White Horse is a Community Interest Company that supports the most vulnerable children and young people in our community on the Isle of Wight by providing a range of equestrian activities that due to financial, physical or social difficulties would otherwise not be accessible to them. We are looking to provide an opportunity for these young people to enjoy weekly group riding lessons and stable management over a 12 month period.
Evidence shows spending time with horses provides clear benefits for everyone including:
- Keeping us calm and healthy
- Helping us to communicate and improve leadership
- Providing confidence and discipline
One of the many psychological benefits of spending time with horses is the tranquil nature they encourage within us.
A Washington State University study suggests that teenagers especially are impacted by a horse's presence - frequent time in the outdoors makes them less likely to suffer from stress.
Physical health and fitness is something we are constantly hearing about in the news, the UK currently has the highest percentage of obese young people that we have ever had. A study commissioned by the British Horse Society in 2011 confirmed that regular horse riding and related activities like mucking out stables counts as moderately intense exercise and can help keep a person healthy. Additional research associates equine therapy with lower blood pressure and heart rate, reduced stress, and fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression.
From grooming and feeding to walking and riding time spent with horses can substantially improve psychological health. Therapists have noticed relief for behavioural issues, attention deficit disorder, substance abuse, eating disorders and abuse issues, to name a few.
In a 2007 trial by the Journal of Human-Animal Studies, participants reported feeling better able to live life more fully in the here-and-now, less concerned by regrets, guilt and resentments, less focused on fears related to the future, more independent and more self supportive.
A pioneering 2013 study from the University of Kentucky discovered that spending time with horses can help people develop a sense of empathy as well as enhance their social and leadership skills.
Riding can also improve a child’s ability to problem-solve and handle real-life situations, which again can only have a positive effect on their scholastic learning. As they learn the value of a strong partnership, so they begin to experience and become accustomed to team work; a skill which they will return to many times throughout their life. A rider must develop skills and a relationship with the animal in order to be an effective team. This means working to improve communication skills.
One of the most important things children learn riding horses is leadership. Horses are herd animals. They have a very strict pecking order in the herd. A rider gets a horse to respond to them by being the leader which can encourage even the shyest children to come out of their shell and open up.
Horses also teach children discipline. Horse have to be fed, watered, groomed and exercised, their stables and equipment must be cleaned. One can’t put off feeding a horse until “later” and then expect the horse to respond well. These needs can teach children to be responsible, on-time, compassionate, strong, resilient, and committed.
Having an animal as large as a horse do what you ask it to do is a confidence-boosting experience. There is also confidence to be gained in a job well done, for example by cleaning your equipment well or helping someone else at the stables learn a skill you have mastered.
Working closely with the Isle of Wight Council we are also linked to the Council Short Breaks Programme, contributing and supporting the Island Children’s and Young Peoples Plan by helping to improve lifestyle choices and improve health.
Councilor Paul Brading the Cabinet Member for Children’s Services on the Isle of Wight says
“I am very pleased with the services offered by Wight Horse at the Island Riding Centre and pleased that they are part of our Short Breaks Programme. I am always keen to look at offering the best opportunities for Young People of the Island and Wight Horse delivers that aim. offering a first-class service and facilities. Thanks for everything you do”
Our vital work depends on the generous donations we receive and fundraising activities we do