What people say about Taking the Reins

Our project is currently open 6 days a week.  We always want to know what people enjoy about their experience and strive to maintain high standards and ensure visitors wish to return in the future.  We appreciate any suggestions and comments and often receive lovely cards, emails and thank you letters from parents, volunteers, teachers and participants who have thoroughly valued their time with us.

Please note some names may have been changed for data protection reasons:


Molly Evans, who has completed a Junior Equine Facilitated Learning Experience 10 week course and then went onto train as a young volunteer and helps with some of the activities on a Saturday. A few words from Molly's parents who are pleased with her progress since starting at Taking the Reins.

Taking the Reins has made such a positive difference to Molly's life, she has more confidence in herself and made friendships she has never been able to achieve at school and in other social circles.  Also her general stability has improved considerably.


Gail Duncan, a teacher from a School who have brought children to work with the horses since the project was launched and they still attend. 

‘Northgate is a secondary special school for pupils with MLD and SLD. Groups of six pupils, supported by staff take part in a 10 week programme, which aims to build self esteem, self awareness and encourages working together in a whole group, part of a pair or individually.  The pupils are encouraged to build relationships with both ponies and the volunteers throughout each programme, staff who work with the pupils and also staff at school have noticed the pupils levels of confidence rise as the weeks progress e.g. shy pupils “come out” of themselves and are able to take a more active role in school life, pupils who find making relationships with their peers difficult, have been able to bond with their special pony and this has enhanced their relationship skills in the wider world.’


Wendy is an adult volunteer who's profession had been mainly involved with working with children and young people.

'I would recommend this course to anyone who works with disabled and socially disadvantaged children as the benefits are immense, even children who use wheelchairs are able to take part fully in all activities.'


Nicole first contacted us after picking up a leaflet in a local shop, she asked if her daughter Lucy could come to a session over the summer.

Nicole explained that Lucy had been diagnosed with a life limiting condition and spent a lot of her time in a children's hospice. Nicole wanted to "make memories" for her family and we suggested that she come with her husband and two sons as well. We organised a special afternoon for the whole family. The family enjoyed spending time together grooming and being with the horses and ponies. Lucy loved grooming Pieskeo and enjoyed feeling all his different textures with her feet. We ran a sensory treasure hunt with the ponies and the family had the chance to be really creative and paint one of the ponies!

"It was great to enjoy a day together as a family.  Everybody got so much out of it.  I was amazed how much effort the Facilitators had put into tailoring the session for us.  The day was packed with really innovative activities.  The nature of Lucy’s disabilities means she is really limited in terms of what she can actually do.  However, she thoroughly enjoyed exploring the treasure buckets, as well as pony painting.  It truly brought 'Country Connections' to Lucy on a sensory level.  I think she learnt a lot from the day and was so infectiously happy.  Both her brothers thoroughly enjoyed themselves too.  Thanks so much.  I've recommended the project to other parents at school" Nicole, Lucy’s Mum.


The Watson Family

“Neil loves coming to Taking the Reins. On the way over in the car he will talk endlessly about going to see the horses. Talking is not easy for Neil, which was the main reason I got in contact with the project. Neil has one-sided cerebral palsy and the muscles in his mouth are affected so he is difficult to understand. Neil had become very aware of this and was starting to display loss of confidence, whispering words he expected to get wrong and refusing to repeat things. Taking the Reins has really helped with this as Neil has learnt to use a big voice to work with the horses.

More than anything he loves leading a horse across the yard in his walking frame. Neil was on a real high the day he was able to make Peiskeo run through the round pen by making himself really tall and using a very big voice. Incredibly important is the way Neil is taken 'as is' by everyone working at Taking the Reins - his disability is a part of him but the team don't talk about it and just make subtle adjustments where needed. After a long week at special school seeing Physio and Speech Therapists and doing exercises, it is very important to have somewhere he can just be himself.”  Neil’s Mum.