Riding Lessons Tees Valley - Riding For The Disabled Tees Valley

RDA, horse riding, riding lessons, riding lessons tees valley, riding for the disabled tees valley, riding for the disabled, pony care days, volunteering, dressage clinics, NVQ Training, show jumping, competitions, charity

RDA, horse riding, riding lessons, riding lessons tees valley, riding for the disabled tees valley, riding for the disabled, pony care days, volunteering, dressage clinics, NVQ Training, show jumping, competitions, charity

Situated next to a large council estate in Teesside is the purpose built Riding for the Disabled Association Unicorn Centre. Catering for 250 disabled pupils, its 20 horses also serve 16 NVQ Horse Care students, some of whom are disabled, some not. The standard of horse ranges from 13.hh ponies whose specialist use is to provide riding therapy for severely disabled children to a 16hh Hanoverian intermediate dressage mare used by the Unicorn Centre riders in national dressage competitions.

During the last 6 years staff at the Centre had recognised an increase in riders with obesity problems, many of them children and young teenagers. The Centre’s 14.2hh weight carrying pony had become elderly and unable to carry the weight and increase in numbers. Although the Centre covers its costs it was unable to provide the funds needed to purchase a very special type of pony, who would not only carry the weight but also be adaptable enough to carry students and to compete in competitions.

A grant from Children in Need was gratefully accepted to purchase and keep this special pony for a year, but what to buy? The Centre needed a pony between 14.3hh to 15hh, strong backed with a smooth walking and trotting action, amenable to reason and willing to accept riders that made loud noises, rode unbalanced and could be led off a headcollar. This paragon also had to be able to work at canter, jump small fences and work willingly for more able riders.

In April 2010 staff started looking for a pony and travelled as far south as Solihull in the West Midlands without success. Then a chance meeting in the Grandstand at the Royal Highland Show between Judy Preston, a director of the Centre and Catriona Lackie, resulted in Catriona sending her 7 year old Highland gelding Angus of Mendick to the Unicorn Centre for a 2 week trial. This turned out to be two and half weeks because Angus asked why a human being wanted to swing above his saddle in a hoist! After explaining to Angus that this was a normal occurrence at the Centre he happily accepted the Centre’s unusual approach to mounting and joined the team.

Angus took to the work quickly partly because of his Highland temperament but mainly because Catriona and Dave had trained him in the use of logging chains and to carry panniers, so he was oblivious to people sidewalking next to him or rider’s legs moving in uncontrolled spasms.

The Unicorn Centre hopes that Angus of Mendick will have a long working life helping disabled riders. Appreciation of his talents is shown by sending him on rejuvenating holidays in the North York Moors; and when the time comes he will be found a retirement home on permanent loan where, like his predecessor, he can have a fun life hacking out. You never know but Catriona and Dave may see Angus in their fields again in 10 or 12 years time!

If you would like to visit to see Angus at work or would like further information about the Unicorn Centre, call us on 01642 576222.

RDA, horse riding, riding lessons, riding lessons tees valley, riding for the disabled tees valley, riding for the disabled, pony care days, volunteering, dressage clinics, NVQ Training, show jumping, competitions, charity

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Riding Lessons & Services

RDA, horse riding, riding lessons, riding lessons tees valley, riding for the disabled tees valley, riding for the disabled, pony care days, volunteering, dressage clinics, NVQ Training, show jumping, competitions, charityRDA, horse riding, riding lessons, riding lessons tees valley, riding for the disabled tees valley, riding for the disabled, pony care days, volunteering, dressage clinics, NVQ Training, show jumping, competitions, charity

The Unicorn Centre provides riding lessons and therapy for children and adults from 5 years old, both disabled and able-bodied. The Centre has 20 horses and ponies, carefully chosen for their temperament, size and ability to work with disabled riders, and a hoist facility for mounting onto ponies is available for wheelchair users... read more