Welcome to HorseBack UK

HorseBack UK is a charity created to provide a safe and secure environment to teach the art of Horsemanship for Military, Corporate and Communities

 

 

 

We endeavour to integrate serving personnel and veterans into the rural community inspiring a meaningful and rewarding future

HorseBack UK

There is something about the outside of a horse that it is good for the inside of a man

Winston Churchill

No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn't trying

Tony Robbins

An introduction to HorseBack UK

If you would like to attend one of our courses please call us now on:

01339 880487

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Bodi the Foal has been weaned. She really is growing up. ...

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Today we are organising the photographic archive for 2016. This is a big job, but a most rewarding one. It’s rather amazing to look back and see how much was achieved, how many people worked so hard, and what a variety of activities and challenges were undertaken.

The really lovely thing about gathering together different pictures from different courses and different moments is that it seems to express the true spirit of HorseBack. And that spirit is made up of teamwork, dauntlessness, seeing always the possible rather than the impossible, comradeship, and belief.

The smiles on the faces are our greatest reward. The veterans who come here are sometimes in a very dark place. They carry with them physical and mental pain, and their lives have been changed forever. But the sound most often heard at HorseBack is the sound of laughter.

If you should take a turn off the road along the Dee valley and drive up the long track to our gates, what you would be most likely to hear is a singing cacophony of banter, hilarity and unrepeatable jokes. That service humour dies hard, against all the odds. In some ways, that unrestrained laughter is unlikely. What we do here is serious business, with people who have suffered serious injuries. Yet, as that happy noise floats into the bright Scottish air, it feels like the most natural thing in the world. ...

Today we are organising the photographic archive for 2016. This is a big job, but a most rewarding one. It’s rather amazing to look back and see how much was achieved, how many people worked so hard, and what a variety of activities and challenges were undertaken.

The really lovely thing about gathering together different pictures from different courses and different moments is that it seems to express the true spirit of HorseBack. And that spirit is made up of teamwork, dauntlessness, seeing always the possible rather than the impossible, comradeship, and belief.

The smiles on the faces are our greatest reward. The veterans who come here are sometimes in a very dark place. They carry with them physical and mental pain, and their lives have been changed forever. But the sound most often heard at HorseBack is the sound of laughter.

If you should take a turn off the road along the Dee valley and drive up the long track to our gates, what you would be most likely to hear is a singing cacophony of banter, hilarity and unrepeatable jokes. That service humour dies hard, against all the odds. In some ways, that unrestrained laughter is unlikely. What we do here is serious business, with people who have suffered serious injuries. Yet, as that happy noise floats into the bright Scottish air, it feels like the most natural thing in the world.

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Who says thoroughbreds aren't tough? Here is our grand fella, Peopleton Brook, once a sprinter and now a tireless HorseBack worker, having a little canter in the snow. Brook has excelled himself this season, most especially working with our friend Nick, who suffered a life-changing injury which confined him to a motorised chair. Despite his lack of mobility, Nick has built a partnership with Brook which has been a joy to watch. At HorseBack we always say that we see the person, not the injury. We concentrate on what people can do rather than what they can't. Despite this, the progress that Nick and Brook have made has surprised even us.

So many great strides have been taken over the last twelve months by so many veterans who have faced their own fears, screwed their courage to the sticking place, and risen to every challenge we have thrown at them. HorseBack is hard work, and the determination, dauntlessness and sheer industry of the men and women who have come through our gates leaves us in a state of awe and wonder. We salute them all.

Our grounding ethos revolves around teamwork. A group of individuals arrives for a course; by the end of their first week, those individuals are a team. None of this would be possible without our own team, which is composed of the volunteers who so generously give us their time and our permanent employees, all of whom put in so much thought, care, effort and skill to make HorseBack what it is. And, of course, the kind, willing horses who offer their all, week in, week out, and who touch so many hearts.

There are so many people who have contributed to HorseBack in so many different ways in 2016. We thank you all and wish you a very happy New Year. ...

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  • Another Christmas Testimonial

    Our next Christmas testimonial. (It’s starting to feel as if we should put in a partridge in a pear tree at this point.) The really lovely thing about gathering these all together is the cumulative power of them. They show, more vividly than any of our words ever could, the power of hope and the possibility […]

  • A Tremendous Partnership.

    One of the great things about the last year at HorseBack is that we have been extending our reach beyond the veteran community. Our wounded veterans will always be at the heart of everything we do. They were the inspiration behind the charity and remain its guiding force. But it’s been really exciting to see […]

  • The elements of HorseBack.

    This week sees the end of another dazzling course. We feel that we have been breaking out every positive adjective in the book lately, but each group this year seems to have got better and better. It’s not just that the new three week structure for the courses has enabled our veterans to hone and […]

  • Fun.

    If you had walked through the HorseBack gates this week, you would have seen men on horses, slouching in their Western saddles like something out of The Magnificent Seven, laughing their heads off. You would have heard the sound of banter and unrepeatable jokes. You would have seen serious drills and hilarious horsing games. That […]

  • New partnerships and old friends.

    It’s been a great week at HorseBack. We had some very special visitors, who will be part of some mighty plans for the future. It’s always a great pleasure, building new partnerships, expanding our scope, and working with people who have so much knowledge, enthusiasm and expertise. Jay Hare did a presentation, Jock and Emma […]

  • The HorseBack challenge.

    The horses at HorseBack are not dozy old riding school ponies. They are serious horses. Although they are rigorously schooled and comprehensively educated for this work, there is nothing push-button about them. They are all individual characters, and they sometimes have their moments. One of them had such a moment this morning. He did not […]

  • The gift of time.

    One of the best innovations at HorseBack over the last year has been extending the courses from one week to three. The weeks are staggered, so that, for instance, this group now doing their Phase Two will come back in September for their Phase Three. This has achieved several things. First of all there is […]

  • The art of the possible.

    At HorseBack, we are always looking to try something new. We constantly want to widen our horizons, expand our scope, and generally keep ourselves on our toes. Sometimes, we get lucky and the stars align and a novel opportunity is presented to us. This happened recently when we met Nick, whom you can see in […]

  • A warrior goes to the games.

    One of our regular volunteer veterans sends us a message. He is just off to the Warrior Games, held this year at West Point in America. ‘I’m doing cycling, shot and discus,’ he writes. This is from a gentleman whose crashing Post-Traumatic Stress once produced in him so much rage and denial that he felt […]

  • The archers.

    This week, we decided to do something a little different at HorseBack UK. We were very lucky to have with us Dan and Claire Sawyer from the British Horseback Archery Association. They have been great friends and supporters of our work, and now they arrived to run a course in archery. The assembled group included […]

  • All they want to do is talk about the horses.

    The HorseBack horses do many, many things for the humans who work with them. It’s much more than simply getting on and riding. This week, we had a group of veterans starting their Phase One of a new course. Many of them had never encountered horses before; some had ridden, but not in the Western […]

  • The Youth Initiative makes us proud.

    Our Youth Initiative course came back to HorseBack this week. It has been one of our great success stories, and we are very proud of all the young people who have made such great strides. The difference we see in our students is immense. Many of them arrive with little confidence and not much enthusiasm. […]

  • The new course gets off to a flying start.

    Sometimes, the stars align and a new course simply takes off. Everything falls into place. This week, that happened. We had a Phase One with an entirely new group of veterans. Most of them had never sat on a horse before, and they did not really know what to expect. By this morning, they were […]

  • A great HorseBack course.

    At HorseBack, we are constantly evaluating what we do and how we do it. One of the most satisfying innovations has been expanding our courses from one week to three weeks. The phases are staggered, so that the participants return to HorseBack over several months to complete the course. We hoped that this might take […]

  • The HorseBack Youth Initiative.

    The HorseBack Youth Initiative is one of the programmes we are most proud of. It started off as a bit of a pipe dream, a lone pilot programme inspired by and developed with Mr Colin Nicholl of Banchory Academy. It has developed into an integral part of HorseBack and now steams on under its own […]

  • Surprise of the week.

    The happiest surprise of the week was: Polly the Cob learned to jump. Regular readers will know that Polly had a painful and traumatic start to life. She still bears the scars. She was rescued by World Horse Welfare, taken to Belwade Farm just up the valley, and then sent to HorseBack. She turned out […]

  • Hats off to our HorseBack mentors.

    It is always a great moment at HorseBack when a plan goes from on paper to real life. It is even more gratifying when that plan turns out to work. This week, there was such a plan and such a moment.   Regular readers will know that this year we initiated our first Mentors’ Programme. […]

  • A veteran’s story.

    Every one of our veterans has a story. Last week, one of them told us his.            When someone suggested he come to HorseBack three years ago, this veteran says, he was deep in the toils of Post-Traumatic Stress, and refusing to accept that brutal fact. He did know, however, that […]

  • Reflections on the new mentoring programme. Or, give a veteran a mission.

    This week, as the first course of the season gets underway, we reflect on our first mentoring programme, which was completed last week. The idea of turning veterans with life-changing injuries and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder into mentors for other veterans facing the same challenges is an old one at HorseBack. If you ask our own […]

  • A mighty group.

    A great day at HorseBack today, as our mentors’ course came to a triumphant end and was crowned with the arrival of Glen Tanar’s head ranger, Eric Baird, to present our mighty group with John Muir awards. Eric gave a very inspiring speech, managing to quote both Churchill and F Scott Fitzgerald. He said that […]