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Former H&H deputy news editor

Special Horses charity needs your help to keep going

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A centre that offers equine therapy to children with autism and emotional and behavioural problems will close on 1 October if it cannot find £35,000 to tide it over until the spring.

Lilias Ahmeira set up Special Horses for Special Children (SHFSC), in Chard, Somerset, in May 2010.

It is not a registered charity and she has sunk her own money into the project, in the hope that it would break even.

However it is running at a substantial loss.

Dozens of children with emotional problems and their families have been helped by the system.

Deborah Smith described her son Seth’s progress as “truly amazing”.

“We are experiencing a most remarkable improvement in his behaviour, articulation and communication, levels of anxiety, balance, eating and sleeping,” she said.

Research carried out at SHFSC shows that the motion of canter often prompts a child that has not spoken before to start to talk.

But now it is in financial trouble.

“I have personally been subsidising the whole show and have simply run out of money,” Lilias told H&H.

She had expected the business to break even by early summer this year but due to council cuts and families having to make economies, the company is not able to continue.

Grateful supporters have initiated a fundraising push and SHFSC has been featured on ITV1′s Daybreak and BBC Somerset. But Lilias says they still need more help.

“We need one, or several, fairy godmothers to help us find £35,000,” said Lilias.

“We still have lots of enquiries so I hope we will be able to break even after that.”

They are also seeking a saddler to make special double riding saddles, to allow a small child to be held in front by an instructor.

To help, go to www.specialhorsesforspecialchildren.com or tel: 01460 66990

Originally published on horseandhound.co.uk