Purpose built stables to offer equine-assisted therapy to people with mental health and learning difficulties
sirona therapeutic horsemanship

A new purpose-built centre providing equine-assisted therapy & learning to young people and adults with additional needs is to open on the Dartington Hall estate.

Sirona Therapeutic Horsemanship CEO Dr Hannah Burgon was joined by Sarah Wollaston MP and Dartington Hall Trust CEO Rhodri Samuel to formally open the new centre on 30 November 2018. The centre will provide equine-assisted therapy and learning to young people and adults with additional needs including mental health, ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and those who struggle with education and other support needs.

The charity moved from Seale Hayne and built the new centre following a successful fundraising campaign. Based adjacent to the Dartington Hall Trust’s agroforestry field at Old School Farm, the centre includes an open barn where the horses can range freely, separate stables, an undercover session area, classroom, an arena, separate round pen and a copse where the charity will be developing nature-based activities in the beautiful estate setting.

Qualified and experienced therapists and equine practitioners will work alongside a special herd of horses to increase the wellbeing of young people and adults who are referred by schools, social services, pupil referral units, residential homes and private individuals.

Dr Hannah Burgon, founder and CEO, Sirona Therapeutic Horsemanship, says: ‘We are so grateful for all of the support that we received, making this build possible and giving our charity a secure home. It feels like a dream come true! Our approach can be described as ‘positive horsemanship’ as both horse and person are simultaneously learner and teacher. The benefits of this are particularly felt by people for whom self-esteem, trust and confidence has posed challenges.’

Rhodri Samuel, CEO, Dartington Hall Trust, says: ‘We are so pleased and excited that Sirona have made our estate their home. The work that Sirona does with young people is inspiring. Their learning and therapy offers a warmth and connection for adults and young people who struggle as a result of experiencing the world differently from the mainstream. We are delighted to welcome them to join our estate community of land-based initiatives.’

One Sirona participant commented that Sirona has helped with her confidence and trust. She says: ‘This enormous, powerful animal trusts me enough to follow me and that feels really good. I wouldn’t be where I am today without Sirona.’

Sirona Therapuetic Horsemanship is very grateful for the generosity of all those who responded to their successful crowdfunding campaign in which they raised £10,000. The new centre has also been made possible thanks to grants from EUAgricultural Fund for Rural Development: South Devon Coastal LAG, Northbrook Community Trust, Swire Charitable Trust, Foyle Foundation, Elise Pilkington Charitable Trust, Jephcott Charitable Trust, The Bernard Sunley Charitable Foundation, The Norman Family Charitable Trust, The Gibbons Family Trust, Wooden Spoon, and many more valued contributions.

For people wanting to find out more, an open day will be held in spring 2019.


This article was originally a press release issued by Sirona Therapeutic Horsemanship and we are grateful to them for letting us reproduce it here.

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