A leading Harborough equine therapy centre is going from strength to strength after moving to a brilliant new home in the nick of time.
Dina Shale, 50, said she is “thrilled to bits” as her not-for-profit charity The Way of the Horse thrives and flourishes at a new 16-acre rural site at Leire, near Broughton Astley.
The move has come after she faced a desperate make-or-break race against time to survive last autumn.
Dina told the Harborough Mail: “We’ve been here three weeks now and we are still very much settling in – but it’s great, we’re loving it here.
“We’d got right down to the 11th hour when we were suddenly offered this new home in the second week of last December.
“It wasn’t looking good at all as we’d been searching for somewhere suitable for months so it really did come down to a twist of fate,” said Dina, who set up The Way of the Horse on the edge of Lutterworth in 2015.
“We have got 12 horses here and it was massively stressful.
“They are my life, my best friends, I’ve nurtured many of them back from death.
“So it would have been devastating to have lost them – but it’s all turned out for the best.”
The Way of the Horse has got behind hundreds of local adults and children who have suffered trauma and abuse over the last six and a half years.
“We have never been busier.
“We have here some unique ways of treating people,” said Dina.
“And our highly-trained staff and our range of skills and therapies have never been more in demand.
“The Covid pandemic has obviously been very challenging for just about every one of us all over the country.
“We have been working with Intensive Care Unit nurses as well as senior police officers, teachers and people and professionals from all sorts of backgrounds,” said Dina.
“Many of us have suffered high levels of stress, anxiety, depression and trauma over the last year or so.
“A lot of the people we treat are at the end of their tether.
“Some of them are suicidal.
“We run a highly-successful 12-week programme helping to restore their well-being and mental health.
“It’s going so well that we have a waiting list for it.
“Our beautiful horses are absolutely invaluable in what we do because they are mirrors of how we are feeling.
“They recognise straight away if we are feeling anxious,” added Dina, who has about eight staff altogether.
“People come deep into nature here, they are totally grounded out here in the countryside.
“We are helping and teaching people to be calm again because life is a rat race at times.
“We are absolutely thrilled to bits to be here.
“We are still finding our feet but it’s such a relief to have found such a fantastic new home.
“We are still working very closely with local children who are suffering stress and anxiety.
“And we are offering free two-hour sessions in the summer holidays for youngsters who are struggling.
“We are now also able to offer an online programme teaching all about dealing with stress, anxiety and trauma,” said Dina.
“Our Project Pony scheme is funded two days a week by the National Lottery.
“But we are busy generating many diverse income streams to fund ourselves for the other five days of the week.
“And we are also running a charity called Rescue Ranch UK as we continue to rescue ponies and horses which are in trouble.
“We have just launched a campaign to raise £3,000 to pay for a crucial ear operation for little Lavender, a gorgeous pony we’ve just rescued.
“So we are always keen to win your support and to bring new volunteers who share our vision and our values into our amazing team.
“We are an out and out community project and a huge asset here in Harborough.
“And we’ll continue to do all we can to help and heal people who need our help seven days a week.”
You can find out more about the award-winning The Way of the Horse by visiting their website here: https://www.thewayofthehorse.co.uk