For me, The Seeds of Change is where everything started to click into place, where I realised that things can change and that working with horses was what I hoped for my future.
When I was there I had my little moments, but nothing like I did at school. I think this is because I was doing something I enjoyed and I wasn’t stuck in a classroom environment all the time.
I met a pony called George, he reminded me of myself, just in horse form. I’d always wake up on a Monday feeling happy because I knew I was coming to The Seeds of Change. When I realised the coaches were there to help me and not against me, when I realised they only wanted what was best and that they were helping me and wanted to get me set up for the future, I let my guard down. I could talk to them about my personal life without judgement. I could share details of a difficult relationship without being told off. It was like an escape; an escape from everything; home, school, and my abusive ex-boyfriend.
Something just clicked one day. I knew something had to change and taking responsibility for my own actions was something I had to start doing. The coaches were there for me each week, allowed me to talk through anything I needed to and found ways to support me.
Through working with George, I learnt, like horses, sometimes I needed a break, a space to just ‘be’ and take a breath and relax for a moment. I’d never done this before and I certainly didn’t understand how helpful it could be. Knowing I had a plan and a strategy I could use when things got tough really helped. Sometimes that break was just three minutes stood with George, watching him just be himself.
George was quite funny with people; he’d pick and choose who he liked and who was allowed to come into his space - just like me! We built up enough trust in each other for him to allow me near him when he was lying down, a trust that I soon realised could be gained with any horse and probably any person if I considered my behaviour and how it was being reflected back to me.
I spent a year at The Seeds of Change and in that time not only did I learn about myself and what I hoped for my future, I also achieved a City of Guilds qualification in Landbased Studies.
That qualification allowed me to start at mainstream college, studying a Level 3 Advanced Diploma in Horse Care and Management. I’d left school with only one GCSE in Maths, but the qualification I’d gained at The Seeds of Change meant the college was happy to take me because I had a starting point. I retook my English GCSE and passed with a grade C.
I left college with Level 3 Advanced Technical Diploma in Equine Management with Merit and have just been offered my dream job working for a high end private event yard. Looking back, this is not something I ever thought I would achieve. I now live with my grandparents, my relationship with my mum has improved massively and I’m no longer in an abusive relationship.
People often see those like me as a problem child, when really we are just children with a problem. The Seeds of Change understood that and with their support and understanding they helped me move forward and set me up for my future. It was undoubtedly my changing point and without that opportunity I don’t think I’d be where I am today.