is a small London charity with a large heart!
Children and young people:
- Have therapeutic riding sessions,
- Are given the opportunity to care for a pony,
- Take physical exercise which helps enable them to be fitter,
- Have a great deal of fun and
- Make new friends
All in a safe outdoor environment.
The children’s abilities and disabilities vary greatly, from severe cerebral palsy to mild learning difficulties. Most come every week and their riding sessions become a very positive part of their physical and personal development. They come from all walks of life, some are referred by hospital medical consultants or social services. Some come through a school programme and others come by their parents contacting the Centre. They range from 7 years up to early twenties. Children younger than 7 are taken when a medical consultant recommends it.
Pony Centre Case Studies
A young cerebral palsy child.
She first came to the Centre when she was nearly 5 years old. She had little muscle tone and was unable to walk at all. Over time, working with the centre’s Osteopath, the young rider slowly begun to hold her head up for short periods. She then began actually to ride the pony, using her legs to ask the pony to move forward rather than just be taken for a ride. This was a great achievement not only for her physical development but for the immense fun of riding. After her riding she would dismount and be given support and help to enable her to walk across the riding arena rather than immediately sit in a wheel chair and be pushed out. The first time she ever walked was after a riding session. Her mother and grandmother watched with tears in their eyes. They never thought she would be able to walk. The riding helped warm up and relax her muscles as well as helping with her co-ordination. After years this little girl is now well able to walk.
An 8 year old boy with severe autism.
He first attended the Pony Centre with his class from school. He was very withdrawn and terrified of all animals especially ponies. He came regularly every week with his class mates and Centre staff would spend a long time encouraging him to touch a pony, firstly with the tips of his little fingers, then with his hand and eventually to get close enough to touch with his face. With this grown confidence he is now able to brush his pony, and ride. This young boy now looks forward to his weekly riding session and enjoys communicating with his pony.
The Centre is a busy place. On week days around 10 groups of children attend the centre from their schools. On Saturdays another 8 groups of children come individually with their parents.
Each year there is a special day for the school groups, generally in June. Some of the children take part in short riding displays. All the children receive rosettes and there is a fun inter-school pony care competition. The morning ends with cakes and drinks.
There is also a display day for the Saturday riders held each summer.
For more information see www.wormwoodscrubsponycentre.org