Author:Claudine Young (Aberystwyth University)
Paper short abstract:
This paper examines the ethical and transformative contexts of meetings between horses and humans labelled as young offenders or victims of crime in alternative learning or therapy sessions.
Paper long abstract:
This paper explores the horse's position within contexts of therapy or learning and asks can the horse really assist in rehabilitating young people who offend and in helping victims of crime? Equine Assisted Therapy has recently been featured on television and in the news, such as on the BBC's programme Horsepower with Martin Clunes. In this paper I wish to explore how the relationships between therapist/facilitator, horse and subject really work outside of the space of the film set and exactly where we can situate the position of the horse in these spaces. How does the 'therapist' or 'teacher' perceive their role? Who is communicating with whom in these contexts? What can and do these spaces actually represent within the wider arena of criminal justice? Through a discussion of collected ethnographic data I rigorously interrogate traditional horse/human relationships of domination and subordination and look at some of the existing and possible future outcomes from the liminal spaces in which equine and human actors come to profound understandings about self and other.