The Centaurus Trust has been chosen to be the Official Charity of the Year for Horse of the Year Show 2019. It works in partnership with Equine Learning CIC to provide therapeutic horsemanship opportunities to disabled and disadvantaged adults, young people and children in Warwickshire, Worcestershire and across the UK.
The charity will feature in the NEW Therapy Area as part of the Meet the Horses Zone in the Retail Village at HOYS, where visitors will have the exciting opportunity to meet and interact with two of their therapy ponies.
It will also provide daily demonstrations in the new feature area, explaining the mental health and personal development benefits of the work they do and demonstrating the effects it has had on the young people they have worked with.
The charity was started in 2007 as a community project lead by Nicola Hepburn, who was first introduced to equine therapy when she volunteered for a local RDA group. In 2005, Nicola trained in Equine Facilitated Learning, something which she found to be completely life changing and sparked her desire to do more.
For her 30th birthday she held a fundraising event which generated £500 and was enough to get the community project underway. Nicola began by offering equine facilitated learning sessions to local disabled and disadvantaged people with her own two horses and a pony. In 2007,
Nicola gave up her full-time job in order to commit more time to running the project, as well as studying for a degree in Equine Studies. In 2008 she set up CIC (Community Interest Company) which enabled her to open her first yard, with four stables, an indoor school and five acres of land.
Once she gained her riding establishment license, she began offering lessons through Equine Learning which helped to fund the community project. In 2009 the community project developed into the Centaurus Trust Charity (registered charity number 1133212) which works in partnership with Equine Learning.
Together they offer personal development through horsemanship to anyone who may benefit, with a particular focus on children and young people with autism and mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.
In the summer of 2010, Equine Learning hosted their first Horse Boy camp, which is a therapeutic method of working with children with autism developed by Rupert Isaacson and his son Rowan. Nicola trained as a Horse Boy practitioner and Equine Learning continues to offer Horse Boy camps throughout the year during school holidays.
In 2014, Nicola moved to the beautiful new and much larger premises of Wootton Park Estate where she started to run more camps with over 20 horses and ponies, securing lottery funding. The centre has a team of 10 members of staff and volunteers who help Nicola to deliver the incredible ethos of the Centaurus Trust Charity and Equine Learning.
She said:“We are blown away to be chosen as the Charity of the Year for such a huge event that is HOYS and we are so excited to be coming along to showcase what we do. It is such a fantastic opportunity for us to raise awareness of our work and the personal development benefits which therapeutic horsemanship provides.”
She added: We will be in the therapy zone every day at HOYS, so please come along and speak to us to find out more.”
This year there are a range of fantastic packages available which can be purchased via the website https://hoys.co.uk/tickets/ or by calling the Box Office on 0844 581 8282. See you there!