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Royal visit to riding school dedicated to changing young lives

23 Jan 2020


Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, Vice-Patron of leading equestrian charity, The British Horse Society (BHS) visited Parbold Equestrian Centre in Wigan today (Thursday 23 January) to meet young people who are enrolled on the charity’s Changing Lives through Horses (CLtH) scheme.

Changing Lives through Horses

CLtH is delivered by specially trained BHS Accredited Professional Coaches and aims to reignite a desire to learn in people aged between 10 and 24 years old who are at risk of becoming *NEET (not in education, employment or training). The scheme encourages them to reconnect with society whilst working alongside horses as the participants are often suited to an alternative education environment for a range of complex reasons.

Recently, the BHS also partnered with RSPCA to rehome rescued horses into BHS Approved Centres across the country, where the scheme takes place. Parbold Equestrian Centre is one of the first BHS Approved Riding Centres to rehome three rescue horses, Slinky, Trooper and Bungle who will work with the young people on the programme.

The two charities decided to come together as equine rehoming centres are becoming full and the number of horses being subject to neglect is at an all-time high. By placing these horses into Changing Lives Centres, they can be rehabilitated alongside the young people who are currently on the scheme. Many of those on the programme have been referred by their school, local authority or police and it is often their last opportunity to develop their skills in order to return to education and/or employment. The difficult backgrounds experienced by many of the participants makes them particularly able to relate to the horses they are working with.

Tracy Casstles, Director of Fundraising of the BHS says: “We are delighted that our Vice-Patron, The Princess Royal, has been able to witness the wonderful bond developing between the young people on our scheme and RSPCA’s rescue horses. Her Royal Highness has dedicated so much of her time to the equestrian industry and with Parbold being one of the first centres to launch the Changing Lives scheme back in 2017, it feels extra special for all those involved.”

Gareth Johnson, Equine Welfare Operations Manager at the RSPCA says: “The Changing Lives through Horse Programme is undoubtedly one of the best schemes I have been involved with in rehoming RSPCA rescue horses. This is a fantastic opportunity for young people and horses to come together and interact. The RSPCA has more than 800 horses in our care at present; we hope that this collaboration will help to alleviate this problem.”

Stephen Bennett, Parbold Equestrian Proprietor said “It is an honour and privilege to host the visit of Her Royal Highness. Our team works hard to rehabilitate rescue horses from the RSPCA who in turn teach the vulnerable children and adults to develop empathy and regulate emotional and physical behaviour.”


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