Greatwood celebrates 10 years in Wiltshire - advertisement feature

PUBLISHED: 11:42 24 January 2012 | UPDATED: 20:57 20 February 2013

Greatwood celebrates 10 years in Wiltshire - advertisement feature

Greatwood celebrates 10 years in Wiltshire - advertisement feature

This weekend Greatwood Charity celebrated a decade in Wiltshire. During this time the charity has rehabilitated and re-homed hundreds of former racehorses as well as helped over 2000 children with special education needs (SEN) within the region

This weekend Greatwood Charity celebrated a decade in Wiltshire. During this time the charity has rehabilitated and re-homed hundreds of former racehorses as well as helped over 2000 children with special education needs (SEN) within the region, enabling many to follow a career with horses. To celebrate the 42 rescued, some of which are available for re-homing, and retired racehorses currently at the charity were all treated to tasty oatcakes made by the Greatwood team and Horse Power students.

Rainscombe Hill Farm near Marlborough is Greatwood HQ and is a former dairy, with the old milking parlour now cleverly transformed into the classroom and the numerous barns converted into70 cosy and practical stables, housing the Greatwood equines in winter, whennot relaxing in its230 acres of paddocks. Greatwood is also home to a menagerie of geese, ducks, sheep, goats, donkeysand chickens,as well as three Shetland ponies the Greatwood Nursemaids - Poncho,Arron and Toyboy, all who play an important role within the SEN programmes. Last but not least Greatwoods dedicated team consists of12 key members, all experts in their field ranging from horsemen to highly qualified teachers.

When Amy Howell first arrived at Greatwood as a student on theHorse PowerProgramme, she was described as a elective mute, unable to speak with anyone, but after forming a special bond with Monty, a retired racehorse at Greatwood, Amy began to communicateagain.

Amy comments I now can now speak to anyone,I am going to work full time at Greatwood and learn to ride, horses are my life now, thanks to Monty andthe Greatwood SEN Programmes."

Helen Yeadon, Founder of Greatwood comments, In the 10 years of Greatwood being in Wiltshire I am very proud of what our team has achieved with both Horse Power and the racehorses. I wouldlike to thank them allas well as our generous supporters, who have enabledus to continue our work."

The Greatwood Story by Helen Yeadon

An International League for the Protection of Horses (ILPH) survey revealed that out of the 5,000 or so racehorses that leave racing every year some 400 are at risk. We joined a committee in 1999 to discuss with the then British Horseracing Board to put a scheme in place whereby racing could be seen to be responsible for the fate of those racehorses that fall upon hard times.

In the early 1990s , and as lifelong lovers of horseracing, having owned, ridden and bred, Michael and I were becoming increasingly concerned as to the fate of racehorses when their racing days were over. As the years went by our reputation grew in rescuing and re-homing racehorses the work for which we funded ourselves for about six years.

A very good friend, a pioneer of horse welfare and Vice President of International League for the Protection Horses persuaded us to start a charity so that we could carry on the work we had started. Greatwood was founded in 1998. We went on to rescue substantial numbers of horses which for whatever reason had fallen upon hard times; a horse dumped in a scrap yard outside Birmingham, a horse shut in a stable for years, a horse that had been abandoned in a field having been won at cards in a pub.

These are just some of the examples of our rescue work. It should be pointed out that we concentrate upon welfare of the horse at all times never turning away a horse at risk. A significant number of horses need rescuing and although our ultimate aim is to re-home our horses, it must be understood that it takes us a lot longer to re-home a rescue case rather than purely the type of horse that has just been retired from racing.

Greatwood Horse Power

Greatwood was a beautiful old Devon farm from which we derived the name for the charity. It was on one particular occasion in Devon that the idea for Horse Power began to take shape. We had been asked if we could help a little girl who had become so withdrawn that she had stopped speaking. When she visited us, we had just rescued a horse that was in a poor way. Over the following few weeks we witnessed the most extraordinary transformation in this child. There was an interaction between the vulnerable child and the rescued racehorse that built both of their confidences up to such an extent that before too long a bubbly little girl would arrive chattering gaily, and a recovering horse would whicker at the sound of her voice.

As our work was needed more and more, we decided to move, and found a dairy farm near Marlborough in Wiltshire. That, in itself, was a huge upheaval, the removal of dozens of horses, geese, hens, sheep and goats made the actual house move a piece of cake.

Once we had settled in Wiltshire we were determined to provide an opportunity for children with special educational needs to learn life skills and emotional literacy through interaction with rescued former racehorses.

In 2012, 19 years since we began and 14 years after the charity was founded, we have successfully re-homed many rescued racehorses and are now happy to report that our work with children has gone from strength to strength and over 2000 children have been educated at Greatwood. Of course, none of this could have been achieved without the substantial help from our staff, friends and supporters.

Further information on Greatwood, re-homing a racehorse and Horse Power visit or call Greatwood Charity on: 01672 514535

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