The Leg-Up Trust reaches out to disadvantaged youth who suffer social, behavioural or emotional problems by teaching them how to engage and communicate with horses. These young people have been put in the 'too hard' basket and Leg-Up Trust gives them a second chance in life: increased confidence, life skills and something to get up for in the morning. These young people have often been through incredibly difficult times; some have suffered abuse, are at risk of suicide or are young offenders. Leg-Up provides strong and clear boundaries so that the young people develop a sense of right and wrong and learn to focus on positive attributes. The children are all nurtured and unconditionally loved. All other avenues have failed with these children so we dare to be different. The horses are the therapists; we humans are the facilitators.
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The seeds of Leg-Up were sown when Ros Rowe set up a small horse trekking business in 1999 to help a suicidal young woman get back on her feet by giving her a job. The trekking business did well but the casual way in which clients rode the horses didn’t sit well with the operators, and inspired the term ‘hairy bicycle syndrome’. To address this concern half day Horse Sense sessions were offered in which participants learned about the nature of horses which transcended merely riding them and these became very successful.