VICTIMS of domestic abuse in Anglesey and Gwynedd are regaining their confidence and receiving support on the road to recovery thanks to an innovative scheme involving horses.

Women of all ages are being given access to equine sports by support service Gorwel, in partnership with the Welsh Institute of Therapeutic Horsemanship (WITH), to help rehabilitation after instances of abuse.

WITH’s Overcoming Obstacles project helps women become involved in horse agility and western trail riding to help build their confidence and communication skills.

The sports participation scheme is funded by Comic Relief’s ‘Levelling the Field’ fund, which helps women get involved in sport they wouldn’t otherwise be able to.

Gorwel, which is run by housing association Grŵp Cynefin, provides free transport to WITH’s Anglesey and Gwynedd sites for the programme’s users.

Gwyneth Williams, Gorwel manager, said: "We’re pleased to be able to offer a powerful activity to support vulnerable women and children who have suffered domestic abuse.

"Horses can act as mirrors and communicate well with humans, so they’re perfect for helping people who have been through challenging periods in their lives.

"The project is particularly effective for recovering families as children can spend time with horses without spending money on private riding lessons.

"We have even had some go on to volunteer in Overcoming Obstacles sessions and compete in WITH’s Saturday Horse Agility League."

Gorwel employs a number of people working on different schemes to support the homeless, victims of domestic abuse, and people over 55 who need help to continue living independently, across Gwynedd, Anglesey and Denbighshire.

Around 90 per cent of its funding comes from the Welsh Government’s Supporting People programme, which gives housing-related support to help vulnerable people live as independently as possible.