Youth Project of the Month

We like to celebrate and showcase the excellent work going on at youth projects across the county through our Youth Project of the Month feature


This month’s project is Sirona Therapeutic Horsemanship. They are an established charity that provides equine-based therapeutic and educational activities to disadvantaged young people and adultswith additional support needs, including those who struggle in formal education, with mental health issues, social exclusion, autism spectrum, ADHD, and other disadvantages.
It seemed timely to choose them as they were mentioned and used a s a shining example of how to crowdfund at the recent launch of Exeter’s Crowdfund project. (See blog)
Take a look at their successful Crowdfund. from last year, where they successfully raised £10,505 for their stable block at their new location at Dartington.

Through engaging in motivating and empowering activities with horses supported by a professional and highly experienced team of staff and volunteers, Sirona supports people who experience difficulties in mainstream society to gain benefits and skills which will help them have more positive lives.

In Therapeutic Horsemanship sessions, people participate in educational and therapeutic activities centred around learning about horse care and management within a natural horsemanship approach.

Through developing knowledge and relationships with horses, participants gain increased self-confidence and self-awareness, improved communication skills and learn responsibility and empathy through caring for another living being. These are all factors linked to resilience and emotional intelligence which are claimed to be essential in achieving successful and positive lives and relationships.

Enabling accredited qualifications:

Sirona also offers the City and Guilds Level 1 and 2 in Horse Care in partnership with Duchy College, enabling young people to progress onto gaining an accredited qualification and so improve their educational opportunities. They also offer Equine-Assisted Therapy with their qualified counsellors. 

Sirona was started by Dr. Hannah Burgon, who is a qualified Social Worker and has completed training in Riding Therapy and Equine Facilitated Learning. Hannah also holds a Certificate in Counselling, and has a PhD into the benefits of Equine-Assisted Therapy & Learning from Cardiff University.

Hannah's book Equine-Assisted Therapy and Learning with At-Risk Young People was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2014. She is truly passionate about this work and it is her determination and commitment that has grown Sirona to where it is today. She is supported by a team of dedicated professionals and a wonderful board of trustees, all of whom bring their own experience and knowledge to Sirona's work.


You can find them on their website  or on Facebook