The Ride High Blog; sharing thoughts and views from our children, graduates, volunteers and staff.

How Ride High has changed my life

by Tammi

I lived with my nan and I didn’t do any counselling at all because I thought it was weak. Then I was referred to Ride High. I knew someone that had been to Ride High and it really did change his life, so I thought I’d give it a go, hoping it would help make me happy too. I was dreading my first session, and when I first started I never thought I’d get on with everyone in my group because we were all so different, but then quite quickly we became friendly.

A second home

Me riding

The horses are my favourite.

The horses are my favourite thing but if we didn’t have everything that comes with Ride High then it wouldn’t be life changing like this. In the clubroom we all lift each other’s spirits and then when we go home everyone feels better. Even though it sounds really cringy, Ride High really is a place where you make life-long friends. I now keep in touch with my Ride High friends outside of the charity.

Everything here’s good so it changes your mood and your mindset and all of the staff are really positive and the feedback they give us really boosts us up and helps us feel like we can change things.

Achieving my goals

I have slowly but gradually seen my confidence and my positivity rise. I wouldn’t have been able to sit here and tell you all these things before Ride High. I can even set myself goals without being scared I’m going to fail. I’ve set myself riding challenges and I’ve met them so now I know I can do that in other parts of my life too.


Fortune Centre of Riding Therapy

I have so many great stories to tell from that trip!

Best bit about Ride High

One of the best things about Ride High for me was the residential trip to the Fortune Centre for Riding Therapy. This helped so much because it built my confidence in riding as well as lots of other things.

I was so nervous about the trip that I sat in my nans car for half an hour before I was brave enough to get out and join the others on the Ride High minibus. I didn’t need to feel like that because it was really enjoyable. I’d only been riding for four months so I couldn’t canter and I was pretty terrified, but the staff gave me kind compliments and suddenly I found myself cantering! I have so many great stories to tell people from that trip!

I feel so lucky

I’m so grateful for everything Ride High has done for me.

I will miss Ride High so much but I’m ready to leave now. I’ve gone from feeling awkward and not knowing how to approach people to someone with lots of friends and lots of positivity. I’m even going to do some work experience this summer – all arranged by Ride High! I’m so grateful for everything Ride High has done for me and now I want someone else to benefit from the same life changing experience that I have been lucky enough to have. I also plan to help Ride High in the future – maybe I’ll become a volunteer when I’m old enough.

How you can help

Ride High wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for the volunteers and staff. Please read more about volunteering at Ride High.

Ride High from a volunteer’s viewpoint

The minibus has arrived and out pour a lively bunch of children. Into the changing room, school bags down, riding kit on, and we’re set. Well nearly… “I need the loo”  “Can I ride a big horse today?”  “Want to hear my joke?” “Guess what happened in school today” “I can’t find the hat I like”  “hurry up Josh you’re taking ages to get changed, we want to go!”  

I came across Ride High some years ago through my work and now I spend a few spare hours a week helping out with one of the younger groups. I have worked with horses and children and young people over many years and can really appreciate the good work Ride High is doing.

 “When can we gallop?” “I am scared today and don’t want to ride!”  One group member is unusually quiet. “Anything wrong?” I ask. Shoulders shrug, no reply but gets on and rides in silence.

All the children are making good progress in handling the ponies as well as riding. They are learning that listening and concentrating produces result, an important lesson for other aspects of their lives!

“I trotted without holding the saddle!”  “I did that by myself” “I can canter” Big smiles all round.

In the club room this group are learning how treating each other and the adults around them with respect and kindness means others treat them the same way. They are starting to work together as a group as well as getting more confident individually to complete club room activities. These are important skills that the children can use at home, in school and with friends.

“I will help Amy finish his picture” “Look at what I made!” “Thank you for collecting all the pens up” – “that’s OK I like to help”

The ‘unusually quiet’ child still looks unhappy but a chat with the group leader about something that happened earlier in school has resulted in a smile once more!

And so back to the changing room and minibus to go home…..

“Don’t run in the yard!”  “Have you put your boots and hat back?” “Well done everyone, good efforts all round today, keep it up!” 

“Can I be dropped off first?” “I want that seat!”

I look forward to helping out each week and getting to know the children. It is very rewarding to see their progress and I admire the Ride High staff’s stamina working with so many different groups of all ages through the week. At least I get time to recover in between!!

Keep up the good work Ride High.

Pam Curtis
Ride High Volunteer

Riding high in a different saddle!

I’m Brad West and I am cycling the Prudential RideLondon Challenge in July. This involves me cycling 100 miles from London-Surrey. ‘He must be mad’ I hear you say! Well, although this has crossed my mind on more than one occasion I am completely motivated by the fact that I’ve chosen to do this nutty challenge for a fantastic charity: Ride High.

Although I already had a good understanding of how Ride High helps disadvantaged children, visiting some of the children at the Ride High centre earlier this year really bought it to life for me. I spoke to children who face incredible challenges every day and for whom Ride High offers a safe and secure environment where they can learn and have fun and build confidence and resilience to face the outside world. One child told me ‘Ride High is the only thing I do, it gets me through the week and makes me feel happy’. I watched the kids in their riding lesson, I saw their faces light up in the saddle and I sat with the kids and helped them make posters in the clubroom. I’m sure that for those two hours they felt like all their worries and cares had been lifted.

Here I am with some of the Ride High children during my visit to the centre

And so… I am throwing myself into the training with the knowledge that my efforts (and pain!) will make a real difference to these kids lives. My training started in the pool back in February – I had to ease myself in gently as I haven’t ridden for 12 months! I then faced my first setback in April when I had a nasty chest infection and nagging cough… however never fear, the sun came out and now the riding bug has started to take hold! Training isn’t always easy. A near fatal motorbike accident a few years ago means my joints ‘ain’t what they used to be’…. but I will keep going for Ride High.

Taking on this challenge isn’t an entirely selfless act, whilst my driving motivation is the children at Ride High, RideLondon is also an opportunity for me to get fit and get back on the bike. Personal and team challenges like this are brilliant for morale and general health and wellbeing. You don’t have to cycle 100 miles either – there are all sorts of challenges out there and I’d recommend everyone to set themselves a goal. You’ll feel brilliant when you achieve it!

In addition to the training I’m working hard to fundraise and I’m pleased to say that it is going well! I have managed to raise £622.50 (including gift aid), towards my target of £1000 which is excellent. My colleagues, friends and family are being extremely supportive offering encouragement and sponsorship! Any donation, however small will be really appreciated. You can view my page here:

I even look the part in my Ride High t’shirt now!

My Ride High Experience

I started at Ride High after Easter in 2016. I joined Ride High because I was suicidal. I had so much going on that I did not know how to deal with, I was depressed and not doing anything.

When my counsellor referred me to Ride High, I was a bit sceptical about it. The first time I went to Ride High, I was scared but I was open to anything because I needed help. I was a bit scared of the horses, but I tried. At the end of the session, I was able to get on the horse and walk around.

After being able to get on the horse, I felt free, confident, and good that I could do it. I looked forward to it every week. My favourite thing is riding the horse, they are individuals and you have to get to know them like you would with people. I love going on trips. We went on a residential trip to the Fortune centre in the New Forest. It was great. I learned to look after horses, muck out, and grooming. It has helped me work with different horses. I thought I wanted to become a horse trainer, but now I really want to work to help people the way the horses have helped me, so I want to be a social worker.

When I was at Ride High I had the opportunity to do some work experience for a week. It was a great learning experience for me; I learnt a lot and it has helped me with my CV.

In January I got the opportunity to attend the Ride High fundraising ball which was really great. I met with so many people and talked to them about Ride High. At the end of the night we presented the collage me and other members of Ride High painted. It sold for over £2,000 which was fantastic.

Ride High has changed my life in so many ways. It has given me opportunity. Before I came to Ride High I did not have hope for the future, was not mixing with friends or doing anything. The clubroom helped me open up and think more about my future. It helped me realise what I want to do. I have started to develop confidence and have gone to college and met new people.

If I did not go to Ride High, I would still be depressed, would not be motivated to try to think about my future. I would not have gone to college and made friends because I would not have the confidence.

After my time at Ride High has finished I decided to become a volunteer because I enjoy being around the horses. I want to help others to have the experience that I have had there. I want to meet new people and help them through their problems. I like to hear the children talk about Ride High and how it has helped them, see them happy, and excited to be with the horses makes me happy.


Riding lesson at Ride HIgh