One of our Service Users from our Learning Difficulties Homes in Kingsthorpe Grove has started working as a volunteer at a local equestrian centre. He really enjoys animals and asked if there was something that he could do to work with some if the opportunity arose. As part of our person-centred care, we frequently “check-in” with our Service Users’ personal aspirations and goals to see how we can help support them as individuals.
This particular Service User was very keen to learn more about horses, so we approached a local equestrian centre to see what opportunities they had that we could tap into. They were pleased to learn that someone would love to help out with the horses – so with a few more meetings and discussing the Service User’s specific needs in terms of relating to the work and being in that environment – we let the Service User know that we had found an opportunity for him to work with horses.
Before long – Day One came around and the Service User was really excited to start! Some of the elements which he has learnt during him placement at the Centre are yard management; equine care (including grooming); and how other people are involved in maintaining the horses (e.g. watching the Farrier trim and shoe the horses).
These activities have given the Service User the opportunity to interact with animals and people and more importantly form friendships; learn new skills (such as numeracy or team work) and gain a sense of responsibility and pride. These kinds of experiences only build practical skills but also social skills, confidence and a great sense of achievement.
We would like to thank the team at the Brampton Riding Stables in Northampton for their enthusiasm and keen interest in working with our Service User. This is an experience that will never be forgotten!