My name is Sue Blagburn, I am the founder, managing director, counsellor, coach and facilitator at Awareness with Horses CIC. I founded the company as a not-for-profit social enterprise in June 2015.
Becoming a social entrepreneur feels very natural. I ran my first horse business when I was only 21 years old, and then ran a marketing communications and graphic design business for over 20 years. I have always worked in a way where the emphasis is on providing a service based on a sustainable and holistic approach. A Social Enterprise is described as an organisation that applies commercial strategies to maximize improvements in human and environmental well-being, which completely fits with my values and way of running a business.
Developing Awareness with Horses is exciting and also occasionally terrifying! Running an organisation where the intent is to offer therapeutic interventions and personal growth is a responsibility that I take seriously. This includes each and everyone of us who work at Awareness with Horses. Part of this is about developing a team of people who have the qualities and qualifications that support my vision and collectively sustain our mission. Another part is about how to develop Awareness with Horses into a sustainable social enterprise that will flourish and thrive and can offer more people the benefits of equine assisted learning and therapy.
Working with horses is a journey of learning. For some of us, including myself, it is a life long journey of deepening my insights into the reciprocal relationship between man and horse. I believe horses can enhance our well being, and likewise we can enhance theirs.
My own Journey with horses started when I was a child. I was lucky enough to start connecting with horses in their natural environment from a young age. At the time hanging out with herds, and engaging with the wild ponies in the New Forest were the only opportunities I had of being around horses. Of course at the time I didn't realise how important what I was observing and learning was, like most children what I wanted to do most was to ride. I started riding at 9 years old, and found a riding stables where I could work at the weekends from the age of 12, I have worked with horses either full time or part-time ever since.
From my teenage years onwards I had wonderful opportunities to compete at a professional level in eventing, dressage and showing, and train horses and hang out with various natural horsemanship teachers. I coached and taught people to ride full time from my late teens until my mid 20s. The work I am doing in partnership with horses expresses all of what I have learned and am still learning on my own equine guided personal and professional journey. Guiding others to connect with the gifts horses can give feels like a great privilege.
I started to have strong callings to work in equine assisted learning and therapy since it's early stages of development in the UK. I had already worked with young people with disadvantages as a horse riding teacher, I had already naturally developed ways of facilitating, coaching and mentoring business people, and had worked with horses professionally either full time or part-time for many years. All this, plus my own inner experiences of how horses had helped me, as my teachers, facilitators, coaches and therapists became the foundation I continue to build on.Equine Team
When I chose to work in equine facilitated learning I had no expectations that Arthur, William and Harry who have been with me since they were foals (2004/2005) would choose to come on this adventure with me, but they did. This work doesn't suit all horses or ponies, so to be working with three horses that I have trained and hung out with they were foals is extraordinary. Arthur, I bred, (I was the midwife at his birth, and like wise his mother, and his grandmother was with me from the age of 8 until she was 29 years old). William and Harry, (two New Forest ponies came to me at six months old and I have been learning from about 6 generations of their ancestors since I was a child). Arthur and William are now 15 years old and Harry is 14, experiencing their growth and development with clients is awesome and amazing. In the summer of 2017 Honey joined us, she is a second cousin of William and Harry's and aged just 6 years old, she brings both youth and many female charms to the herd!Horse Reunion Video
Back in 2008 having decided to train in equine facilitated learning I sold my property and land in Dorset. In June 2008 Arthur aged 4 years old also went to a new home in Kent. On 14 December 2012 I bought him back, and he was reunited with his two play mates from foal-hood, William and Harry. This magical horse reunion (which was filmed and has gone viral on YouTube) was really the beginning of Adventures with Horses, and the seed was sown for the work we are now doing. Arthur, William and Harry are Awareness with Horses! They continued to inspire and open hearts; mostly this is now face to face. Link: watch the You Tube video here. My Qualifications, Training and Experience
Before starting Adventures with Horses, I spent 6 years (2009 - 2015) studying, working and volunteering in equine assisted learning and therapy. I work with various models, including the European Association for Horse Assisted Education and Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association.
I am in the final stages of studying towards an advanced diploma in humanistic integrative counselling specialising in gestalt, I am a BACP student member and abide by the ethical framework for good practice in counselling and psychotherapy. Until the autumn of 2019 I will be running low cost equine assisted counselling as part of my work placement.
I am a professional coach and member of the ICF and bide by their code of ethics. I am presently working towards ICF accreditation, I have a ILM qualification in coaching and Mentoring, and a diploma in NLP.
I have over 30 years experience working with small businesses and medium size businesses with marketing communications and business start up qualifications.
Last but not least I am also a accredited professional coach with the British Horse Society. Although I no longer coach or teach horse riding I believe the professional background it has given me in equine welfare, health and safety, and codes of conduct involved in keeping both the people and horses safe in an equnie environment is paramount.Meet more of the human team
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