Changing lives: rescued horses’ new start helping troubled young people

Rescued ponies will be used to help troubled young people who are not in education, employment or training in a new partnership between the BHS and RSPCA.

The initiative expands on the BHS’s established Changing Lives Through Horses (CLTH) scheme, while helping find a job for the thousands of neglected horses taken in by the RSPCA each year.

CLTH is working to get rescued horses from the RSPCA into BHS approved riding centres where they can be rehabilitated alongside young adults enrolled in the scheme.

The project was launched by actor and BHS president Martin Clunes at Limes Equestrian Centre, Suffolk last Tuesday (8 Octpber). The centre is one of the first BHS-approved premises to rehome two rescue horses, Cobain and Barlow.

“I’ve been a massive fan of the BHS’s Changing Lives through Horses programme since it launched three years ago. The programme is aimed at young people and helping them get back into education and the workplace. It’s about learning new skills in a unique environment and now, we are also helping horses to have a new start in life too. It doesn’t get any better,” Martin said.

The BHS said CLTH, which is taught by professional coaches, aims to “reignite a desire to learn” and “encourages participants to return to education or employment”.

The charities believe horses are a “powerful, emotive way of inspiring young people to reconnect with society” and that the difficult backgrounds experienced by many of the participants makes them “particularly able to relate to the horses they are working with”.

The scheme targets young people aged between 10 and 24who are more suited to an “alternative education”, for often complex reasons, and helps them to “reconnect with society”.

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Joining the CLTH programme is often a last-ditch opportunity for participants, who are usually referred by schools, local authorities or the police.

RSPCA equine welfare operations manager Gareth Johnson  said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for young people and horses to come together and interact. The RSPCA has 886 horses in our care at present; we hope that this collaboration will help to alleviate this problem. ”

The RSPCA has recently launched a rehoming drive after figures showed it rescued more than 90 horses a month in 2018.

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