The Mare and Foal Sanctuary has launched a new equine assisted wellbeing programme for women and girls aged 16 and over at our Equestrian and Education Centre near Newton Abbot. The programme has been generously funded by Sport England as part of the This Girl Can campaign, which is aimed at encouraging physical activity amongst women and girls.
Exercise with Equines will see up to 36 women and girls spend time outdoors learning the basics of horse care and actively working with rescued horses and ponies who have all been specially picked to work with people. The equines come from a range of backgrounds, but all enjoy spending time with humans. Both people and horses are supported in the sessions by members of staff dedicated to their wellbeing.
Dawn Neil, Head of Education explains: “Although many women are active in equestrian sports already, we wanted to attract women and girls who may never have had the opportunity to interact with equines before and introduce them to the physical and mental benefits. Since Covid, many people have struggled with their mental wellbeing and are less active than they used to be. We can offer a safe, supportive space that allows participants to recharge mentally whilst also being active.”
Each session involves physical activities which help to care for the rescued horses and ponies. The women and girls will learn about basic stable and field management, grooming and filling hay nets. Sessions also include focused time working with the rescued horses and ponies through gentle activity supported by an accredited professional coach. This might involve in-hand walks around the site, basic leading and agility work or long reining in the indoor arena.
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