New Life Horse Care Sanctuary

"Where broken dreams are mended"

                                            Registered Charity: 1165384


It has been observed and documented that vulnerable young people work best with vulnerable horses. 

This is because the young people with a variety of difficulties can identify with the horses that also have problems, and consequently develop empathy and sympathy, sometimes so lacking, for the horses that are in rehabilitation. 
The young people who come here are encouraged to participate in looking after vulnerable horses and learn simple veterinary care.

"The ponies take the anger away and give me a sense of responsibility"

Michael Burden served his country in the Falklands War. He then worked for the Fire Service, and was medically discharged due to depression after witnessing deaths of a number of children between 1989 and1991. He suffered a stroke in 2001 and for the last 17 years has been a prisoner in his own home, due to severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Before coming to NLHCS, Michael said "I felt really bad, I did not want to go out. I was grumpy, frustrated, withdrawn, angry, very angry at times, shouting, aggressive. The PTSD took over my life. Having PTSD stopped me going out, even getting outside the front door was difficult, sometimes the agoraphobia is worse than at other times. I felt at a disadvantage, the PTSD reduced the quality of my life. I did not feel effective or useful."

Michael believes the ponies have significantly helped him: "It’s helped with my depression, anxiety and panic attacks. I am not so angry at home. The ponies take the anger away. It’s given me a sense of responsibility, I groom the ponies, it relaxes me and I don’t think about my problems, I’m drawn into a different world. The ponies have eased my mind and given me something to look forward to. Because I come to the ponies, I am no longer always at the doctor’s. I have cut down on my medication. I’m not taking resources from the doctor, for example, I no longer need to go for counselling, as grooming horses is just as therapeutic. Because I come here, the whole family is happier, my wife went and got a proper job, as she felt I no longer needed so much attention, and because I am happier, she is less depressed and off her medication also. We have come off some benefits so we don’t feel such a drain on society."

"I do challenges that I wouldn't do" Connie's testimonial

It has made my relationship better with horses.
I do challenges that I wouldn't do.
I have to think about the horses feelings rather than mine.
It has helped me to be more confident in other situations and to try things out.
I feel proud of myself because of the things I have learnt and my skills.
When I am there I feel happy. In the future I hope to become a dressage rider. Jackie took Smokey through all the skills and now he's a much better pony. It made my confidence better with him as a pony. Now I trust him.

- Connie

Lottie's story - As written by her Mum

We first met Jackie and the ponies of New Life Horse Care when Lottie was 7 years old. I had tried for a long time to get her help through CAMHS and when I came to a dead end I looked for alternatives to help with Lottie's confidence and self esteem. 

As the weeks went past, Lottie became more and more confident with the ponies and has developed a real rapport with the ponies. Her skills have developed as has her relationship with Jackie.

There have been a lot of times where although Lottie couldn't attend school she could manage to spend time with the ponies and as such New Life Horse Care has been a lifeline for Lottie who otherwise would have become very housebound and isolated. 

I think the combination of Jackie's determination and commitment to the children who attend at the stables is truly life changing and that combined with the love of the ponies and the unspoken therapy they give gives a really positive and alternative approach to children who otherwise would struggle with talking therapy in a more clinical environment. 

I can see so many wonderful changes in Lottie through having New Life Horse Care in her life. She can see that she is good at something and that it is a real talent and natural ability that she has. Through the ponies and their life experiences it has enabled Lottie to begin to understand her own feelings and thoughts and begin to explore how she can take back control of her anxiety and depression. 

She has had an amazing opportunity to work with foals which she has loved and a wonderful moment we had when we visited one of the foals in her new home when she was three years old and she recognised and came to Lottie and remembered who she was. That was due to shared experience of attachment issues and an understanding that they had both gone through some of the same feelings, it really was a beautiful moment. 

For the future we see our connection with Jackie and the ponies remaining and becoming something that Lottie could do as an adult for employment but definitely something she can use to control and understand her own feelings. I think that there is a wonderful opportunity for children and adults alike to benefit from the help and support that Jackie and the ponies can give. There is a real sense of peace around the yard and it is like taking a step out of the race that is life to change down a gear, relax and truly look at yourself for a while, which to me is priceless.

"Horses have completely changed my life"

Update April 2018

This collage consists of so many memories from my life at New Life Horse Care Sanctuary. I'm incredibly grateful to Jackie, Margaret and Mikey for all the support that I've received over the years that I've been here. I wouldn't be where I am today without the help from you guys. 
Today was a huge change for me and Caleb however, neither of us will forget everything that has been done for us to allow us to get to this point in our lives together and I look forward to our future as a team. 
Once again, I thank everyone who has been a part of my life at NLHC and Caleb and I will miss each and every one of you. New Life Horse Care Sanctuary wishes Caleb and Jasmine all the best for their promising future together!

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Original Testimony

Ever since I can remember, I've always had a fascination with horses. I've always thought that they are stunning, graceful creatures that also have the capability to kill someone.

It all started when I was 7. I first met Jackie when I was only 7 years old, it all happened by coincidence but here I am, almost 11 years later. For a long time, I worked with Jaffa. A very traumatised pony with a beautiful personality. Only a short time later, Luke arrived. Only young and we grew up together. We backed him, trained him and worked him ourselves and I can say that I truly fell in love with him. For about 4 years, I shared him. Taking the responsibility of working him, riding him, mucking him out and hacking him upon myself when I was only about 8. He taught me a lot about riding but also an awful lot about myself as a person. I'd known I was different all my life but with him, I felt like I was normal. Like I could be my true self with him as I couldn't hide my feelings from an animal as sensitive as he was.

In 2013, Caleb arrived. I fell in love with him immediately and that's where my journey with New Life Horse Care properly began. I was given the responsibility of training him (under supervision by Jackie) for 3 years until he was backed in December of 2016. By this time, I had already been working him constantly so I had a strong connection which made the backing process very easy.

2017 was when New Life Horse Care became my safe place. Throughout secondary school, I had been severely bullied and nothing had been put into place. With my GCSE's approaching fast, stress levels were increasing crazily however I was in a very troubled place with an abusive partner who would break up with me at the worst possible time.
One time specifically, I remember like it was yesterday. I had been waiting for a drama exam for months and when the day finally arrived, my boyfriend decided to end things with me to prevent me from going to school and working on my drama exam. In tears, I walked to New Life Horse Care and spent the day there on Caleb, jumping him.

Since then, I've always gone down there when I need support as it's a safe environment where I feel comfortable and happy.
Having been there since 2007, it's the place I go when I need to get away from any issues that I could be facing.

Having been diagnosed with ADHD only a matter of months ago, the support that I have received alongside amazing support has really helped my confidence levels and how I feel about myself. I wouldn?t be who I am without her help and all the help that I've received from the horses.

Without the support that I've got from Jackie and all the ponies there, I wouldn't be where I am today. Studying Level 3 Technical Diploma in Equine Management. I've been taught all I know from Jackie and the horses at New Life Horse Care Sanctuary. 

"I am being taught all aspects of the care and training of horses and ponies"

"I help out here (at New Life Horse Care), by helping with the horses and ponies. 

They are very well cared for and have their physical and emotional needs met and more. 

The horses and ponies have extra needs which are understood and worked with to the benefit of the animal's quality of life.  I am being taught all aspects of the care and training of horses and ponies and really enjoy helping and learning about them in such a positive environment."

- Mikey Burden, 
Student at Bicton College 

Level 3 Animal Management.

"Mikey has autism and ADHD.  He has been coming to NLHC  for about 3 years. He helps with the ponies,cleaning out their stables and training them.  He has developed a very good bond with all the ponies, especially Mattie,as Mattie arrived not long before Mikey started.  Mikey has worked very hard to do the best for the ponies, which ultimately has helped him no end.  When Mikey started, he had , he can cope so much better no confidence, wouldn’t talk to people and had to be supervised at all times, but over the course of time his confidence has grown immensely and he will even take Luke out for a walk around the village on his own.  Mikey has even helped out at a public demonstration which he would never have had the confidence to do before.  Mikey has even taken on training the Dartmoor foals so they have the best chance of a forever home and is such a rewarding thing for him to do.  Mikey loves all aspects of NLHC,even mucking out which most people would see as a chore,he enjoys making the ponies lives better.  i have noticed so many changes in Mikey,his confidence is higher,he copes so much better with unexpected events as we have had a family emergency recently and he coped amazingly. I am so proud of Mikey and how he has improved since coming to NLHC.  Thank you to the ponies and Jackie for enabling Mikey to grow so much".

- Margaret Burden, Mikey's Mum

Mikey has been with us for three years now, he is a tremendous asset to the work we do here, he is able to school the ponies using Ken Faulkner methods on his own and also helps with the other learners. 

"Students have gained significantly in self confidence"

Both the students had very low self confidence and esteem, they are often very active and have low concentration spans.  They also displayed some negative behaviors in the class room setting.
The work that  has been done with Jackie has been brilliant for both students.  Their ability to follow instructions has increased, they are displaying less and less negative behaviors in school which is making their time in school much more positive.
Both students have gained significantly in self confidence and really look forward to each session.
The session is an important part of their extra curricular activities, to further enhance their development
- Jenni Hitt
Outdoor Education Lead Teacher
Ellen Tinkham School, Exeter.

From the Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust

We are long established commoners and breeders of Dartmoor ponies, who operate as part of the Registered Pony Keeper Scheme with the Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust (DPHT). We train the offspring of wild Dartmoor ponies to eventually be sold as children's ponies and to supply a conservation grazing need for the grazing of valuable habitats all over the UK. In doing so we are passionate about preserving the indigenous Dartmoor pony and are committed to keeping native wild herds living out on the Dartmoor commons where they belong. 

An essential part of this process is to find suitable homes where young foals can be fostered out after weaning each year, to teach them about being handled and to prepare them for a future with humans having being born wild.  New Life Horse Care Sanctuary has provided precisely this foal fostering service to us for many years and have been an invaluable partner due to the exceptional care they can provide.  We approached New Life  Horse Care Sanctuary (NLHCS) as they can provide the 24 hour supervision needed for young and frightened foals as they live on site and can also ensure that there is always someone on hand 24 hours a day for emergency vetinary situations out of hours. They have offered this service to us for many years and this has proved invaluable as these are vulnerable young stock, in a high stress situation, where emergency situations can and do occur. 

The service provided by NLHCS is not about helping to produce ponies for sale for profit, it is about supporting organisations such as DPHT and their recognised breeders, who are  committed to preserving the true Dartmoor pony, which is a breed in serious decline with a dwindling gene pool and an uncertain future.   NLHCS fostered on average 12 foals each year from us, sending them two at a time for intensive care and handling - giving those young foals a chance in life and enabling them to go on to a useful future as ambassadors for the Dartmoor pony breed.

The situation for the Dartmoor pony is serious, NLHCS endeavours to make a difference and the positive contribution they make to this situation is invaluable. It would be a great loss if their tireless work was unable to continue.

March 2018

From Friends of the Dartmoor Hill Pony

I wish to thank Jackie and her team for their support over the past few years, taking ponies that would otherwise have no future and using them to benefit children who need help.
The Chief Executive of the British Horse Society, Lynn Petersen did a talk to the National Equine Forum about horses/ponies and young people which she called “Its a a kind of magic”.
I wish to thank Jackie for making this magic happen and dove tailed to our charity adds another level of magic, by supporting our work to give ponies from Dartmoor a future.

Charlotte Faulkner
Friends of the Dartmoor Hill Pony

Tia's Testimonial

Tia suffers from Dyspraxia and oral dyspraxia, and has difficulty with speaking out loud, reading out loud and writing. Currently we are addressing these difficulties.
Tia’s mother says ‘ Tia has been going to New Life Horse Care Sanctuary for a few months, working with the horses.  Tia loves her time there and is making good progress.  I have noticed a difference in Tia.  She is speaking a lot more about what she does and what Jackie has been teaching her.  It is really making a difference to Tia’s life.’

Ponies help Chloe cope with bereavement

"Chloe has been coming to NLHC since October 2016 after the sad passing of her granddad who she was very close to.  She was hiding her feelings from everyone, to protect them.  Since coming to NLHC she is learning that she can open up about how she is feeling and that her parents don’t need protecting, as they are there for her.  She is beginning to overcome her fears,as she was wary of the ponies to start with as she had not had contact with large animals.  Even though she is still grieving and struggling with puberty, she is a happier child.  She has loved meeting other learners and is making good friends with them. I feel that if Jackie had not allowed Chloe to come to NLHC she would be in a far worse place emotionally.  I am her auntie and even though I only see her once a week, I’ve noticed how much better she is"

- Margaret Burden

Ponies help Matt to cope with life's challenges

Matt is Mikey’s brother, who suffers with depression which is the result of having two special needs brothers and a disabled dad.  He was classed as a young carer, but there was no emotional support for him.  Matt lives in Seaton, and a month ago he came home as he was really struggling.  He came with Mikey to NLHC, and I’ve noticed that even though it’s not regular’ he can cope so much better with everything.  He loves helping and is happy to do whatever is needed.

- Margaret Burden