Rag Tree Equine Assisted Learning

Shelly and Denis

Rag Tree is run by Shelly Berry and Denis O'Connor. Between us we have extensive experience in both the Equine sector and the Youth, Community and Non-formal education sectors spanning 15 years.

Shelly graduated from the University of Ulster with a BSc. (Hons.) Equine Studies and from Athlone Institute of Technology with a Certificate in Business Studies in Equine Studies. She has worked in a number of areas in the Equine sector before eventually discovering E.A.L and decided that this was a service that needed to be introduced to County Wexford. Upon making this decision she went onto complete further training and trained in both Equine Assisted Learning and Therapeutic Horse Riding.

Denis graduated with a BA in Sociology and Geography from N.U.I Maynooth. He then worked as a community artist for 8 years. During this time, he became involved in Peer Education and Non-formal education through the European Peer Training Organisation (EPTO). For the last 8 years, he has worked with FDYS Ltd. the Youth Service in County Wexford. He is currently a Senior Project Worker.

Shelly and Denis are both certified with EAGALA-one of the main umbrella bodies for E.A.L worldwide. We believe in their belief that best practice is to have two professionals working together with the horses.

We believe our setting is key to the success of our programmes. Rag Tree is not a riding school. It is dedicated to therapeutic interactions with the horses. This means that the participants experience is central to everything.

Both are certified in child protection. Shelly holds Occupational First Aid.

Up to this point we have worked with a variety of groups including atrisk youth and young people deemed to have fewer opportunities (socio economicdisadvantage, family breakdown, risk of early school leaving etc) ASD andpeople with a variety of disabilities. This summer saw a change of directionwith the introduction of our therapeutic horse riding service.