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Milestone reached!

This is an auspicious newsletter for us. For some time we have been working very hard to achieve registration with the Charities Commission. This week, we are delighted to announce that Communities For Horses has now reached this milestone - our registration number is 1180652. 

We have attained this with dedication and passion for equine welfare. This milestone has been reached with amazing support from: our advisor Suzanne Rogers; a truly remarkable team of Trustees; some assistance from individuals - Rebecca Parkhouse, Lesley Phillips and Bethan Mathews; amazing support from the Horse Trust and many others. Thank you. 

This newsletter will give you some insight into our work and why your support is so important. 


When Love Is Blind 

Back in July we attended a call for help. We briefly mentioned it in our July Newsletter and now, 3 months on, we can disclose some of the details about that case.

There was a young Blagden (Gypsy Cob) being kept in appalling conditions in a back garden. He was tied into a heavy weight stable rug, which was four sizes too big for him. When I (Lisa) arrived at the location, I met with the people who reported him to us to show me where the pony was. They advised me, which was later confirmed, that the pony had previously been kept in another back garden, and before that at an awful stable-only livery yard (stable only meaning that there was no grazing or turnout available) - a yard favoured by many when there was a crackdown on fly grazing in the area.

The call out was during the great heat wave of 2018. The pony had been doused in cooking oil, to make his coat shine, as the owner was advised that cooking oil was great for a shiny coat. The owner however had not realized that whoever advised them about cooking oil, failed to mention that they needed to ingest it, not be bathed in it.

As a result of this, this poor pony was being roasted alive in baking temperatures in excess of 28 degrees, which led to his little body being burnt.


Out of sight, out of mind, suffering in a back garden.  

On examining the pony, we found wounds to his knees, on enquiring with the owner, they told us he fell, when they were riding him, he was only a baby! 

He had scaring and sores from pressure wounds on his hip bones, where he had become so emaciated that his bones came into contact with what we suspect as dirty, wet stable floors, with little clean bedding. His body condition score was approx. 1.5 - a prominent pelvis and croup, a sunken rump but skin supple, a deep cavity under the tail. Ribs visible, backbone covered but spine can be felt.

There was evidence of diarrhea on his back end, with what we suspected to be a worm burden and lack of an appropriate diet. (This was later confirmed, friends had brought peelings over for him). This poor little chap, really was not in a good way.

We advised the owner that the horse required veterinary treatment as a matter of urgency, to which the response was, we have no money. Then came the family… one of whom claimed to have graduated from equine college after studying horse care. The owner and family appeared to have knowledge about horses; I was even shown images of them competing. They tried to convince me that they were capable of looking after the horse and that the ailments and injuries he had suffered were through no fault of their own.

The family obviously had financial issues and clear problems with drug misuse. All the friends and neighbours, who also appeared to have the same personal circumstances came out to assist them.

The owners finally agreed that that they would arrange for the vet to call, as per my request. However, I was not permitted to discuss the situation with the vets that they had called. This led to the veterinary practice advising the owners that the horse could be seen, some days after my visit. This was not acceptable to me, despite their desperate pleas, cries and aggression.

The family had obvious difficulties, for which I took pity on them. However my concern was the pony. They had the option of relinquishing ownership of the pony to Communities For Horses, which would then enable us to get the pony to a safe environment, where he would receive veterinary treatment, shelter from the burning rays of sun and an appropriate diet.

This however fell on deaf ears; they unfortunately could not see what was in the horse’s best interest. This is where love is blind. I have no doubt that they loved this pony dearly; they gave him what they could, by means of peelings donated from neighbours and the odd bag of carrots. The heartbreaking cries when I advised that I could not leave the pony with them untreated did not go unnoticed, however my priority was the pony.

We at Communities For Horses have a zero tolerance for neglect and cruelty, intentional or not. We notified the statutory authority and arranged for the horse to be seized. I had no doubt in my mind that this was the best thing for this pony as the owners clearly could not look after the pony. Love alone does not provide what a pony requires.

The pony was seized by the Local Authority and seen by a vet. The ponies’ future is currently unknown; we did advise that should the local authority wish to place the pony with us, that we would be more than happy to take him on. I believe other arrangements were made for him.

This story is so poignant: Why ?

I see campaigns saying “Stop the pain break the chain!”. If this pony was kept where I suspect he would have been fly grazed, he would not have been kept in a deep dark dirty stable, where he could slowly waste away, out of sight, out of mind.

He would have been monitored and had grass to graze. Had the owners not kept up with his upkeep, it would be noticed by others, reported, monitored and the owners would have had the opportunity to learn about how to care for him, feed him and so on. Or he would have been noticed very early on, if he been suffering.

We more than likely could have prevented this happening to him. As it was, however, he went from being hidden in a stable to being hidden in a back garden on an estate full of disadvantaged individuals with an alarming rate of drug and alcohol addiction.

The call came from an individual, who shows no trust for other welfare organisations, as is the case for many whom have come into contact with other groups. We ourselves have had good and bad encounters within this community. Where we can assist, train, teach, advise, assist we will to those who truly want what their horses need - to be allowed to be horses, to be well cared for and healthy. We have sustained our relationships for years in these areas. We do what we say we will do, be it to the liking of the owner or not, for this reason we have trust and respect.

The number of horses in these areas have decreased slightly with the application of the fly grazing legislation. However we see more that have been hidden away - some in awful situations as above. The lowest price a yearling was sold for at the last sale was just £16. No horse box is required as they can and do travel from the sales in cars and vans. Very few of the lower priced horses get to go to a caring, loving, knowledgeable, environment, where they can be healthy and looked after.

So I ask you, please support our work - for the sake of the horses. Without your support we cannot continue to answer calls such as this one.


Goosebumps For Behaviour Disorders

Working with vulnerable students – we describe what gives us goosebumps. 

Some of you may be aware that we at Communities For Horses, work with children and adults who are misunderstood. Many would say that they have a behavior disorder such as ADHD, ODD or NAUGHTY, SPOILT, UNCONTROLLABLE - the list of terms used to describe an individual whom sometimes does have a diagnosed condition, addiction or just upsets the applecart is endless. Upsetting the applecart makes it difficult for others to eat the apples because they are then damaged and therefore thought to have a negative effect on others.

How can we as an organization have impact on the behavior of others? Simple - we find their compassion and empathy and we encourage them to learn, and at all times we respect the people we work with. Our staff at Communities for Horses (CFH) has an established history of working with a diverse range of young people and adults who have shown a range of social, emotional and behavioural difficulties; many of these young people have been classified as NEET (not in education, employment or training), or at risk of becoming NEET. CFH has successfully worked with these young people to increase their future aspirations and key skills.

Our programme helps to reduce the vulnerability of those at risk of disengaging with education with its unique, diverse and innovative approach to alternative education and behaviour change. Students in traditional academic settings can be exposed to what is technically known as ‘flooding’ – they have no escape from strict targets and high pressure. Standardised testing often results in standardised lessons that do not take into account pupils as individuals. Alongside high student to teacher ratios this sometimes results in negative outcomes for some students. CFH provides bespoke sessions that support engagement and progression for young people whereby the individuals are intrinsically motivated to achieve milestones, which they have set, within the boundaries of CFH ethos and freedom of choice. Sessions at CFH for both horse and humans focus on communicating positive outcomes led by behaviour signals, the behaviour of the human are mirrored by the horse.

Every session is managed via a step programme, created by the student, with manageable milestones. The students are given the knowledge of assessing and reading animal behaviour signals, thereby enabling the student to control the sessions and decisions by reading the emotive response from the horse. The shaping plan produced increases in difficulty, enabling the drive and progression of the young person for higher achievement in both horse and human.

Skills that are developed during this program include but are not limited to:

* Empathy and compassion

* self-control

* self-awareness

* forethought and positivity

* assisting young people with self-growth

* concentration

* to communicate effectively and engage in their learning

* to manage their own emotions/behaviour and understanding impact of those on others

* calm and understanding behaviour

* self-esteem and sense of achievement

* sense of pride and achievement, seeing results

The structure and ethos of the programme, which has been proven to be effective at CFH and previously at CHAPS has resulted in improved attendance, improved behaviour, and an increase in the level of attainment and overall wellbeing of the student.

Our approach focuses on using skills to produce happy, healthy, well rounded individuals who will become useful and productive members of society in the future. We focus on the social and emotional development of beneficiaries, impacting on their mental health and self-worth - enabling longevity in personal development, which in turn leads to long term employability of young people.

Engagement in programmes helps to support and sustain the improvements at age 16-19 (but also with the wider age group 11-24) to achieve reductions in the numbers who are NEET. Skills that are developed increase the students’ confidence and aspirations for not only academic merits but also vocational aspects. Students are then qualified to apply for opportunities in the employment sector within the equine and animal training, behaviour, care and rehabilitation sectors, which are becoming more prevalent and sought after. Giving students the opportunities to discover new skills and abilities especially with the higher / further education age bracket opens avenues to potential or otherwise restricted areas of study and employment due to generational under achievement and social inactivity and deprivation. We give students the opportunity to turn their lives around at a pivotal point in the education

Why are we telling you this? The horses used in our programmes are rescued; they have been let down, just like so many in our society. They have something in common and the results are priceless - which is where the goosebumps come from.

Mini Case Study: We worked with a young NEETS student, an urban horse owner for which horses were a part of his heritage, culture and daily family life. He felt persecuted, blamed, and frowned upon by society - the list is endless. He only knew how to use aversive training methods with horses and how to get kicked out of class.

We at CFH gave him the responsibility of an unhandled pony saved from slaughter. We coached him to produce a shaping plan, with, after much discussion and bit of realism, achievable milestones. The student learnt about behavior, cause and effect, how their voice, tone, actions, made the horse fearful or calm. Human and horse learnt about each other’s boundaries, flight zones and joy - when , how and what bored them both. Control, what they did mattered, how they did things mattered, what made a difference. More goosebumps.

This was all achieved in just 12 sessions. The outcome was a self-haltering pony who adored their student. Mutual grooming and pride took just small achievable sessions in small steps. 10 minute sessions of practical work followed by time for reflection about what worked, how it happened, and what they did. Oh my the sense of achievement is indescribable.

The student was in control of the lesson, they learnt because he wanted to learn - how that learning happened was down to him. The student was tasked with not only creating a safe bond with the horse but also to provide for the horse’s needs. Calculating, weight, feed rations, vitamins and minerals, good management, where they come from and how they are produced. The whole shebang. The student witnessed firsthand, what sugary treats do, what creates the calming, feel good feeling in the pony or the overexcitement. We taught the student how to recognize arousal, how far to let it go and how to assess it - when to give them a break and do something different.

In short this student learnt how to control their behavior, that they can achieve something they put their mind too and that they are in control. Small steps make big changes in a short space of time.

In summary: We specialise in working with the hard to reach horses, ponies and people - those who have been let down by others. What we do has elements of applied Cognitive Behavior Therapy paired with patience and understanding. We believe everyone has the ability to control their future, we just help them understand themselves and others. We hope this provides some insight into the human component of our work. Of course we also respond to horses in need through our community engagement and outreach activities, which we will cover in another Newsletter.


Amazing Supporters 


This month we have received some much needed funds from Leah Millenship and  Sarah Smith. Also a wonderful donation via Paypal from Linda Rivad. Thank you so much. 

If you would like to run a fundraising event for us you, please let us know! Alternatively, if you would like to donate, click on the link below:


Copyright © *|2018|* *|Communities For Horses|*, All rights reserved.
 *|October 2018 Newsletter |*
Registered Charity Number 1180625

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Communities For Horses · 8 The Beacon · Dafen · Llanelli, Wales SA14 8LQ · United Kingdom

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