We’ve been using equine therapy as a way of growing confidence and developing skills for both staff and our supported people. Keith Milligan runs several programme initiatives, including 'connecting through horses'. Not only is it good for health and wellbeing, it's also a great volunteer opportunity. 

Through the Drum Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA), the horses benefit the lives of over 200 disabled children and adults every week. Providing therapy, fitness, skills development and opportunities for achievement – all supported by amazing volunteers and qualified coaches — they help change the lives of riders and those that we support.

Equine assisted therapy is a holistic experience and a highly specialised form of therapy. It works via collaboration between horse and handler. Drum has been offering disabled people of all ages and skills the opportunity to experience equine therapy since 1959. They have highly skilled staff and very well-mannered ponies. 

Barbara Rush, a Carr Gomm support practitioner, said: “As a former horse owner, I understand that being around horses, focussing on their care; grooming, feeding and looking after them reduces stress and improves overall health. This is the foundation of equine therapy.

“I recently supported two ladies to embrace the benefits of connecting through horses, and although there was nervousness at the beginning, with reassurance and encouragement, they began to really enjoy the experience.”

Both ladies were paired with a delightful bay pony called Mr. Bob. They spent time under the guidance of RDA staff, with Barbara introducing Mr. Bob and encouraging the ladies to get to know him. They spoke to him and began to relax. By the end of the session, both had spent time alone with their pony and the beginning of a bond was starting to show. 

 

Mr.Bob

Barbara added: “Throughout the session, Bob remained relaxed. At one point a lady asked me if the pony liked her. I explained his falling asleep was a sign of an incredibly happy horse.

“The opportunity afforded to me in accompanying people to each session will stay with me for a long time. The approaches used and the staff involved were remarkable.”

Learning about the husbandry of horses not only teaches the practical skills involved in the care of animals, but also about building trust, encouraging a strong work ethic, and developing confidence in your own abilities and self-worth.

 If you would like to find out more about receiving support from Carr Gomm, get in touch via our online form.