It all began over 15 years ago when we were living in Sennen. I agreed to take in this 30 something year old mare destined to become meat and a ‘not quite right’ slightly loopy thoroughbred as a companion. To accommodate these horses we bought a second hand pair of mobile stables which we erected in the garden and rented the adjoining field.
Because Bob and I were working 24/7 at our shops in St Ives we decided we needed help with the horses, and thought a couple of teenage girls would fit the bill. Bob set off to our nearby post office to put a ‘Help with Horses’ card in the window, but the post office owner said that wouldn’t be necessary as his daughter and her best friend would love to help us. And so Lily and Lizzie aged 11 years turned up for interview.
We thought the girls would last about a week, but seven years later they were still with us and when we moved to our small holding here on the Lizard six years ago, Lily (now with boyfriend in tow) moved with us to live in the static caravan here, became our apprentice and started several years of equine courses at Duchy College.
Bob and I have always believed in putting something back into society (we met 30 years ago as Samaritan volunteers) and we have always had a special interest in young people.
Lily had had (and was still having) an extraordinarily difficult life, but still seemed to have this indomitable spirit. And we realised that helping with the horses and our increasing ‘chats’ – the girls seemed to forget we were not teenagers too, had a quietly healing property to it that seemed to be helpful to the young people in the sometimes rocky road that was their lives.
Gradually the number of horses and helpers grew and although we have never advertised – people seemed to hear that young people with ‘issues’ and horses that had got into bad places, might be able to come here and find help, meaning and purpose and a constructive path forwards.
Over the years we have had every sort of horse and pony here – from the tiniest miniature Shetland (smaller than our St Bernard dog) to giant heavy horses. And on the human front, every sort of person – some with labels – autism, dyspraxia, Tourettes etc, some with issues ie young offenders, some young people with difficult lives via social services – and just those who are interested to join in with what we do. As it says in our literature, although we have a special interest in young people, our door is always open and, in an infinite variety of ways, if we think we can make a difference then we will.