Sirona - Changing Lives with Horses

We are raising money to build our new centre on the Dartington Estate in Devon, before we lose our current home due to development.

We did it!

On 20th Oct 2017 we successfully raised £10,505 of £9,000 target with 135 supporters in 42 days

New stretch target

If we can reach our stretch target the extra money will go towards building our arena, where our participants work with the horses. By working in partnership with the horses loose or setting up agility courses for them, the participants learn to work as a team. It gives them the opportunity to build a relationship with the horse and with each other, if they are working in a group. 

Sirona Therapeutic Horsemanship CIO is an established charity that provides equine-based therapeutic and educational activities to disadvantaged young people and adults.

Horses have the power to change lives 

Every day we have the privilege of working with vulnerable people, we see how interacting with the horses alongside our experienced staff can transform their lives. It’s so exciting to see our amazing participants learn about themselves and how to work in partnership with these great animals.

Our current rented premises are being demolished and developed for housing, but fortunately we have been offered a new home on the beautiful Dartington Estate, near Totnes in Devon. 

This is where your help comes in.

Building a bespoke centre for our work is an incredible opportunity for our horses, our participants, and us. This will enable us to develop and grow our much in demand service, allowing us to offer it to more young people and adults, bringing about improvements in well-being and more positive lives.

Our vision

We have a vision of a bespoke therapeutic equine centre. Built from the ground up, this project will allow us to tailor our premises to the specific needs of our participants. This will be a safe, quiet environment with a warm, welcoming classroom to gather and learn; modern, weather proof housing for the horses; and a bespoke area for the participants and horses to work together; as well as a therapy room for those coming to us for Equine-Assisted Therapy. 

This safe, secure and inviting environment will be invaluable for the health of the horses but also the development of our participants, who can be very sensitive to their surroundings.

This ambitious project is years in the making.
With the help of amazing people like you, it will finally become a reality.

Your pledge counts 

The money we raise with this crowdfunder will go towards a beautiful new stable block for the horses, an essential part of our centre. Many of our horses are rescued and have found a new purpose in life doing this important work. Their welfare is at the heart of our work and this is why we have chosen to fundraise for their stables with this campaign. 

We are aiming to start building work in Spring 2018.

Example stable block

An example of our future stables 

The big picture 

Overall, we need to raise around £150,000 to build the new centre. We have match funding opportunities in place which rely on the £9000 (or more) raised with this crowdfunder, making this an essential piece of the overall total.

We will be building: 

  • Stable block (covered by this crowdfunder + match funding)
  • Arena 
  • Round pen 
  • Therapy Room
  • Toilet Block
  • Essential work on the infrastructure, such as:
    • Improving the access track 
    • Getting power on site
    • Groundworks
    • Drainage
    • Septic tank
    • Parking

The new site at Dartington

People who struggle with life deserve a chance

Many of the people who come to Sirona have been let down by life in some way. They might be unable to fit in at school, suffer social exclusion, have disabilities or learning difficulties, or struggle with mental health issues.

We are an established charity that provides equine-based therapeutic and educational activities to these people, because we think that they deserve the chance to thrive.

As mentioned, our current site is being developed for housing, but we are so fortunate to have been offered a new home on the beautiful Dartington Estate, near Totnes in Devon. This really would change everything for us, giving us a secure long term base on which to continue to build on our success with our participants. 

The Dartington Estate is a wonderful fit for us, with both the Elmhirsts' original ethos of openness, creativity and 'learning by doing' and the estates current vision for Dartington as a 'laboratory for living and learning with the purpose of pioneering deep personal and societal change', sitting comfortably with our own ethos. 

Sirona - The details

We know this is a lot to take in, so thank you for reading this far! Below is a more in-depth description of our charity.

About Sirona:

Sirona Therapeutic Horsemanship CIO provides therapeutic and educational activities to young people and adults with additional support needs, including those who struggle in formal education, with mental health issues, social exclusion, autism spectrum, ADHD, and other disadvantages.

Through engaging in motivating and empowering activities with horses supported by a professional and highly experienced team of staff and volunteers, Sirona supports people who experience difficulties in mainstream society to gain benefits and skills which will help them have more positive lives.

 Feedback and figures for a Sirona Year


In Therapeutic Horsemanship sessions, people participate in educational and therapeutic activities centred around learning about horse care and management within a natural horsemanship approach.

Through developing knowledge and relationships with horses, participants gain increased self-confidence and self-awareness, improved communication skills and learn responsibility and empathy through caring for another living being. These are all factors linked to resilience and emotional intelligence which are claimed to be essential in achieving successful and positive lives and relationships.

Enabling accredited qualifications:

Sirona also offers the City and Guilds Level 1 and 2 in Horse Care in partnership with Duchy College, enabling young people to progress onto gaining an accredited qualification and so improve their educational opportunities. We also offer Equine-Assisted Therapy with our qualified counsellors. 

Hannah and the team:

Sirona was started by Dr. Hannah Burgon, who is a qualified Social Worker and has completed training in Riding Therapy and Equine Facilitated Learning. Hannah also holds a Certificate in Counselling, and has a PhD into the benefits of Equine-Assisted Therapy & Learning from Cardiff University.

Hannah's book Equine-Assisted Therapy and Learning with At-Risk Young People was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2014. She is truly passionate about this work and it is her determination and commitment that has grown Sirona to where it is today. She is supported by a team of dedicated professionals and a wonderful board of trustees, all of whom bring their own experience and knowledge to our work. 

Where our referrals come from:

We receive regular referrals from a wide range of sources including local schools, social services fostering and adoption teams, disability and mental health teams, CAMHS, YOT, pupil referral units and private parents and carers.

An ongoing project

The money that we raise with this Crowdfunder is essential for our stable block, but we also need your help in other ways. 

If you are interested in helping bring our vision to life, we also need assistance with: 

  • Project management
  • Building services 
  • Publicity & Marketing
  • Admin
  • Sharing this campaign

Any help or advice in these areas would be greatly appriciated, so do get in touch!

Please feel free to contact us with any questions.

Thank you from all of us at Sirona!

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