At Ride High we use horses to connect with children in a way other more traditional interventions such as counselling fail. Many of them won't speak but they'll put their arms around a horse and whisper in its ear – and that’s where the transformation starts. Over a period of 3-12 months, dependent on each child’s needs and progress, we use this connection and the children's new-found interest in horses to engage them in a weekly educational programme that supports their mental and physical health and wellbeing. Time spent riding and caring for the horses provides vulnerable children with a challenge and something to look forward to each week. Although some of our children have no positive relationships when they first come to us, they can build strong bonds with horses relatively easily. As they learn new skills their confidence and self-esteem increase. In the presence of the ponies, they learn to manage negative feelings and anxieties, to feel calmer, more resilient and happier.
To help meet the growing demand for mental health services in Milton Keynes we have recently increased the number of children we work with each week from 80 to 120. Through the ‘Kind 2 Mind’ campaign we are hoping to raise £5,000 in just one week to purchase a new pony to support these extra children.