A new charity and youth club that enables disadvantaged children to ride and work with horses was launched in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire on 30 April.
Ride High is the brainchild of former international level three-day eventer and communications director of the British Equestrian Federation, Rachel Medill, with radio DJ and political journalist Jeremy Vine as patron.
Ms Medill said: “We want to provide long term contact with horses for disadvantaged children so they can learn a skill for life.
“We will provide incentives so kids get more and more contact and riding time, if they contribute to the club.
“The majority of the children will have a variety of personal, social or educational needs. They may be involved in destructive behaviour or have a pattern of repeat offending, suffer from low-self esteem or experience social exclusion. Many won’t be in main stream schooling.”
The youth club charity kicked off at Loughton Manor Equestrian Centre with five girls and one boy, all aged between 13 and 14 years old, who came through referrals from youth workers, social workers or schools.
Initial funding has come from the Milton Keynes Community Foundation with legal help from Ralley Solicitors.
More funding is being sought. Ms Medill said: “The challenge is to find the £60,000 we will need to operate when are up to full capacity.
“Most people think of Milton Keynes as a typically middle class, affluent city. However, it has pockets of deep deprivation, some parts falling into the 10 per cent most deprived areas of England.”
Jeremy Vine said: “It is so obviously a good idea – a way of spreading some joy in very troubled times and hopefully giving disadvantaged children a wider horizon. I am delighted to be associated with it from the very outset.”
For more information go to www.ridehigh.org