For 10 years a unique charity has used horses to transform the lives of children struggling with mental health problems.
Back in 2009 a marketing director gave up her job in The City of London to change children’s lives in Milton Keynes.
Rachel Medill MBE, founder and CEO, has been the driving force behind Ride High. Her work has resulted in the creation of The Ride High Equestrian Centre, a 37 acre site in the centre of Milton Keynes. This is the long term home of the charity and an oasis of green space where desperately sad children find hope and realise that they have the prospect of a positive life.
Rachel says, "At a very difficult time in my childhood, when no one knew what I was going through, a white pony called Miskish was my lifeline. I wanted to provide the same support for other children so in 2009 I started a charity called Ride High. Little did I know that from those small beginnings it would grow to work with 88 children a week. When they first come to Ride High the children are desperately sad. We help them to see a brighter future and rebuild their lives.”
Ride High started in 2009 with just 6 children. Now the charity works with 88 children a week - children who may be suicidal, in care, living in poverty, caring for a parent or siblings. In the last 10 years Ride High has changed the lives of over 1,200 children.
Ellie was 15, she had tried to commit suicide, she wouldn’t speak to anyone, she hadn’t left home for months. However, the prospect of riding a horse was the one thing that broke through her cycle of despair and she agreed to come to Ride High. Weekly sessions gave her something to look forward to and gradually her confidence and self esteem grew.
Nine months later she applied for college and is now in a full time course. Ellie said, “Ride High completely saved me – I have a life now.”
Jeremy Vine, BBC and Channel 5 presenter is the Patron of Ride High:
“I’m proud to have been Ride High’s patron since the very beginning. At that time Ride High was the only charity of its sort in the UK and started off working with just six children. The last 10 years have seen it grow from a small charity into a thriving social enterprise”