It’s been a year since we took in Balmoral, once a very sad pony in…
We recently had the honour of welcoming Bucks Vision, a local charity that supports people with impaired vision, to our Home of Rest for Horses. The group were given a sensory tour of the site with the help of; Jon Taylor, Estate Foreman, and little Casper, ex RDA Shetland. For some group members, it was their first time experiencing an equine environment. It was a truly wonderful afternoon for all involved!
Horses certainly don’t have to be seen for the impact of their presence to be felt. Out of all human-animal bonds, the bond between horses and humans can be especially powerful. Try to imagine all of the sensory experiences we may not always stop to think about when around horses…
What sounds can you hear as they munch on grass? The smells of their coat and mane, the fuzzy textures of their noses. And then there’s the not so tangible, like the sense of peace felt when around a relaxed and happy pony.
As Winston Churchill famously said:
“There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.”
It’s no coincidence that charities like Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) exist. The long-established relationship between horses and humans undoubtedly benefits everyone who experiences it; an opportunity that should be available to all.
Having worked closely with people, many of our ex-service horses still very much enjoy the company of the public. Through our visitor days, some of our residents make a special appearance for the afternoon to meet and greet our lovely guests.
We were especially excited to welcome Bucks Vision earlier this month, kindly coordinated by one of their volunteers, Mary.
Who is Bucks Vision? A fantastic local charity supporting people with impaired vision across Buckinghamshire, helping them to overcome the physical and mental challenges of their condition through a number of creative solutions and support systems.
Some group members have been visually impaired since birth and had never experienced a horse or been in an equine environment. Our aim was to make the tour as sensory as possible so they could truly experience our Home of Rest for Horses.
Who better to call upon than ex-mounted police officer, history enthusiast, full-time Estate Foreman and *deep breath* great talker, Jon Taylor?
Jon’s past experience out on the field has given him a great understanding of how to engage people; his passion for history enabling him to visually describe scenarios and of course, not forgetting his ability to land a dad-joke or two!
Jon greeted Bucks Vision before showing them through our iconic Archway, towards the stables and to our war memorial statue, that commemorates all working horses throughout the generations.
After an introduction to our history, the group were then shown the more sensory elements of our yard via the tack room. We passed around pieces of grooming equipment so the group could feel the unusual textures of the rubber curry comb, the softness of the body brush and the bristly dandy brush. We also showed them different styles of bridles, highlighting the contrast between leather and metal work.
After that, the show really kicked off as the group were introduced to the one and only- Casper!
For those of you who don’t know Casper, he truly is a remarkable pony. You will often see his little face poking out of the stable with the best view on visitor days, known for entertaining guests with his cheeky, but good as gold nature. Casper, formerly a rescue Shetland, went on to live with the wonderful charity RDA for many years helping disadvantaged people, before retiring to our sanctuary.
Jon led Casper out of his stable so that, one by one, members of Bucks Vision could meet and greet him. As safe as Casper may be, Jon reminds us that there’s always one golden rule…
“There’s only two things that happen at the back end of a horse, and both of those aren’t good!”
Once that was established, each member was guided towards Casper, who stood very patiently. All the while Ninja, our resident cat was lingering around… certainly stealing the show for some of our guests!
Each group member had the opportunity to meet Casper. As he suffers with severe sweet itch, Casper’s mane isn’t quite like the others at our charity. Through this, they learned about ‘hogged’ mane, why it helps Casper and how it feels in comparison to other horses.
Their observations were that his ears were very strong, his mane spikey and his nose incredibly soft. Casper always brings smiles to the faces of those who meet him, and this time was no different.
Afterwards, the tour was rounded off in the way every visit to The Horse Trust should finish, with a well-earned rest and a lovely cup of tea amongst the beautiful Chiltern Hills.
“Very interesting. Good to see how well-kept the animals were. Jon had a lovely voice, very clear. He was very informative, it’s clear that he loves his job and especially Casper! The Tea Room staff were very friendly.” – Bucks Vision
We would like to extend our gratitude to Bucks Vision for visiting us, and for all of the important work they do to help people across Buckinghamshire with impaired vision. We were honoured to be able to introduce them to our lovely herd and we hope you come back soon!
The Horse Trust provides a welcoming environment for charities and businesses interested in making a difference. If you’re interested in visiting us, or collaborating in another way, please visit our page via the link below, or simply get in touch with us at email@example.com.