with horses to reach my full potential

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Programs for adults and children

Catalyst Living Skills offers several weekly programs for children and adults , with a focus on:

  • Communication

  • Self esteem

  • Decision making

  • Creativity

  • Co-ordination and motor skills

  • Focus and observation

  • Relationships

To achieve our goals we work with horses, other animals on the farm, in nature  and do some creative activities.

Horses are great teachers

Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) has been shown to  teach people about themselves and their interaction with others around them.  Through EAL sessions, you can develop confidence and coping skills, whilst making friends, having fun and building your social and communication skills. 


Horses are the MASTER teachers of life skills. They demand personal leadership and can teach you how to learn, develop and apply these skills to your life.


In EAL, horses are a “barometer”. They react to your' emotional responses, whether they are calm, confused, frustrated, or excited. A horse's reactions provide an EAL facilitator with insights that can help them guide and assist the journey of building foundational life skills.

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Home: About 1

What's a life skill?

Catalyst Living Skills programs are guided by the six essential life skills identified by the World Health Organization (1999)

  1. Communication and interpersonal skills

  2. Decision making and problem solving .To understand problems, find solutions alone or with others, and then take action to address them.
  3. Creative thinking and critical thinking. To think in different ways about problems, and find new solutions, or generate new ideas, coupled with the ability to assess information carefully and understand its relevance.

  4. Self-awareness and empathy (emotional intelligence). To understand yourself and be able to feel for other people as if their experiences were happening to you.

  5. Assertiveness and equanimity, or self-control. To stand up for yourself and other people, and remain calm even in the face of provocation.

  6. Resilience and the ability to cope with problems.  To recover from setbacks, and treat them as opportunities to learn, or simply experiences.

To develop these abilities Catalyst Living Skills programs take an interactive approach using games, puzzles, and other teaching techniques to keep the participant wholly involved in the sessions where their focus is on having fun rather than on learning something new.

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Home: About 1

What we do

We run Equine Assisted Learning programs combined with creative, nature and farm based activities in small groups and with individuals.   Many of our clients are supported by the National Disability Insurance Scheme.


We don’t offer therapy but rather teach the life skills to function effectively in society.


We do not dig to discover feelings. Nor do we try and figure out “how” or “why” the participants got to where they are at. Rather we teach to be mindful, to regulate emotions and to work effectively with others. 

Building confidence and self esteem through achievement is the primary goal for most of our clients and is central to pretty much everything that we do.  Our horses are willing partners supporting people to achieve things they never imagined in an active, challenging and fun way.

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Home: Group Program

Since we began we have found that our group sessions are popular, effective and often the best way to learn new skills. 


We offer a variety of group programs  for people looking to build skills and to generally have fun.   During the week we run several programs for both children and adults.  Our groups are very small with a facilitator working with no more than two clients at a time which means you are always busy and included.

Children who come during the week are over 8 years old , are home schooled or come after school in the afternoon.  Many are looking to learn ways to manage specific issues such as anxiety or emotional regulation and ADHD and autism is common.  Our children s group program is for one hour.

At the moment we have a couple of adult groups and we are planning on starting a a couple more at the beginning of 2024 if there is interest.    These groups have 4 participants and two facilitators.  We began by offering the group for an hour but found that they wanted to do so many things that they have grown to two hours to give us enough time to do more farm based activities like feeding the sheep and chickens, together with something a little creative in the classroom and then working with the horses.  Our adult groups are best suited for people with a mild to moderate learning disability.


Safety for our clients, the horses  and facilitators is paramount.  We require all of our participants to have the capacity to follow instructions.  As most of the sessions are held outdoors in a sand arena our group sessions may not be suitable for people with significant mobility or balance issues.  Contact us to have a chat about your needs.

We generally undertake a one hour assessment for potential clients to establish individual needs and abilities to ensure an appropriate program is provided as well as providing an opportunity to a prospective client to experience some elements of EAL. 

Home: 1:1 Program

The 1:1 program is ideal for people seeking to develop mindful skills and strategies to communicate effectively, manage emotions and develop confidence. 

This program is suitable for adults and children over 10 years of age and can be modified for participants with special needs.   We undertake a one hour assessment for potential clients to establish individual needs and abilities to ensure an appropriate program is provided as well as providing an opportunity to a prospective client to experience some elements of EAL. 


Whilst we try to be as inclusive as possible there are some clients that may not be suitable for EAL as ensuring client safety is our number one priority.

Corporate Workshops

Experiential learning for teams or groups where you don’t just listen to a talk or role play exercises  - you experience it.

Horses are non judgmental and with skilled facilitation can offer unique feedback to each individual, providing a safe space for clients to experiment with communication, team connection and leadership skills.  Each workshop is tailored to meet the specific needs of your team such as:

  • Communication and interpersonal skills

  • Conflict resolution

  • Dealing with difference and change

  • Self awareness and awareness of others

  • Working efficiently and effectively together

Family life can be hard! The family program enables families to work together to develop their communication skills and ability to trust and work cooperatively.

The family program can be challenging but fun.  We require that all participants must be willing to participate in the program.

Chronic Disease Management Workshops

In June and July 2023 we ran a four week program for adults living with a chronic disease.  The group program was a two hour session that combined general discussion, education, art therapy and equine assisted learning for a group of  5 adults from 50 to 72 with a variety of physical and mental health issues.

Home: About Ruth

About Ruth

Owner and Lead Facilitator

At Catalyst Living Skills I have combined my educational experience with my horse knowledge and love of animals to create a unique and creative learning experience for both children and adults. Working with horses we work to create communication empathy and social skills

I have over 30 years’ teaching in the United Kingdom and then ACT, in schools, colleges, special education and alternative settings with extensive experience in designing programs for children and adults that meet their individual needs.

I am trained in Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) and have worked as a qualified riding instructor for more than 25 years.  I have a small team of quiet and well-trained horses and ponies located on my small property in Googong.

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