AN AYRSHIRE charity that helps local young people  by giving them the opportunity to interact with a herd of Clydesdale horses has won high praise from a local MSP.

Elena Whitham, who represents the Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley area, was speaking after paying a visit to the Calm Clydesdale Therapeutic Centre.

Ms Whitham spoke to centre founder Claire McGill and had a chance to meet some of the horses who have been helping local humans with their mental health and emotional wellbeing since the centre was set up earlier this year.

Ms Whitham said: “It was an eye-opening experience to visit the Calm Clydesdale Therapeutic Centre and refreshing to hear Claire’s unique and well-thought-out approach to therapy services for young people and adults.

“Most of us would agree that animals are sometimes easier to be around than people and come judgement free.

"That is why the work carried out at the Centre is so important and unique. Claire told me about the success stories she has had, all by providing a safe space for people to take some time out.

“During my visit, the horses were up at the fence to get clapped and, needless to say, were the centre of attention. Claire told me how the service is all about building trust for both people and the horses.

"The beautiful Clydesdales only come over to interact when they want to.

“I look forward to following the Centre's continued success and supporting it where I can as MSP.”

The centre, near the Heads of Ayr, has been up and running since April this year, giving young people the chance to build a relationship with the horses through mutual love and respect, helping them develop an awareness of others' feelings and needs and learning how to respond in turn.

Claire said: “Using a family herd of Clydesdales offers the opportunity to connect with the horses who don't judge, ask questions, or expect you to tell them your story.

"Instead, they are able to provide a calm safe connection and a chance to regulate your nervous system. Horses can teach us so much about ourselves.

“Watching my horses connect and heal deep emotional wounds in others is something that I will never tire of. They have no idea what a profound impact they are having on the people who are interacting with them.”

To find out more about the centre and what it can offer, see 'The Calm Clydesdale Therapeutic Centre SCIO' on Facebook.