With a background in social work management and education, Jeff and Cath Ferguson have a wealth of knowledge and experience spanning 30 years. Their main focus was working with children and young people with additional support needs and social/emotional issues and three years ago they combined their desire to make a difference to young people with their passion for horses.
Karele Equine, a registered charity which operates from stables near East Linton in East Lothian, was born and now has a stable of 15 horses, each of which is used to work with children (aged 8 to 17), who suffer from mental health, anxiety or isolation issues and particularly those living in the most deprived areas. These children may have suffered parental marriage break up, bereavement, bullying or other life altering circumstances or conditions (including conditions such as autism) and they come to Karele where the gentle nature of the horses and the experience and compassion of Cath and Jeff help with the healing process. Karele transforms the lives of these disadvantaged children by giving them the opportunity to learn to ride and look after horses and ponies. They effect lasting change in their attitude, self-confidence and life prospects so they become happy, confident young people who are positively engaged in the outside world.
Karele provides an environment that is calm, supportive and it’s proven that experiences with horses are both therapeutic and relaxing.
Karele is also open to the public; offering part shares, coaching lessons, pony activities and hacking as part of wider fundraising efforts. All profits go to support the charitable work of Karele.
Referrals come from a wide network including East Lothian Works, The Action Group, CAHMS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services), Children Inc. and also from positive reputation and word of mouth and testimonials highlight how crucial Karele are to the community.
“Karele has made me into a much better person, I have met my two best friends there and it has given me skills which will help me massively with the future.”
“Karele have always gone above and beyond for me and I will forever appreciate them for this.”
“Since being at Karele I've now gained trust of a wonderful pony and a best friend but also skills I will use throughout my life with different people and doing different things.”