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Lilly's story

Find out how joining our Changing Lives through Horses programme helped Lilly develop key life skills

  • Last reviewed: 6th October 2023

UK riding schools are the lifeblood of equestrian participation and learning to ride can be the start of something life changing – a journey of wellbeing. Since 2018, we’ve lost 15% of Britain’s riding schools – that’s the equivalent of losing more than 1.5 million riding lessons per year.

Nine-year-old Lilly has experienced first-hand just how important our riding schools are and how forming a bond with horses can help you to develop key life skills.

Lilly first rode a horse when she was four-years-old and hasn’t looked back since – riding, the stables, Pony Club and pony events were her passion. Lilly is neurodiverse with social and emotional difficulties and has issues with cognition and learning. As a result of her complex needs, by the age of eight, she couldn’t be accommodated in either mainstream or specialist schools and faced being isolated and outside of education.

She was signed up to our Changing Lives through Horses programme, at Limes Equestrian in Suffolk, which quickly became her sanctuary. At school Lilly would struggle to complete a full day without support, but since her first Changing Lives through Horses session she’s participated in full five-hour sessions without extra support.

Lilly’s Dad described her experience as “life changingly beneficial”, he said: “She is proud of her achievements and eager to learn more – Changing Lives through Horses has shown her that she is capable and, in the right environment, able to do so much.”

He added: “To see her so happy and learning with other children is fantastic and we thoroughly recommend this program to those with children such as Lilly.”

If you’d like to give other young people a chance to experience the special bond between horse and equine, please consider donating to our Changing Lives through Horses programme and read more about our Keep Britain Riding campaign to help us safeguard the future of equestrianism.