Collaboration and Impact of Equine Facilitated Therapy in Northern Ireland

Monday 23rd January 2023

One Equine Trust are working in collaboration with Ulster University to host an Equine Facilitated Therapy workshop for Allied Health Professionals in Northern Ireland. Please see the short paragraphs below for more information on each of the speakers that will be presenting at the event.


Professor Hugh McKenna

Until recently, was Dean of Medical School Development and PVC Research and Innovation at Ulster University. He has over 250 publications, including 17 books, his latest, on research impact. He was appointed Commander of the British Empire and is a Fellow of four prestigious organisations. In 2013, he received the Outstanding Achievement Award by the Royal College of Nursing and in 2014, a lifetime achievement Award for his contribution to mental health nursing. In a 2018 Government report he was named one of the most influential nurses in the 70-year history of the NHS. In 2019 and 2020, he received two Honorary Doctorates and held 7 international visiting professorships. In 2021, he was appointed Member of the Academia Europaea and Member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts. He sits on the Department of Health’s Clinical Ethics Forum and is a Non-Executive Director of the WHSC Trust and a Trustee of Alzheimer’s Society UK.

Session 1

Orlagh Daly

Orlagh Daly is a HCPC registered Occupational Therapist and a member of Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT). Orlagh is an Occupational Therapy Lecturer as well as Course Director at Ulster University. Orlagh completed the Department of Health funded pilot course in Equine Facilitated Therapy and has been involved in developing the post graduate modules in Equine Facilitated Therapy at Ulster University. Orlagh is also a committee member of Equine Facilitated Occupational Therapy UK (EFOT-UK).

Rachel Annan

Rachel Annan is an Equine Technologist for the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) and works with equine businesses, organisations, and individual owners to encourage knowledge transfer, innovation and the adoption of new technologies and developments to improve the health, welfare and performance of horses in the industry. CAFRE provide a range of industry training courses which meet the needs those working in the equine industry.

Session 2

Nicci Hall

Nicci Hall is an Educational Psychologist who has vast experience assessing and supporting children and adults who present with a broad range of special educational needs. Her training includes a Degree in Psychology, a Post Graduate Certificate in Education, a Masters in Developmental and Educational Psychology along with additional training in Attention Autism and PECs. Nicci is an experienced Autism diagnostician, is a Lego Therapy facilitator and TEACCH trainer. Nicci has combined her personal interest in horses with her passion for supporting children and adults with additional needs to also provide Equine Assisted Learning interventions.

Session 3

Laura Norman

Laura is a HCPC registered Speech and Language Therapist and a member of Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT). She has experience of working in both the NHS and private practice. Laura currently works with children and young people aged 3-19 with a wide range of needs including profound, multiple and complex conditions, autistic spectrum conditions and severe learning difficulties. Laura has over 25 years riding experience and is founder of Equine Facilitated Speech and Language Therapy UK (EFSLT-UK).

Session 4

Terri Brosnan

Terri Brosnan is head of the Equine Assisted Therapy Unit in ChildVision, the national education centre for visually impaired children in Ireland. Terri has a lifetime of equine experience having worked as an instructor, yard manager, and business and marketing consultant to the equine industry. In ChildVision she has assembled a team of equine specialists and therapists, working together to provide a unified approach to equine assisted services. She is one of the founders of Equine Assisted Ireland and is a member of the AIRE (Association Irish Riding Establishments) executive council. With Childvision, she has recently developed a syllabus for a new education program for AIRE and Horse Sport Ireland to upskill existing riding instructors to Therapeutic Riding Coaches.

Session 5

Clare Gardiner

Clare Gardiner is an Occupational Therapist by background who has worked with children with physical, learning and mental health disabilities and difficulties for 20 years. Clare currently manages SET Outdoors; a new and innovative service from the South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust (SEHSCT) Health Development Department. The aim of SET Outdoors is to support SEHSCT Children’s Services to improve the health, wellbeing and quality of life of vulnerable young people via engagement in purposeful, outdoor activities and/or therapy.

Susan Spratt

Susan Spratt is the British Horse Society (BHS) Manager for Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Susan is a graduate of Queen’s University Belfast having been awarded a Degree in Chemistry and a Postgraduate Diploma in Business Administration. She worked for the Ulster Bank for a number of years prior to commencing work with the BHS 22 years ago. Over this period, she has covered the length and breadth of Ireland promoting the aims and objectives of the organisation, including the two current Equine Facilitated Learning programmes, the ‘Changing Lives Through Horses’ and ‘The British Horse Society Ireland Learning with Horses Programme’.

Clare McMonagle

Clare McMonagle is one of the part time Occupational therapy lecturers at Ulster University. The remainder of her time is spent in private practice as director of Gortilea Social Farm CIC. There, Clare leads a team to deliver person centred interventions including social farming placements, nature-based learning programmes and Equine Assisted Therapy and Learning through individual and group interventions. She works in partnership with local riding schools and Riding for the Disabled organisations. Clare has recently completed a MSc in Advancing Practice with research in this area and hopes to continue to build on this work.

Gwen Garrett

Gwen Garrett has been the backbone of Omagh RDA Centre for more than 30 years She served on the RDA UK education committee as well as the Northern Ireland Regional Committee. She is currently a County Coach and the Northern Ireland Dressage representative. She has been responsible for developing activities at Omagh in many different directions including working with Education Other Than at School (EOTAS) children, partnering with local AHP’s to deliver services, and embracing EFL activities as well. Her enthusiasm for all things RDA related have been an inspiration to participants and volunteers within her own group and across Northern Ireland.

Eveline Milne

Eveline Milne is an Occupational Therapist. She has worked with adults with learning disabilities for many years and since 2018 within the Adult Learning Disability Forensic Team in the SHSCT. Eveline has completed an MSc in Advancing Practice in Occupational Therapy, a Post Grad Certificate in Sensory Integration and training in Sensory Attachment Interventions. Recent training in Equine Facilitated Therapy has brought a new approach in providing OT interventions, in discovering the equine environment to be a rich sensory resource to address sensory issues with service users and focus their attention in developing activities of daily living skills.

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