ubu has always valued the contribution and impact animals have on building confidence and happiness in the lives of the people we serve. We’ve seen through working with horses in our training programmes, how important non-verbal communication can be. Horses possess the amazing gift of unconditional love, knowing when a human being needs to be treated with more care and a little patience.
Francis, who lives independently, enabled by ubu in his own flat in Leeds really loves his experience of horse riding and wanted to share it with other people. “I’ve been here for over four years now. Living in my own home was something new for me. At first, I didn’t find it easy to accept getting support from the ubu enabling team”.
Francis used to prefer to be on his own or go back to his family’s home when things didn’t go so well for him. “I started to see that that I could have some say in my own life, it was a bit of a surprise really. But then I knew that I wanted to get some skills to make it happen. Actually, it’s been good to learn from ubu enablers. They have taught me ways to manage things I need to do every day like shopping, cleaning my flat and sorting out my finances. Recently I have found a new activity that I love and it’s one that nobody, including myself, thought I would enjoy and that’s horse-riding!”
The ubu enabling team supported Francis to find a local stable and get some riding lessons organised. “I go to Middleton equestrian every week and I love it. I get to ride a horse called Dan. He is great and the staff there say I am a natural at horse-riding! Since going to ride Dan, I’ve also met new people and now have a bunch of friends who it turns out, have the same interests as me.
It’s been a brilliant journey for Francis “I love going to the equestrian centre so much, now I’m hoping to work there as a volunteer mucking out in the stables, so watch this space and I’ll tell you how it goes”.
Charlotte from the East Midlands says “I started horse riding 18 months ago. I go for lessons every other week and I really enjoy it. When I first started riding I was led round the paddock on Lottie, (my pony). She has helped me to get my balance. With practice, I’ve learnt to ride unsupported and it’s fantastic because although it’s exciting to do, I also find horse riding relaxing too. I’m more confident now in everything I do in my life. Horse riding has been good for me, being with Lottie has made me so happy. I can do more things now than I ever thought I would be able to do”.
If a person enabled by ubu says that they’d like to try out going for horse riding lessons we support them in finding a suitable stable nearby and research when lessons are available, always ensuring that they have the correct clothing and safety equipment to undertake their lessons.
“I’m Paul and I also live in the East Midlands enabled by ubu. I go to the same stables as Charlotte and even ride the same pony, Lottie. When I first started, I was pretty scared of horses and ponies and I thought riding was probably dangerous. But I wanted to have a go anyway. I had to be really brave to get over my fear. It’s been fantastic! I’ve been riding now for eight months and built up a new sort of confidence. It’s helped me to try new things which have helped me to be more independent in everything I do, things I never ever thought I could do before.