Our founder Rachel Medill, on Ride High
I got my first pony when I was 9, but it was at the age of 14 that the first equine love of my life appeared in the form of Miskish a white pony with flecks of black and brown.
I simply adored Miskish without reservation; I talked about him; I was homesick for him when I was away weekly boarding; I drew him; I kissed him endlessly on the nose (to my mother's horror she had visions of me losing half my face as he snapped at a fly). I knew that he would never hurt me. However as well as all that he was thrilling to ride. He was so brilliant at cross country jumps that we flew round all the courses never picking up a single penalty.
It was Miskish that I turned to when my mother was very seriously, possibly terminally, ill when she went away to America for treatment. We had no idea when she would be back. "I'm hoping to be home for Christmas but that may not be possible", she said as she left on 5th December. I was all too aware that she might not come back to us at all. I would come back from school sit on his back in the stable and cry into his mane.
Many years later I would find a letter written by my father to my mother at this time which said, "Rachel disappears to the stables but I have to urge her to actually ride. She prefers just to sit with Miskish in the stable".
I'm sure that this was a key experience that led to setting up Ride High 30 years later, in 2008.
Eleven years on Ride High has gone from strength to strength. We have operated during a time of increasing economic difficulty and have managed to keep increasing the number of children we help thanks to our grant funders, our corporate supporters and the many individuals who give not only money but their time.
88 children come to Ride High every week and 37 acres in the centre of Milton Keynes is now the The Ride High Equestrian Centre - a forever home for the charity and home to the equestrian centre business without which we couldn’t afford to have this amazing place – in 2020 for the first time it will generate profit that will support the charity’s work.
The strength of Ride High lies in two things.
- The breadth of the work we do. To see children doing team photography and craft projects, going on trips, participating in riding displays, making presentations about Ride High and, above all, making friends is to watch them building their self confidence and ability to cope with life more robustly.
- The skill, passion and dedication of the staff and volunteers who work with us to make a difference, whether that be face to face with the children or helping with fundraising or in our office.
"At Ride High we all love what we do. It is an extraordinary privilege to work with young people who gradually discover they have so much they want to do in life."