Chailey Heritage student forms special friendship with a Shetland Pony at Patchwork Farm

Finn Humprey, of Chailey Heritage School, requires specialist support to assist him in everyday activities and has developed a 'special friendship' with Nicnac, a miniature Shetland pony.

Friday, 26th November 2021, 1:10 pm
Updated Friday, 26th November 2021, 2:11 pm

An 18-year-old student with complex physical needs has improved his communication skills thanks to his interaction with a pony.

Finn Humprey, of Chailey Heritage School, requires specialist support to assist him in everyday activities and has developed a 'special friendship' with Nicnac, a miniature Shetland pony.

Finn and has been receiving therapy at Patchwork Farm at Chailey Heritage Foundation.

Finn’s mother, Rowena, who lives in Worthing with Finn and his two younger sisters said: “We are thrilled with the progress Finn has made since he met NicNac. Their unique friendship has really improved Finn’s communication and helped us understand more fully what he needs."

Finn’s mother, Rowena, who lives in Worthing with Finn and his two younger sisters said: “We are thrilled with the progress Finn has made since he met NicNac. Their unique friendship has really improved Finn’s communication and helped us understand more fully what he needs. His confidence has improved and Patchwork Farm continues to be a very important part of his life”.

Jemma Smith, Finn’s teacher, has noticed real improvements in Finn’s communication skills involvement in the Farm since he started working with NicNac:

She said: "“From the first session Finn had with NicNac, he was very engaged. He reached out to touch the pony while remaining calm and focused. Finn had previously not always been as engaged at the Farm and would vocalise to indicate he wanted to finish or change activity.

"While working with NicNac, Finn remains focused and happy, he does not indicate that he wants to leave but will clap and follow the instructions to lead, groom and feed NicNac

"When he returned to the classroom after his first session, we were able to engage with Finn using his symbol communication board. This allows him to indicate his preferences to us using symbols– and he told us he wanted to do more with NicNac including taking him for walks”.

Patchwork Farm is fully accessible to children and young people with complex physical and cognitive challenges, and the interaction with the animals allows them to help look after things that move and grow.

This year, the Farm is at the heart of our annual Big Give Christmas Challenge Appeal which runs from 30th November to 7th December (details at our web site www.chf.org.uk/thebiggive2021). Every £1 donated during this period will be matched, and we are hoping to raise a total of £25,000 to ensure the running and upkeep of Patchwork Farm.

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