Welcome Packet

Empowered Equines

273 Cider Hill Rd. York, ME 03909

Our program aims to be a special part of our local community, providing education about ethical animal keeping. While we take many animals in need, including donkeys, sheep and ponies/minis, we try to focus on draft horses – animals frequently left behind or overlooked by other rescue organizations. With the combination of volunteers, students, and staff we work to rehabilitate the rescued animals physically, emotionally, and behaviorally. With proper medical care, nutrition, and enriched daily lives, our animals thrive. From here we work on behavioral rehabilitation and training enrichment with positive reinforcement.

Daily Chores: (we will help find chores that are right for you)

AM Hay
Extra things to do:
AM grain + soup
Turn out (weather dependent)
Organize brushes/toys
Let out Chickens + Ducks
Pick paddocks
Water (inside + outside if needed)
Clean feed or tack room
Clean stalls
Set up agility obstacles
Train animals (weather dependent)
Clean hay loft
Clean up around farm
Clean chicken coop
Lunch Hay
Tend garden
Turn in
Repair fences
Bring in Chickens + Ducks
Groom animals
Top off water
Graze horses
PM Hay
Build obstacles
PM Grain + soup
Weed whack

Make/give enrichment toys

EE Expectations:

Kindness is our foundationAsk for help when needed
Speak with kindnessProvide help when asked nicely
Ask before going in with an animalAsk if you’re unsure about anything
Reinforce good behaviorAvoid running, shouting, or frightening the animals
Share your thoughts and feelings, we want to helpPut tools away when done
Leave things nicer than you found themPut trash in the trash barrel/recycling bin
Clean up after yourselfDump your own muck bucket
Train in pairsAvoid using punishment
Wear weather appropriate clothes (closed toed shoes)Watch your fingers and toes!

What is Positive Reinforcement?

Positive Reinforcement (R+) is a fancy way of saying we reward good behavior. We encourage a behavior to happen more by adding something the learner likes. With horses, we feed them a treat when they do behaviors we ask for. We use a smoochy sound to mark the moment the horse did the right behavior, so they know why they’re getting that treat. For example, we ask our horse to back up and make a smooch sound when they do the right thing, then feed them a treat.
This is a kinder way to communicate with our horses which behaviors we want them to do and when they’ve done the right thing. We do not push, pull, hit, kick, smack, pinch, flick, or otherwise upset our animals here. We ask nicely with cues we have taught (we will teach you these) and reward good behavior. This makes it fun for the horse to want to do the things we ask.

No Punishment?

Instead of using punishment we try to set our animals up for success. We use food, toys, barriers, and set up the environment to make it easy for our horses to do the right thing and difficult (or impossible) to do the wrong things. We will show you techniques to empower the animals and safely avoid needing to use punishment.