“As part of my job as a Safeguarding Lead in Education, I’d referred numerous young people to The Mare and Foal Sanctuary’s Equine Assisted Services and seen the positive impact that equine assisted learning sessions had on the young people in my care. In fact, it was when I was at The Mare and Foal Sanctuary accompanying a young person that the subject of me attending an equine assisted wellbeing session myself first came up.
“At the time I was at a point in my life where I was experiencing a lot of stress in my personal and work life. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to experience the kind of intervention that I’d seen others benefitting from.
“My first session was very interesting. I’d always been an animal lover and based in the countryside, but I’d never had the chance to get up close with a horse before. Having the opportunity to build a connection with a large animal was moving. Through grooming and spending time with the horse in my session I developed respect and built a relationship with him.
“As the sessions went on and my confidence grew, I could really feel the benefits. The blind touch, which involved stroking my hands across the horse’s body with my eyes closed, and silent approach, where I approached the horse quietly and stopped every time he moved, felt particularly moving. The sessions were excellent for calming the mind and shutting out the pressures from the outside world.
“It’s being with the equine partner that makes the sessions so impactful. After doing equine assisted wellbeing with The Mare and Foal Sanctuary I certainly understand, at a much deeper intrinsic level, the benefits of developing a bond with a horse. I can especially see the calming qualities they can bring to body and mind.
“Now I’ve finished my own sessions I plan to promote the amazing work that The Mare and Foal Sanctuary do whenever I get the opportunity. I can now refer others with the knowledge and first-hand experience of how the sessions can really help in tackling the issues we face with our mental health, something that is even more prominent since the pandemic.
“I want to thank The Mare and Foal Sanctuary for this opportunity. It has been a great experience.”