Linda at Horse Boy World in Texas

Horse Boy World: Memories from a special visit

Linda Tellington-Jones at Horse Boy World

During my horse workshop in Cedar Creek, Texas several years  ago, I had the pleasure of having Horse Boy program director, Iliane Lorenz and interns in the 4-day training along with two of their wonderful horses from The Horse Boy program, Spirit and Marvel. After my training I went to visit Their center, just 30 minutes away in Elgin. I was impressed and enchanted by the atmosphere they have created at this unique learning center “Horses helping kids with autism”.

Iliane jumps with a Liberty neck ring

Although horses are at the core of the program there is much, much more.

Founder Rupert Isaacson has developed a special learning program for his autistic son Rowan, to replace traditional public education.

I was first at The Horse Boy farm three years ago and met Rupert and Rowan. I had read Rupert’s book, The Horse Boy, and seen the film (same name as the book and is available from Netflix). I was grateful and impressed to see the changes in Rowan.

After that visit I went with Rupert and Iliane one evening to downtown Austin where they brought horses into a park next to a major shopping store. the Horse Boy program is provided without charge to autistic families and the horses are brought into the city for the convenience of working parents who cannot make it out to the Horse Boy farm.

Long lining at horse boy world

On the evening in Austin, parents had the choice of riding with their autistic kids or taking a break, shop or enjoy a glass of wine.

A student and facilitator and horse at Horse Boy World

In The Horse Boy program  Kids ride in a western saddle in front of a staff member and sometimes with a parent. Some of the horses are driven from behind rather than lead, Which I find much nicer for horse and rider. And some of the horses are specially trained to canter almost on the spot called “Terre A Terre” which kids love.

A wonderful horse teacher at Horse Boy WOrld

On my second visit I was so impressed by the changes in three years. They now have a covered arena nestled in the forest with an inviting gravel walkway leading into the trees that gave me the feeling of being in a fairy tale. Everything is designed to bring autistic kids ( and their families) in connection with nature and animals – horses, goats, dogs, cats, chickens and others,  in an inspiring and natural manner. learning and play is woven in a brilliant way that does not feel at all like therapy and yet includes arithmetic and spelling in an intuitive learning style.

Forest Walk with horses and kids at HOrse Boy Horses

Families come with their autistic children for The Horse Boy “Play Dates” from all over the USA and around the world. When I was there young interns from France, Italy, Canada and the UK were learning the Horse Boy Method to take back to their countries.

I lead a group of 14 TTouch enthusiasts from four countries to share TTouch with the parents of children on the autism spectrum.

Riding double at Horse Boy World

I am awestruck by the gifts Rupert brings to the world of autism. In less than 10 years he has developed three successful internationally recognized programs for children on the autism spectrum.

A quote from the book describes the three programs:

“The therapeutic riding program that Rowan and his horse Betsy helped to create – called Horse Boy Method – is now in 11 countries and growing. The two programs that include kinetic learning techniques learned from horses but do not include horses are: The homeschooling module – Horse Boy Learning – and Movement Method, the brain training technique that works in homes, gardens, classrooms, parks, anywhere –inspired by the oxytocin/brain/nervous system connection that Betsy and Rowan helped us discover. The three programs have now been studied at the University of Texas, the University of Belmont, the University of Osnebrueck in Germany, the University of Gothenburg in Sweden and the University of Nottingham Trent in the U.K. Doctors in Germany are recommending the programs for autism parents and practitioners alike.

Ruperty Issacson riding at Horse Boy World

I am so passionate over sharing information about autism because I believe it impacts us all, whether or not we are directly involved. The numbers of children on the autism spectrum has risen alarmingly – one source I found stated a 600% increase since the first diagnosis. The CDC – U.S. Center for Disease Control – states that one out of every 45 boys currently fall in the autism spectrum, with the numbers increasing annually.

For information go to to discover Brain Building & Kinetic Learning, Equine Therapy, Online courses and workshops, How to become a Practitioner, and find a Horse Boy Center . There are now 17 centers in North America, 21 in Europe and 2 in South Africa! On their website you can also support the program or learn how to start one in your area.

I have read more than 15 books on autism but at the top of my recommended reading list of inspiring books are by authors Rupert is in touch with – two mothers who followed their intuitive knowing about their children labelled as autistic and unteachable in the traditional educational system: Kristine Barnett and Arabella Carter-Johnson. Their books, The Spark: A Mother’s Story of Nurturing Genius and Iris Grace: The story of a little girl whose talent unlocked her silent worldare both demonstrative of Rupert’s approach of respecting, listening and letting the child lead.


You can support the work of Horseboy World by connecting through their website to the donation choices.  You can also join me by ordering from Five percent of what I buy goes to Horseboy World.

After releasing his book The Long Ride Home in 2015, Rupert joined us on my monthly ZOOM book club, brilliantly co-hosted by Elinor Silverstein. Our hour-long program turned into 90 minutes because none of us wanted to stop.


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