Managing Director Tawhid Juneja of Stevenage based medical recruitment company Primary Care Professionals spent a day with his wife and two young children as volunteers at the stables of the charity SENSE, where he was joined by the families of his Financial Director Chris Baker and Dean Wylie, one of the company’s recruitment consultants.
Tawhid says “This year we are fully supporting SENSE, a fantastic charity that helps deaf, blind and sensory deprived children and adults. We’d already raised over £500 for the stables two rescue donkeys, Bonnie and Clyde and we were keen to take our children to meet them at their lovely new home.
“We all had a fantastic time with the children raking up leaves from the parade ground, helping to mix the horse and donkey feed and giving them the chance to cuddle guinea pigs, stroke a big fluffy rabbit and watch a massive tortoise race around! They do absolutely incredible work at SENSE and their stables and we are so happy to give them our full support throughout the year.”
SENSE stables have been in existence since 2007 and offer therapeutic horse riding, carriage driving and Equine Facilitated Learning experiences for adults and children with a range of complex needs which preclude them from being able to ride at a regular riding school or RDA group. Its ethos is very much about enabling their service users to get involved in a range of activities in a natural setting, from caring for the small animals through to horse-riding and carriage driving. They have a wheel-chair adapted carriage which enables people with poor mobility to enjoy driving so there really is something for everyone.
Alison Garner, the Manager of the SENSE stables says “In the spring & summer we run a pony club for our younger deaf-blind students and one of the many children who enjoy this is Lucy, who has very poor mobility and a range of complex needs which severely limits the activities she can be involved in on a day-to-day basis. This means she spends much of her time in a wheel-chair as she unable to sit up unsupported.
“In order to overcome this, we placed a soft pad on the back of one of our most trustworthy horses and laid Lucy on the rug using a technique called hippotherapy. Lucy really enjoyed the experience and was soon being led around in walk whilst securely held on the horse’s back. She rode two different horses and was able to distinguish between the two and she developed absolute trust in them- in return they really looked after her sensing her vulnerability.”
A major breakthrough came when Lucy managed to sit up on the horse unaided after previously being unable to support her own body weight defying all the odds. Through the therapeutic action of the horse’s muscles on Lucy’s body, Lucy was able to develop both her body awareness and own muscle strength as well as boosting her confidence and self-esteem.
Alison continues “At the yard, we are keen to continue to develop our use of horses as therapy and we are currently developing bespoke sessions using a technique called EFL (Equine Facilitated Learning) which is now widely acknowledged by the medical profession to have a positive impact on a range of conditions such as: autism/Aspergers syndrome, post-traumatic stress, poor communication, ADHD, ESBD, learning difficulties and those suffering from mental ill health. As Winston Churchill said, ‘there’s something about the outside of a horse which is good for the inside of a man’ which perfectly summarises the role of horses in therapeutic settings.”
Volunteers are always welcome at the stables and it’s a great day out for the family. For further information contact Alison on www.sense.org.uk
Primary Care Professionals is arranging a big Summer Ball at Knebworth Barn in July to raise money for SENSE. For further information on Primary Care Professionals and the Summer Ball:
0203 137 2114
*You can also see this piece featured in The Spalding Guardian, page 24.