Meet the Horses

Name – Autumn

This is Autumn a New Forest x mare who was rescued by Natalie Darling then loaned to Sirona. She was quite withdrawn when she first arrived and took some time to come out of her shell. Now however, she is now a very confident little mare and loves to be pampered and groomed for hours by the young people who attend. Autumn is very sensitive and perceptive to people and is very popular on our equine-assisted therapy sessions.

Name – Chapas

Here is Chapas a rescue horse from Spain donated to Hannah Burgon by Lucy Rees. The scars on his nose are from a serratta headcollar which have metal on the inside. He is a very sensitive horse who takes time to trust people but is also a real joker and loves to throw his headcollar off its hook when he wants to come out of his stable!

Name – Gilded Lily

This is Gilded Lily having a snooze with Viki, one of our volunteers. Lily is an American Miniature Horse, on loan to Sirona from the Mare and Foal Sanctuary where she was rescued. After some months settling down at Sirona Lily has now proved to be a very strong minded little mare despite her diminutive size and takes no nonsense from any of the bigger horses! She is very popular with all the participants who attend Sirona – young and old.

Organisation Name – Sirona

Sirona Therapeutic Horsemanship CIO based in Devon, UK provides educational and therapeutic equine-based activities to young people and adults with additional support needs. See

General circumstances of rescue

Sirona has rescued and rehabilitated a number of horses who are now part of the EAT/L programmes we run. 2 horses are rescues from Spain donated by our patron Lucy Rees, 2 others are ponies rescued by people who have donated them to Sirona and another is a mare Hannah Burgon obtained through free ads who had had little socialisation with other horses.

Rehabilitation Process

All horses go through a lengthy settling-in process – from a minimum of 3 months to a year or longer, depending on the individual animal. During this time the horse or pony is handled by only 1-2 very experienced trainers/handlers who are responsible for their overall care, management, and training process with regular updates to the manager and the rest of the team. The horse will be introduced to the other horses in a separate, adjacent paddock to them initially for a few weeks (again this differs for different horses). Once settled, s/he will go in with at least one other horse, and usually with our more settled uncle/aunt type horses or youngsters, again depending on the right situation for the horse.

The horse will come into the yard each day to get used to watching the comings and goings and slowly begin rehabilitation/training consisting of on-the-ground handling for a good many months and including lunging, liberty work, walking out, and long reining. If appropriate, ridden work will begin once the horse is ready. During this time once it is assessed the horse is ready, and when the horse starts to initiate more contact and interest in others, they can slowly begin to get used to different people handling them – again with the more experienced members of staff/volunteers and then gradually moving on to 1 or 2 of our participants who start by grooming or leading them.

Current situation

We currently have 6 horses at Sirona who are rescue horses/ponies in one form of another. We have also had a number of horses/ponies from rescue centres/other homes who did not take to the work or being handled by different people and they were assessed as it not being an appropriate home for them, and so alternative homes were found/they returned to the rescue centres