A DEVON teen with severe dyslexia has overcome all the odds to win a special achievement award, after studying at the Mare and Foal Sanctuary.

17-year-old Jacob Porter has always loved horses but due to his severe dyslexia found the standard school system difficult to cope with.

But having worked with the team at the Mare and Foal Sanctuary, the young horse handler has won an award for his exceptional growth and commitment to his personal development.

The youngster has won the Pamela Almond changing Lives through Horses Achieve Award.

Jacob began working with the team at the sanctuary in 2019 after struggling at school due to dyslexia and dyscalculia.

He had already left mainstream education when his family heard about the Equine Assisted Services offered by the sanctuary, and its focus on growing confidence by building transferrable life skills.

Jacob started with The British Horse Society’s Changing Lives through Horses programme and quickly worked his way through all ten stable management awards and all six ridden awards.

Jacob now hopes to go on to complete The British Horse Society’s professional pathway to gain his coaching qualifications.

He has embraced learning and is inspired to become a riding coach.

Thanks to his time at the Mare and Foal Sanctuary he has also been able to go back to education and is attending South Devon College to study Animal Care and Car Mechanics. “I’ve very pleased as I’ve put in a lot of work. It’s life changing,” Jacob said.

Mum Cheryl added: “Jacob has always loved horses and wants a career with them.

“However, due to his severe dyslexia, the standard school system posed many difficulties for him in achieving this aim.

“The loss of his father to a long-term illness only added to the intensity of his situation.

“Since attending the Mare and Foal Sanctuary he has overcome adversity by applying himself with tenacity, courage and determination, making incredible progress.

“He has been committed and worked extremely hard.”

Dawn Neil, head of education and equine assisted services at the Mare and Foal Sanctuary, said: “We’re delighted that Jacob has won the Achieve Award. It has been an absolute pleasure to see the progress he has made with the Changing Lives through Horses and Challenge Awards programme at our sanctuary.

“His passion and commitment has shone through as he has developed knowledge, skills and confidence working with our rescued horses and ponies.

“We love seeing the difference horses and ponies make in people’s lives and the difference people make in their lives and Jacob has been a shining example of this.”

Alison Blackmore, head of changing lives through horses at The British Horse Society said: “Jacob has embraced this opportunity with the team at the Mare and Foal Sanctuary and dedicated so much of his time to his personal growth.

“It’s wonderful to see how the programme and the power of horses has positively impacted Jacob.”