A CHARITY working with women, some in domestic abuse in Bournemouth has teamed up with a farm in Dorset to provide therapeutic miniature horse sessions for their service users.

As part of their summer programme, members of Safe and Sound Dorset have been taking regular visits to the farm to help in their well-being and provide a welcome distraction from ongoing mental health and physical difficulties.

Attendees have the opportunity to lead the miniature horses on walks around the farm area and in-hand jumping, where adults and children can take them around a small obstacle course, as well as groom and tend to the horses.

The owner said: "It is so lovely to see people connect with the horses like this. Once you pass the gates at the entrance, it is like the world doesn’t exist, problems just seem to disappear and this helps put things into perspective.”

Members of the Safe and Sound Dorset group say they have really benefitted from their weekly sessions in the New Forest, adding that the sessions provide them with a confidence boost which they can then take into their daily lives.

Bournemouth Echo: Members from Safe and Sound Dorset enjoy another Summer Miniature Horse Day at a farm in Dorset

Some women have become volunteers there as a result of the summer sessions.

Manager at Safe and Sound Dorset, Dot Pickett said: “Women are often stuck in difficult lifestyles due to past trauma that can make them end up in cycles of depression or anxiety, even to the point of losing housing, or going into temporary housing, sometimes ending up homeless.

"Being in such a tranquil and peaceful space for an afternoon is very therapeutic, calming the mind and mental health. It is even said bonding with horses can help lower blood pressure.

"The miniature horses are so gentle, serene and accepting of all. Safe and Sound Dorset works on empowering women, building confidence and encouraging women to make good choices taking personal responsibility whilst recognising that trauma puts limits on some women. All our creative and therapeutic sessions seek to give positive benefits.”

Safe and Sound Dorset provide a holistic experience with a picnic and a rosette celebration to finish the day.

Well-being Project Coordinator, Stephanie Weyell added: “Horses and nature promote healing from addiction and trauma.

"Horse live entirely in the moment and when we are mindful and present, rather than living in the past or worrying about the future, magic starts to happen.

"People talk about meditation being healing but so is ‘meditation in motion’, you don’t need to sit still in a quiet room to get the benefits, a walk in nature can hit the spot. Using nature as a healing strategy, step by step, we are able to work towards a healthier lifestyle."

For more information, visit www.safeandsounddorset.org.