Meet Nellie


There has been so much worry about mental health with people and teenagers during lockdown, I thought it would be good to share how as a family with teenagers we got through it.

My granddaughter Summer had weekly riding lessons and worked at the stables every weekend, her passion is horses, just like her mum and myself we have always had horses in the family. In March 2020 suddenly everything stopped, Lockdown hit us, Summer was broken, we told her this won’t be for long , we had all had to stop doing what we love. Within days the schools shut so then no friends either, home schooling started that brought a chaos of its own! 

The first few week were not too bad, she and her brothers kept in touch with school friends via FaceTime so they felt they were sharing with there friends, as it went on we then became aware how dangerous the situation was becoming, we knew this was not going away quickly and it was getting more deadly. We had to impose very strict routines about hands being washed all the time , hand sanitiser now sits next to every door , beside the front door signs up reminding us all don’t answer the door without a face mask on! Hard on everyone and very hard on the children.

For myself everything changed beyond my imagination, I run my eldest granddaughters care team, she lives at home in a special unit attached to the house. As you enter her room it looks a lot like an ICU ward she has all the equipment , ventilator, monitors, feeding pumps and cough assist machines, suction units and nebuliser, she is 24 hour care. When COVID hit we had to go into medical isolation to keep the outside world from her, we are a 4 person team, we had to go into surgical gowns , FFP3 masks , visors , gloves and aprons, we were drowned in PPE, our mission at all cost was to keep COVID away from her . Stress levels were high and twelve hour shifts became so hard, we had to also remember this is a family home with young children , we had to play things down as we did not want the children too frightened.

We felt amazing when the first lockdown ended , yet we knew it would not last and we had been told we must keep shielding our girl , before long we were heading back into lockdown , this time we all felt down .We saw an add for a pony up for loan, it had to live where it was which was what we wanted but otherwise it was there to be looked after and loved . My daughter took Summer to see the pony and meet her owner , everything had to be done with strict social distancing in place but the fact it was outside really helped , suddenly a pony had joined our family.

Nellie has been such a wonderful therapy for us all , because she is livestock and needed caring for my daughter could take her up to the stables , spend time there in the fresh air in a beautiful small wooded valley , no people around just horses and wildlife. My daughter and Summer had another focus, we all took turns to go up there and have some Nellie therapy ! She is gentle, sweet and a real mischief in the best way. Summer is now a very good rider and loves to jump anything that is on the ground , the family all love Nellie and she has helped us all focus on being positive. We will get passed this virus and I think it has taught us that sometimes you have to find something to focus on that’s positive even when things look really bleak. We are now looking forward to Summer and Nellie going to pony club camp later in the year, face masks will be coming too but really that’s normal now .Stay safe x

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