Athena: A year on
When I first visited Athena, they were very new track livery system. On my return, just over a year later they’ve grown to be so much more!
Originally set up because Jennifer was disillusioned with the traditional livery yard setting. Athena is an equi-central track system set in beautiful Kent country side. Originally the herd was fairly small with Jennifer and Brent’s own horses there.
A ‘track’ system is designed for horses to mimic their normal environment. A ‘racetrack’ is set up along the perimeter of the field and access to the inner lush grass is limited. Horses live alongside each other in herds and are free to move around as they please. Some seek the comfort of others and some prefer to wander alone.
Athena: Horse focussed
There is a huge barn area where during the summer months they can be found chilling and enjoying the shade. They access to hedges and often you will see them naturally forage and seek out the herbs and plants they need. Haynets are dotted around as well as huge piles on the floor. Meaning the horses have to move around to seek food sources. If you’ve ever spent anytime in the New Forest it’s clear to see this is how horse prefer to move around and graze.
There are stables at Athena and also paddocks for grazing. Will, an older boy doesn’t have many teeth left so he does better on the long grass, in a paddock that he shares with the alpacas!
Some prefer to be stabled for a while whilst they join the herd and sometimes it’s just more convenient for them to be in. Either vet visits or as Jen explained for the all-important worm egg count. There’s a tack room and a tea and coffee area for the liveries, of which Jen know has about 20 and a waiting list! All in all, the livery side of things is going well. Athena has a lovely school, nice hacking and a round pen is due to go in soon.
Excitingly Jen has qualified as a trained Equine Facilitated Learning Practitioner.Something a bit different but another service that gives individuals the opportunity to learn about themselves. Immersing themselves into the herd and seeing how they react can be enlightening. Jen very kindly offered me a session but I’m not sure if it’s for me at the moment. I’m seriously considering it, but maybe after the house drama is sorted. I don’t think the horses would like me at the moment-too much stress and tension.
Athena: A place of relaxation
Jen has big plans for Athena though and these extend beyond the livery scene. A select few therapists work at Athena and there’s a recent installation of a tree house! Meanwhile Jen is converting an area of the house to become a therapy area. This means the livery and therapy side of things can be comfortably separate. Whilst we sat and listened to the birds whilst watching the horses move around the track it becomes clear that Athena isn’t just a livery yard. It’s an escape, a retreat, a quiet place where your mind can rest and has a vibe very unique to itself.
Thank you for your time Jennifer and we will be taking up the offer a treehouse night away very soon!