Horse whisperers are helping young and vulnerable people turn their lives around.
Huddersfield-based social enterprise Glint has secured a £10,000 Big Lottery grant to continue its work.
The not-for-profit company encourages people with mental health problems, emotional difficulties or learning disabilities to build a rapport or connection with horses.
The techniques – similar to those of Monty Roberts, the inspiration for the Hollywood film The Horse Whisperer – help improve communication skills, confidence and self-esteem.
Called ‘horse assisted development’ the one-to-one sessions are based on verbal and non-verbal communication but does not involve riding.
The lottery grant will fund a programme called Gift Horse for adults with well-being concerns.
People will be referred from three groups: Lifeline Calderdale and REAL Employment (Realistic Employment for Adults with Learning Disabilities) and WomenCentre, both from Huddersfield.
Glint chief executive Heidi Dawson welcomed the grant and said: “Participants in our programmes work with horses on the ground to resolve issues such as bullying, lack of confidence, abuse, learning disabilities and mental health issues.
“Rather than teaching people to become expert horsemen and women, the interactions with horses help to build confidence, life skills and employability skills.
“We’re very pleased to have the support of Lifeline Calderdale, REAL Employment and WomenCentre for this project.”
Sessions take place in Bolster Moor with Heidi’s three horses, mini Shetland pony Gertie, part-bred Arab Zahra and Welsh cob Billy.
The Gift Horse project offers one-to-one support over a number of weeks tailored to individual needs.
Organisations interested in becoming part of the project can attend a taster session.
For more information visit www.glint.org.uk