We are an equestrian based registered Care Farm, and as such are able to provide educational and therapeutic care services for individuals from a range of vulnerable groups.
We are able to work with children or adults who can visit with their carers. In some cases we are also able to accept unaccompanied children. People can be referred by their care coordinator or in some cases people self-refer. Some sessions can be funded by local authorities and specific groups such as Activities Unlimited.
Valley Farm's care farming clients are encouraged to help feed and look after the animals. We don't focus on the things you can't do, but rather on the things you can do. Your achievements, physical work you have done, bonds you have made with your new community will make you feel better about yourself. Some clients have noticed improvements in appetite, mood and sleeping patterns as a result of regular visits to the farm.
Horses can be great healers. They can be a source of comfort in times of personal unhappiness. Just watching their interactions, sitting with them, touching them or actively becoming involved with their care can be used as therapy for various issues, such as anxiety, depression, autism spectrum disorders and selective mutism. For some people, being outside, closer to nature, and interacting with our gentle horses can greatly improve issues with self-confidence, relationships and problem solving.
We encourage clients to break down difficulties with tasks or activities to manageable levels and guide them through the learning process as they work things out, leading to a great sense of achievement upon the completion of a task, however small.
Being with horses, whether it be grooming and looking after them, or riding them can be of huge benefit to increase confidence and self-esteem for all sorts of people, including those with physical or mental disabilities.
When do sessions take place?
We are able to offer sessions during school term times on Wednesdays, Thursdays or Fridays, between 10am and 4 pm. All sessions must be booked in advance. It is possible to join us for a one-off session or to come regularly, for half hour or one hour sessions, or stay for a morning, afternoon, or whole day session from 10am to 4pm. We are able to work with groups or individuals.
What activities are available?
Clients are able to partake in feeding, grooming, cleaning, handling and checking the animals including ponies, donkeys and horses, pygmy goats, chickens, peacocks and guinea pigs, while enjoying our beautiful countryside surroundings.
We provide a quiet gentle pony along with brushes and grooming equipment, as well as guidance and encouragement, so that children and adults can benefit from the enjoyment of being close to a large animal, while it patiently lets itself be handled, stroked and brushed.
We are also able to provide exceptionally patient horses and ponies for ridden sessions, or in hand sessions, where the client works with the horse in order to negotiate obstacles within an enclosed arena.
There are some indoor areas in case of very inclement weather, but it is recommended that all clients and carers are dressed appropriately for outdoor conditions for the time of year, and wear sturdy boots. Safety hats are available to borrow when required.
How do I get started?
Please get in touch with us if you think that we could be of benefit to you or your child, and we can put together an individual program to suit your needs and budget.
If you would like to visit the yard and the horses prior to booking, so that you are able to become acquainted with the layout of the yard, and the staff, then please call us on 01728 746916 to arrange an appointment, and we will be happy to show you round, and discuss your individual requirements.