Een paardrijder op een paard.

Developing personal skills through horse riding

TLC voucher project
2022 until 2024
Project member(s)
Dr Ossenkop, C. (Carolin)
Project type

Reason for this project

University education is mainly set up in a way that promotes learning and training cognitive skills. For developing professional and personal skills such as working together, setting boundaries, and dealing with insecurities, a different approach is required. How can implementing therapeutic horse riding in the study programme support this?

Within their study programme, students are expected to learn personal and professional skills such as working together, making a schedule, and setting work boundaries. These are cultivated by experience, reflection, and experimentation. But due to the strong emphasis on cognitive learning at the university, these skills are insufficiently trained. Consequently, students struggle with this a lot.

By leaving the classroom and entering the field, these skills can be properly developed. Horse riding lends itself excellently to this. Horses are forgiving, honest, and sensitive to their environment, which causes them to instantly and intuitively react to body language or behaviour.

That is why Carolin Ossenkop's goal for this voucher project is setting up a learning environment in which professional and personal skills are be developed through concrete activities with horses. There activities are shaped based on Kolb's learning cycle, which consists of gaining concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualisation, and active experimentation.

A visual representation of Kolb's learning cycle
A simplified overview of Kolb's learning cycle

Approach within the project

Firstly, for setting up this learning environment, research will be conducted to find out which topics are suitable for therapeutic horse riding and which materials are needed for this. This is being researched in consultation with several relevant parties, such as the Honours Academy, some PhD programmes, or other interested parties at Radboud University. Afterwards, discussions will take place on how these sessions can be financed so that they can be offered in the regular curriculum, as well as how to make them attractive to participate in.


This project is funded by a TLC-voucher from the Radboud Teaching and Learning Centre. That voucher programme has the goal to set up projects in the field of educational innovation, lecturer development and educational research.

Contact information

Would you like to know more? Do not hesitate to contact the voucher stakeholder.