Children saddled up for a day of horse play in Newmarket.
The event was organised for siblings attached to East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH). They were either bereaved or those with a brother or sister receiving care.
The days took place on Monday, 20th December and Wednesday, 22nd December.
They were organised by the Newmarket Pony Academy and Penny Taylor, UK Charities Manager at Godolphin, and held at the British Riding School.
Four siblings took part on day one and five on the latter. There was a mix of boys and girls, ranging in age from 8 to 15.
The children started by getting kitted out in their riding gear and then learnt how to groom a pony.
They learnt about different brushes and techniques and then each chose a pony to spend time with in the stable.
They played lots of games like follow the leader, riding with a bean bag on their heads, trotting and how to control their pony.
After lunch, the children got the chance to make their ponies look festive for a fun competition, decorating them with baubles, tinsel, elf ears and Santa hats.
Jenna Kent, EACH Group and Events Co-ordinator, said: “It was an amazing day and lovely start to Christmas.
“The children loved trying something new and you could see they felt a sense of huge achievement.
“They enjoyed learning new skills and getting stuck in, riding the ponies but also mucking out, feeding them and changing their water.
“They worked so well as a team throughout the day.
“Their confidence around the ponies grew and it’s something we’d love to do again.
“Both days were very well run and the academy staff were excellent, full of encouragement and positivity.
“Their enthusiasm shone through and we’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone involved. They gave the children a very special and memorable experience.”
The days finished with a presentation where each child received a certificate.
Newmarket Pony Academy Manager Anna Sylvester added: “Both days were very successful.
“They were lovely children and a great group to spend time with.
“They enjoyed a real hands-on experience and seemed to have a fabulous time.”