Youth Development Programme

As a not-for-profit organisation, we focus our work on children with mental health difficulties and special educational needs through our Youth Development Programme.

 “I have seen Think Like a Pony change the lives of some of the hardest to reach children in our community. These are children who are at high risk of self-harm, suicide, depression and chronic anxiety.” - Annie Mandelstam, Child Clinical Psychologist.

Young people are referred to us when no other form of therapy is having an impact. Without support, these children are at risk of chronic mental health problems that can lead to isolation, self-harm, depression and even suicide.

Through learning to build a relationship with a pony children learn strategies that empower them to take control of their physical, mental and emotional state. This in turn helps them to build stronger relationships, re-engage with learning and see a future for themselves.

As each young person successfully builds a relationship with a horse both their outlook on life and behaviour change dramatically. They begin to take responsibility for their actions, achieve goals and see a future for themselves. Through horsemanship young people improve communication and relationship skills, become confident, self-aware and begin to engage with education.

To discover how Think Like a Pony can help a vulnerable young person to see a future take a look at Scarlette's story...


Children are referred to the Youth Development Programme through Children's Services, schools, CAMHs and other professionals. Children can also be referred by their own family.

Funders including the Big Lottery Fund, Comic Relief, The Leeds Community Foundation, The Fairhurst Foundation, The Looked After Children Fund and Sport England as well as local councils have helped to fund this successful programme.


We have successfully made an impact on the lives of a wide range of children. This includes children who are in foster care, children who are missing out on education, young offenders, children with special educational needs and children with long-standing mental health, social and emotional difficulties.


If you would like to refer a young person, please contact emma.jones@thinklikeapony.co.uk to request a referral form.