Ponies Educating Diabetics and Siblings

The Ponies Educating Diabetics and Siblings (PEDS) programme is designed to support diabetic children (type 1 mainly) and their siblings. We also support parents to ensure that there is help for the whole family, learning to cope, living with diabetes.

Between six and ten children with diabetes attend each session to meet and share their experiences whilst learning to care for horses and ponies.

Children enjoy fun activity involving the ponies whilst gaining an understanding of their condition in a transferable rather than direct way. All in a non-clinical environment.

Sessions revolve around teaching the children about ponies with insulin resistance; Laminitis, Cushing’s Disease and Azoturia. These conditions are comparable with diabetes. Children get insight into how exercise and food affect ponies and why decisions are made around their care management.

A strong emphasis is placed on the traditional values of hard work, honesty, responsibility and respect for others in a safe, educational and fun environment.

A typical PEDS Session

On arrival at the Hampshire Riding Therapy Centre, children are fitted with riding hats and parents gather for tea and biscuits and chat. Children learn how to safely approach the ponies before grooming them ready for their ride.

In the comfort of a stable, sat on straw bales, the children discuss pony care following the ABRS syllabus including preparing the ponies feeds. This involves calculating how much and what to feed; taking exercise, health issues, age and size into account.
Feeds are made up and given to the ponies overseen by diabetic adults and parents.

The children test their own blood glucose levels, reviewing their lunch, afternoon riding and exercise against the results. This helps raise awareness of nutrition and the amount of insulin they have to inject. Blood tests and insulin injections are done before lunch. After lunch the children have a riding session in the outdoor school or a peaceful trek through the woods.

Following a session the children then get to meet and feed the other animals at the centre: pigs, chickens, dogs, and cats before the session ends with an informal evaluation and chat about the day.

PEDS sessions cost the charity £158.33 per child (based on 10 children per PEDS session) but we subsidies this so families only pay £20 per child. We rely on the generosity of our supporters to be able subsidies these sessions. If you are able to help us, please consider giving to help us continue providing these sessions. You can give here.

Closed for Winter  – Reopening in March 2018