SETTING up their own business working with horses was a life-long ambition for friends Shelley Ruck and Liana Bloxham.

And now they're making young children's dreams come true every day coming face-to-face with their first unicorn.

Raspberry Fields Pony Parties in Martinscroft near Woolston have been bringing an extra bit of sparkle to birthdays with their unique business bringing unicorns to life.

Pony parties take place at Raspberry Fields on Brook Lane or staff can take the unicorns to your home but either way it's often a memorable day.

Shelley added: "Liana and I absolutely love what we do.

"Having always been around horses they are part of our lives.

"In some ways it’s not even like a job as we get to do what we love every day.

"The 6am cold wet mornings throughout winter and all the hours we put in behind the scenes are definitely worth it when we deliver the best experience for the children we meet."

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The pair, who have recently been nominated at the Enterprise Vision Awards celebrating women in business, set up the Raspberry Fields business in January 2018.

After losing touch, the two friends were reunited a few years ago and then spent 12 months researching and planning before opening their stable doors.

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Both women have years of experience working with horses with Liana holding a qualification in Horse Management.

Shelley, who is a teacher with 15 years experience, juggles running the business alongside looking after her two young children but both say the hard work is always worth it.

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Shelley added: "It’s always amazing to see how the children react to our unicorns.

"They are absolutely blown away by the fact that they have a real unicorn standing right in front of them.

"We both wanted to create an experience for children that showed them the joy of horses.

"It’s not just about riding, although that is part of what we do, we want to introduce children to ponies in a safe, fun way that will create a magical memory and may even inspire them to go on a take formal riding lessons."

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The business has also helped to save many unwanted ponies after adopting four ponies from the Blue Cross animal charity.

Shelley added: "Our ponies have come from various circumstances so to be able to give them a loving and caring home along with being able to share them with lots of children has been a pleasure to see.

"Ponies are very forgiving creatures and help to build children’s confidence.

"We think it's important children understand how to respect them and care for them as well as having lots of fun grooming and pampering them."

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