School children with learning difficulties across the South West are being offered the opportunity to learn to ride and care for horses at Sidcot Equestrian Centre.
The Quaker-run centre is offering courses to students in the Cheddar Valley, Weston-super-Mare and Bristol areas at a reduced cost.
The eight-week programme costs £15 per child for a 90-minute session every week during term-time – half of the usual fee.
Children will learn about basic horse care and will each be allocated a horse or pony to care for during the course which allows them to build a friendship and learn about trust.
Centre manager Jane Keep said: "Many of the children we work with are at risk of being excluded from school, struggle to communicate and are often unable to make friends."
"Horses have no agenda and they do not judge: the children gain confidence, self-esteem and improved communication skills by spending time with them."
"By caring for a horse or pony, even for just a few hours, young people achieve a sense of responsibility, purpose and enjoy working as a member of a team."
The Equestrian Centre has been working with charities and local schools for more than four years to provide life-changing experiences for children who have physical, learning, behavioural and emotional difficulties.
There are currently 40 places available and the programme is appropriate for children with a wide range of learning difficulties including dyslexia, Asperger's syndrome, dyspraxia and ADD/ADHD.
Any teachers who wish to find out more information should contact Jane Keep on 01934 844748 or email firstname.lastname@example.org