ABBOTTS ANN RIDE.
Mondays 1 - 3pm April to October. 1 - 2pm indoors October to April.
Coaches: Sarah Oldham, Penny Wilkins, Barry Curd and Maureen Wood.
The Abbotts Ann Ride caters for adults whose ages range between 25 and 60 with a wide variety of problems including learning difficulties, autism, epilepsy, Turner syndrome, Mowat-Wilson syndrome and multiple sclerosis.
These problems obviously mean that their ability to learn to ride varies hugely, but that does not stop everyone thoroughly enjoying riding and the time that they are able to spend with the horses.
When we began our autumn term in September, we had 11 riders and one man who, while still too heavy to ride (he is on a diet), comes along and sets a quiz each week to tax everyone's brains.
During September and October, we were riding in the paddock at The Old Rectory in Abbotts Ann and splitting into two hour-long sessions, so the riders didn't have to share the available horses and ponies. However, when we escaped indoors to Catherston Stud at Over Wallop in November we had to revert to just one session.
In June four of our riders took part in the competitions at Fun Day and had a great time.
At Christmas we had a special festive last ride before the holidays with mince pies and Christmas cards for all. And eight riders and our “quiz master” had fun at the Christmas Horse Show at Olympia thanks to the generosity of the Walter Guinness Charitable Trust. At the end of the spring term we had an Easter egg hunt in the indoor school at Catherston.
By the time we were back at Abbotts Ann in the summer we had lost three riders so reverted to having just one session again. One rider had not been able to come due to ill health, another had moved to Southampton and Martin Webb, who had been with us for 25 years, had decided to hang up his riding boots.
We now look forward to relocating our summer riding to Pegasus. This is an attempt to settle our summer riding into more arena space and we have the use of a lovely newly surfaced arena there.