Lived Experience

We have lived experience of how horses and ponies make a difference to our lives.  We know how to make a difference to other people’s lives through horses.

We’ll be sharing stories from our staff, supporters, learners, Sanctuary at Home carers and volunteers of their personal experiences of how horses and ponies have made a lasting impression on their lives and how their experiences have shaped their future.

Prior to the restrictions due to the coronavirus crisis pandemic, our education team were continuing their work with young adults, who are not in full time education, training or employment, through our equine assisted vocational training and personal development programmes. One of these participants is Jacob, a fifteen-year-old, who was diagnosed with dyslexia four years ago.

Jacob’s mum Cheryl said “Whilst his primary school understood how this can interfere with learning, his secondary school lacked the relevant experience. We felt let down by the system, and like many these days, we decided to opt for home schooling. “The Sanctuary has been a lifeline and the change in Jacob has been striking. He’s always loved horses, and this has given him a real sense of belonging, of being a valued part of something so worthwhile. On top of that, it’s inspired him to plan his future. It’s giving him ideas, opening doors. It’s very positive in every way.”

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Sanctuary at Home carer and GB Para Dressage rider, Anna-Mae Cole, recently rehomed Wilma.

Anna-Mae has CMT, a degenerative muscle wasting disease, and Cherubism.

“I started riding when I was 11 and my passion just took off from there. I completed a Level 3 Extended Diploma at Bicton College and have competed for GB in Para Dressage. I was full time in a wheelchair before I started riding horses and I owe everything to them. They are the reason I get out of bed in the morning.”

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Ann joined the Mare and Foal Sanctuary team as a volunteer at our Yelverton yard. Here she shares her experience of her first day and what being with horses and ponies means to her.

‘It seems I am drawn to where horses are and they enrich my life so much now. I could never stop being with them.’

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