At HorseBack, we always say that we are interested in what is possible, not in what is not possible. Working with wounded veterans has taught us that it’s the can that is important, not the can’t. And as we look back over ten years of the Charity, we see how far that ethos has brought us.
The courses have changed a great deal since those early days. They now run over three weeks instead of one and include an official qualification at the end of them. They are also much more focused and structured. We’ve learnt exactly what our participants need from us, and we hone in like a laser on those needs.
The variety of people we help has also changed and expanded. We’ve developed courses which are specifically targeted at serving men and women, as well as those for veterans with a life-changing injury. Our Youth Development Course has become one of the most meaningful parts of our work. Since adding a few ex-racehorses to our herd, we’ve developed a partnership with Racing Welfare, and we run courses for people who’ve suffered an injury whilst working in racing.
Possibly one of the things which gives us most pleasure and pride is our Mentors’ Programme. Veterans come back to HorseBack to train as mentors and then work with new arrivals, passing on all their experience and wisdom. This gives them a huge sense of achievement and purpose, which helps in their recovery.
What we love the most is that everything is connected – we get the veterans working with the young people, and the mentors learning with the new course participants. Our many friends and partners and supporters help us with their own knowledge and experience, and we in turn pass on some of what we have learnt over our ten years.
What we set out to do, all those years ago, was one of those ideas that might sound brilliant on paper but could run into obstacles in real life. Through teamwork, determination, and sometimes sheer refusal to entertain the word ‘No’, we somehow made it happen. As always with enterprises of this kind, none of it would have been possible without help. We have so many fundraisers, volunteers and general cheerleaders who have kept us going and made the HorseBack dream a reality. We thank them all.
Here’s to the next ten years. And to ten more after that.