The young people who rode the horses across France and England in 2008 sent us news of their life since the ride ended. For some of them, the project has given them unexpected opportunities. This report was written in September 2009.

Luke:

“Since the White Horses Project 2008 the opportunities that have been open for me have been unbelievable. I have been learning and having work experience at by far some of the best horse training centres around the world. With the help of my good friend and mentor Sadie Kaye, along with Dom Dandridge, we were able to travel and I trained at Monty Roberts’ home farm in California.

This one event has given me many more chances to travel the world to learn about horses, such as Sarah Kreutzer’s Learning to Listen.

I have learnt with the famous horseman Pieric and his partner Nadia and hope to visit them again in the near future.

Since November 2008 I have been helping Sue Wilkinson at her holistic equitation centre helping to train new young stallions and mares of the Zafran bloodline.

I helped Owton Fens Community Association, an association created by volunteers trying to help the local community with the use of horses, and through this they took me on a little sailing trip with them.

Thank you so much to everyone involved in SLL, by giving me the chance to help others I have discovered that there is so much more to life that I couldn’t see before.”

Andrew Clark – Andy

“Thanks to the charity I now work at the Zafran Stud (www.zafranhorses.com) in Great Ayton! It’s a holistic stud, meaning we look at the horse as much more than an animal which is meant to be ridden; problems arise for reasons, not just because the horse wants to annoy you! I’ve assisted in the backing (not breaking-in!!) of the eight young-stock, including the stallions, desensitizing, solving many of the horses problems and helping to rehabilitate any which have received injuries.

I now have a brilliant grasp of horse care in general; breeding, nutrition, management, groundwork, ridden work, saddlery, rehabilitation work and equine podiatry (barefoot!). As of September 21st I will become a qualified First Degree Human and Equine Reiki Healer, an alternative healing therapy which utilises the energy which is inside everything living thing! In my spare time I study equine biomechanics and classical dressage, a form of dressage that does not use any kind of side reins but still achieves the same results.

From time to time I visit local yards and suggest that people change their horse’s diet or try something new, but not many people do! I only try to help!

In the future I hope to further develop my Reiki until I become a qualified Reiki Master, find a suitable dressage instructor who does not bray their horses and I have considered training in saddle fitting – the difference a poor saddle can make is astonishing. Another aim is to have my Long Riders’ Guild application approved! However, I have no solid goals, I just hope to continue attending courses and improving my training techniques and knowledge. Oh, and we still do long hours and mileage in the saddle! Some things will never change.”

Rachel

“On returning to the north-east I managed to score an awesome job as a dental nurse which I’m training towards and doing very well. It’s a job I’ve had in mind for a long time. I’m also working part-time at Knitsley Mill. I’ve started to learn to drive which is very scary but it’s going very well. Not long and I’ll be another woman on the road. I’ve also been doing a lot of local travelling with my friends for the festival season, had a brilliant time at Leeds and Thimbleberry. Sadly the season is over now. Nothing much has changed for me really. I’m back to my life doing what ever I get in mind. I have fully decorated my flat, it’s well nice and looks like something off cribs (consett style) and also became a proud aunty of baby Logan. He’s gorgeous and he and Danielle are doing very well. I’ve had an exciting year and there’s still plenty more to come.

In February (2009) I fell off a horse I’ve been exercising and dislocated my hip. Not pleasant but it hasn’t stopped me riding and I was back on when I healed. He’s a lovely young horse, had a bad experience when broken so we’re trying to build his confidence.”

Cerys

“Since the Project ended I started looking for other projects I could do. I heard of a few but none unfortunately came through and I ended up looking for work instead. I completed a 2-day coaching course at the UK Sailing Academy in April where I participated in water sports and team building challenges. I have just recently got a job working Front of House (waitressing/bar work) at a Pub/Restaurant near where I live called The Cross Keys; I’ve been there for a couple weeks now. In November I am planning on applying for the North East Fire Service.”

Adeline

Adeline, like Alexi, is starting a Bac Pro Hippique at Questembert. She will do her practical at le Haras de Hennebont. When asked if it because of the project that she decided to do this, she said yes.

Alexis

“I’m doing a professional degree at Questembert in Brittany. I have 2 weeks of work experience, then 2 weeks study. The work experience is at « l’Etre Cheval » at Coz Camors. It’s a 3 year course. I want to be an ATE (Equestrian Tourism Guide), preferably abroad (Argentine).

I am still being supported by SAMOA. I did a chef apprenticeship but it wasn’t what I want to do in the end.”

Mickael

“I’m looking for an apprenticeship in sales. I was at the CRP (Centre for Teaching Resources). I am still at SAMOA. I don’t have any health problems now (my sternum is pretty much OK now).”