Spirit of the Herd pony sanctuary was founded in 2018, a not for profit rescue and rehabilitation home for horses and ponies with past issues relating to neglect, physical and mental abuse. Currently run by Directors Kelly Anne Larkin, Agnieszka Jarecka-Griffiths and Saphron Woods.
Here at the Spirit of the Herd we are a great team of volunteers who work hard to give the horses the much love and care they require. Our sanctuary is situated in Alvanley, just above the towns of Frodsham and Helsby and has 3 sites from Alvanely to Manley where our 23 horses are able to live in herds and graze their fields freely. All of our horses are passported and microchipped, they have regular dental checks, visits from the vet and hoof checks from our farrier.
For decades, horses have been known to help people with physical, mental, neurodevelopment and emotional challenges. By spending a short period of time with a horse learning how to take care of them and being hands on with grooming duties it can help children, teens and adults improve confidence, self-esteem, stress and more. Horses are amazing at reading human emotions and it is well known that a lot of people turn to animals for comfort. They can mirror human emotions and behaviour and will respond to negativity, therefore encouraging people to be calm and gentle but also be aware of their surroundings.
Here at the Spirit of the herd we are dedicated to helping people from the local community and afar by offering pamper sessions and wellness sessions to those in need of something a little different that could have a positive impact on their health. Our sanctuary is run on fundraising, donations from the community and grants we have successfully secured along the way. Every penny we receive goes straight into feeding and caring for the horses.
In the past year alone we have come such a long way and made hit some huge milestones in our development and you can check these out on our projects page or our social media sites. We are also pleased to announce that we have some exciting plans in the pipeline so please keep an eye on our site and social media for developments.
We'd like to welcome you to the SoTH family and thank you for your continued support.
Our current volunteers
We have a number of regular volunteers who help out in a variety of vital ways; each person brings something different. Most people help with general horse care and handling, and have a particular pony to take care of. Others help with events, or help with fund-raising, social media, teaching, and general maintenance of the sanctuary.
Our volunteers have a range of backgrounds; some have formal equine qualifications, others lots of practical experience, and others with skills such as working with children and conducting equine-assisted therapy. A number of people come to us to learn about how to work with horses.
Kelly is responsible for a lot of our social media content, and is helping to raise our profile online. Kelly has found that her relaxing time at SotH has allowed her to deal with her own anxieties, stresses and insecurities; learning to work with the ponies, helping with the care classes and recently speaking on local radio has helped her to push herself out of her comfort zone.
Rick is new to working with horses, but has found that being around them helps him to relax and helps with anxiety. He is involved with a lot of the maintenance of the site, and supports the running of weekend activities. Rick's favourite horse is the cheeky Paddy, due to his laid-back nature.
Anna came to Spirit of the Herd with her daughter Flo, and enjoyed it so much that she decided to become a regular volunteer. Anna enjoys the peace and acceptance of the sanctuary, and that Flo can just be herself. Anna helps with day-to-day care of the ponies and with events at Spirit of the Herd. Her favourite pony is Rupert, as he is cheeky and most like a dog!
AJ has been around horses since she was little. She's always enjoyed caring for horses more than riding them and volunteered at yards in Poland and the UK as well as worked as professionial groom in Germany. She enjoys spending time with our ponies and see them blossom. She finds the company of our ponies very beneficial in her daily struggle with anxiety.
Liz volunteers with her daughter Emily and Emily's friend Ellen. They all love spending time at the sanctuary helping with caring for the ponies and general maintence as well as events both on and off the site. Emily's favourite is Boxer and Ellen's is Blue, Liz can't decide as she loves them all.
Amy has ridden and loved horses since she was little but volumteering with them at SotH has taught Amy so much more about horses, and she finds it amazing to see all their indiviual personalities flourish and how they interact as one big herd. Building bonds and gaining trust over time from the ponies has been so rewarding for Amy and she is grateful she can help these wonderful animals who give so much to humans.