Martin Clunes, actor and president of leading equine charity, The British Horse Society (BHS) visited the Limes Equestrian Centre at Wattisfield in Suffolk recently to help launch a new partnership between the BHS and RSPC.
The partnership is a bid to help both neglected horses and young people who are *NEET (not in education, employment or training) under the BHS’s Changing Lives through Horses (CLtH) scheme.
The number of horses being subjected to neglect is at an all-time high and rehoming centres are full. CLtH is now working to get rescued horses from the RSPCA into BHS Approved Riding Centres where they can be rehabilitated alongside participants on the scheme.
Limes Equestrian Centre runs the CLtH programme and is one of the first BHS Approved Riding Centres to rehome two rescue horses, Cobain and Barlow who will work with the young people on the programme.
The programme aims to reignite a desire to learn and encourages participants to return to education or employment. The young people aged from 10 to 24 years old, are more suited to an alternative education due to a range of complex reasons, and the programme helps them to reconnect with society through working with horses.
Martin Clunes, President of the BHS said; “I couldn’t be happier about supporting this new collaboration between the BHS and the RSPCA. I’ve been a massive fan of the BHS’s Changing Lives through Horses programme since it launched three years ago.
“The programme is aimed at the young people and helping them get back into education and the workplace. It’s about learning new skills in a unique environment and now, we are also helping horses to have a new start in life too. It doesn’t get any better.”
For many of the young people on the programme, it is their last opportunity and they have often been referred by their school, local authority or police.
This programme, which is delivered by specially trained BHS Accredited Professional Coaches, gives them the chance to develop their skills enabling them to return to education and/or employment and prevent them from becoming NEET because both charities believe that horses are a powerful, emotive way of inspiring young people to reconnect with society, and the difficult backgrounds experienced by many of the participants makes them particularly able to relate to the horses they are working with.
Gareth Johnson, Equine Welfare Operations Manager at the RSPCA said: “The Changing Lives through Horses 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 886 horses in our care at present; we hope that this collaboration will help to alleviate this problem. ”
This programme relies on public donations and grant funding. Please consider making a donation, visit; bhs.org.uk/changinglivesthroughhorses or text ‘CLTH65 £5’ to 70070 to start changing someone’s life.