The city’s Ride High charity celebrates its 10th anniversary this week after bringing hope to 1,200 local children over the years.
Founded in a Portacabin with just six youngsters, the charity has grown to be a spectacular success and now works with 88 children every week.
The youngsters, who are aged between five and 18, are all referred by childcare professionals due to the problems they are suffering.
Some who may have suffered trauma or abuse, others have been suicidal. More may be caring for a parent, living in poverty, or living in care.
Ride High starts by teaching them to to ride and care for the resident horses at their Louhgton-based equestrian centre.
But this is just the start. Over weeks and months the children develop social skills and confidence.
By the time they leave Ride High they are thriving and in full time school, college or work experience, said founder Rachel Medill.
Rachel Medill gave up her job in London to change children’s lives in Milton Keynes.
She said: “At a very difficult time in my childhood, when no one knew what I was going through, awhite pony called Miskish was my lifeline.
“I wanted to provide the same support for other children, so in 2009 I started Ride
High. Little did I know that from those small beginnings it would grow to work with 88 children a week.”
She added: “When they first come to Ride High the children are desperately sad. We help them to see a brighter future and rebuild their lives.”
The charity’s patron is broadcaster and presenter Jeremy Vine. He said: “I’m proud to have been Ride High’s patron since the very beginning. At that time Ride High was the only charity of its sort in the UK.
"The last 10 years have seen it grow from a small idea to a thriving charity and social enterprise. In August 2017 it moved into its forever home, The Ride High Equestrian Centre in the heart of Milton Keynes, where profits from the riding school support the charitable work with MK’s most disadvantaged children."
Ellie was 15, when she came to Ride High. She had tried to commit suicide, she hadn’t left home for months and wouldn’t speak to anyone other than her mother.
However, the prospect of riding a horse was the one thing that broke through her cycle of despair , and she agreed to attend weekly sessions with the Ride High horses and other children.The sessions gave her something to look forward to and her confidence grew.
Nine months later she applied for college and is now in a full time course.
Ellie said; “Ride High completely saved me – I have a life now.”