Children and adults to benefit from pony therapy group’s grant

A pony therapy group has received a £10,000 grant from the Big Lottery Fund to improve facilities.

PAT Ponies is using the funds to build a new outdoor arena and indoor classroom on the dairy farm in Milton Haven where it is based.

Set up in 2017 by Kari Harris and Laura Combe, both 37, Pat Ponies runs therapy sessions for 30 local children and adults.

Following increasing demand for the services the group became a community interest company (CIC) this year.

Of the 13 ponies on the yard, five are licensed for ridden therapy, the other are on livery or equines from Greenacres Rescue Centre coming for rehabilitation.

The grant will also be used to improve the fencing round the 25-acre site and build 20 new stables.

“We will now be able to have a trained psychotherapist come to the site to offer counselling, well-being and personal growth sessions,” said Ms Harris, who has previously worked in mental health nursing and in a special needs school.

“The grant is essential in enabling us to offer our services to the local community. We cannot thank the Big Lottery Fund enough for this funding.”

Work is due to start on the outdoor arena in the new year, once planning permission has been finalised.

Once built it will provide a safe space for the group’s ground based equine assisted learning sessions.

“Horses are non-judgemental and can help children with autism, ADHT and anxiety issues,” said Ms Harris.

Therapy is either ground based or mounted depending on the clients’ needs.

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The range of programmes offered includes back to nature teenage retreat days and wellness days.

PAT Ponies also runs pony parties and hires out horses for weddings to enable it to run the subsidised therapy sessions and riding lessons.

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