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Alternative Education


Our Mission 


Cumbria Rural Academy CIC offers training in fitness, emotional awareness and wellbeing, and promotes the care and welfare of animals within the sport of horse riding.

At Cumbria Rural Academy we offer alternative education provisions using horses. Our purpose is to work with young people to help them find new opportunities and give them the tools and knowledge for their future. We specialise in working with young people that do not feel they fit in with traditional education or struggle with building relationships in the classroom. We treat each of our students as an individual and create an individual learning plan with a chosen pathway to reach their goals.

In each of the alternative education options, we deliver we give young people the opportunity to develop life skills to help set them up for their future. Our focus within our regulated qualifications is on 6 key areas:

  • Communication

  • Confidence

  • Relationships

  • Teamwork

  • Responsibility

  • Resilience

Our coaches are trained to engage with young people and guide them through their chosen education pathway to achieve their agreed goals.


About our Programmes

With each of our programmes, students will have the opportunity to work alongside our coaches and staff members in a working yard. This means they will see how we work, how we care for the horses and how we work with clients. This live working environment will allow students to gain real-world work experience and have positive adult interactions.

Our coaches will show them how to care for the horses with empathy and what responsibilities are involved. They will also show them how to manage their emotions, behaviours and conduct whilst working with the horse and whilst in view of clients. As prey animals, horses are constantly alert to potential danger and are extremely perceptive of their environment and those around them. They are also herd animals, highly aware of the intentions and non-verbal communication of others. These cues are highlighted to the student by our coaches to encourage students to explore responses to their thoughts, feelings, and behaviours.

During the programme, students will be required to use their functional skills to solve problems, complete worksheets and calculate different aspects required for the care of the horse. Using the horses as a real-world example we can help educate students for example.

  • writing instructions for caring for the horse,

  • using maths to calculate the amount of feed needed

  • learning the biology of the horse with the digestive system, skeleton, and functions of the horse's body.


Within the programmes, we have a few standard options to choose from as well as the option to design a bespoke package for a student if it is required. Our qualifications are on the RQF meaning students can gain credits for their education.

  • Half Day Group Package from £45pp

  • Full Day Group Package from £80pp

  • One-to-one provision available on request

About our horses

We work with a range of organisations such as the British Horse Society and RSPCA to help promote and educate the welfare and care of horses. We are dedicated to giving every horse the best opportunity to live a happy and healthy life. This means we have a wide range of horses that have come from a wide range of backgrounds from those rehomed with us from the RSPCA as a welfare case to horses that compete at high-level competitions. We even have horses that started as a rehoming case that has trained, developed and gained enough confidence to be competition horses.

We use each of our individual horses’ stories to help students find a connection with their situations and to also be involved in the horse’s development journey. The students find it easy to relate to the struggle of these horses and it creates a pathway for open communication about their wellbeing.  

Refer a student to us

We recommend getting in touch to discuss the student's requirements and choosing which alternative education pathway may be the most appropriate for your centre.

Telephone 015395 30333


You can refer a student to start their alternative education with us by following these steps:

About Our Coaches

We use experienced coaches that are DBS checked and educated in the use of a variety of coaching techniques so the students can get the most out of their time with us. We also have on our team experienced school teachers with Cert Ed qualifications who add tremendous value to tailoring our education packages to the national curriculum. Our coaches are all passionate about alternative education and horse welfare which they share with our students.

We have staff members that have also gone through the alternative education pathway, giving the students examples of their journey and how it has led to a career in horse care and education. This lands well with students as they can see there are future options for them and the staff members can give real examples of what helped them when choosing this pathway.

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