Updated: Nov 8, 2020
When thinking of Ride High, most people will associate them with 'horse riding' and 'horses', which is correct, however they are so much more than an Equestrian Centre.
On Wednesday 1st July I was invited by the lovely Helen Dixon, Group Fundraising and Marketing Manager to come and visit, she took me around the Equestrian Centre and the Charity part of the park. Ride high are on 37 Acres of land that's owned by The Parks Trust, they have Ride High Equestrian Centre which provides horse riding for children, and then they have their charity, Ride High who support disadvantaged children.
Ride High are not just a charity but a second family to so many. The horses are picked at a certain temperament, so they know they will become a good friend to the children. The children who join Ride High will ride them and build a relationship with the horses (which they may not be able to do with people). Equine assisted learning is all about how the horses reflect behaviour so the children learn how to feel, be clear and understand how to behave in certain situations. They extend their imagination and give their horses personalities, I personally met a few and straight away I wanted to picture what they like to eat, how they are feeling and it felt heartwarming when the horses popped their heads out to see who arrived.
Ride High's children are learn right from the basics - from start, which is educating the children about everything the horse, and then help build their confidence, most go around being led and then some all the way to walk, trot, cantering and some flat jumps etc. Every week they learn new skills which helps with teamwork, self esteem and socialising - some of the children that join the family may not be aware of these skill sets but are not only supported by the instructors/tutors but also by the peers in their group.
Just like many charities in Milton Keynes, Covid-19 has made a huge impact as they've had to stop this routine for the children who really needed this the most. Ride High for most children is their time to be themselves, their time to socialise and make new relationships - this had to be changed quickly once Covid-19 but this didn't stop Ride High from supporting Children.
Ride High's education part, included working together and creating different projects. Helen discussed one called 'as seen by' which was to do with George Stubbs, they had to recreate the images through photography - they worked together as a team to recreate photos, everyone had roles they were comfortable with, and even better, this project was partnered with the MK Gallery and the children loved the fact they could tell everyone what they had created.
They have continued the educating the children and carrying on learning new skills via 'Ride high by post' and the way they have done it is incredible. They send a weekly activities pack with materials such as making post cards, sock puppets, horse windows and many more.
Ride High still need your help in raising awareness and donations - there will be further posts in the next coming weeks on how they are adapting, so please do keep an eye on this blog post.