What we are achieving

Benefits in physical and social skills have been demonstrated.

  • Development of social skills such as sharing, turn taking, showing respect.


  • Learning control of behaviour and emotions.

  • Development of listening skills and the following of instructions without fuss

  • Understanding danger and acting appropriately.

  • Increased muscle strength and balance.


To be able to offer a course of horse-riding lessons to our most disadvantaged children has meant we were able to open their eyes to the joys of interacting with animals and the benefits of outdoor pursuits.

Stephanie’s structured approach to each course of lessons ensures that every child knows what to expect and also what is expected of them.

Anxieties have been alleviated, confidence raised, negative behaviours successfully addressed and the thrill of horse riding felt.  We feel incredibly privileged, as a school, to have been offered these lessons and would encourage others to participate, should they be offered the opportunity; your children’s lives will be richer for them.

Riding for Smiles has been such a huge motivator in engaging our children and providing our most disadvantaged children with opportunities that they couldn’t ordinarily dream of having. Many of our children experience low expectations from home and genuinely don’t believe in themselves. This in turn leads to them having poor social skills, low self-esteem and lack of confidence which effects them academically and thus, significantly effects their life-chances.

Each week, they look forward to going to the stables and being around the horses, particularly throughout the last year where opportunities have been even more limited for them. The staff at the stables are fantastic and the children talk about how special they are made to feel. They are so proud to tell their peers all about it when they return to school and show them photos of their sessions. Using the riding activities has improved their social skills, boosted their confidence and also given them a real sense of self-believe and optimism. The project has also provided the children with regular physical activity and a chance to ‘escape’ from the stresses and problems caused by the pandemic over the last 12 months.

Parents have commented on the difference it has made to their children’s confidence and have been extremely grateful for the opportunity, knowing that this isn’t something they could ever provide their child with. A truely valuable project and a massive thumbs up from everyone at Whaley Thorns Primary School”

 Annette Lupton – Principal of Whaley Thorns Community Primary and Nursery School