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Ride Leader: Elizabeth Maclay

Coaches:  Elizabeth Maclay/Mary Childs

Riders from Wolverdene Special School, Andover

Thursday during term time. 1.15pm

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We have had 15 sessions this academic year.  It would have been 17 if not for a teachers’ strike and a ‘residential’.  14 different children took part.  Each week 6 children, 6 patient ponies and 6 enthusiastic helpers make the sessions fun and educational and progress, whether physical or emotional, is remarkable.

The School staff are very supportive and quick to notice if a child is about to get upset.  I soon learn those you can push and those you can’t.  The school’s classes are now arranged according to need rather than age which can be a bit confusing when some of last year’s kids turn up and then you have a mixture of those who know it all and complete beginners.  Five of the year 6 did their Grade 1 Riding and Pony Care very competently and, when I did the leaving certificates, I discovered that one child had clocked up 17 lessons over the years!  This varies from about 5 to 9 and so no idea how he got to 17.

Mary and I shared the coaching mostly in the field but a ride through the woods and enjoying the trees makes for a relaxed time.  I am very grateful to Mary for bringing Smarties and Linford each week and we have my granddaughter’s Poppy and evergreen Toby, and Razzle and Bobby so kindly lent by Jo Strong.  These latter two are on the move and so I am searching! 

We had a very happy (think only one melt down!) Fun Day with help from Alex and Jules and all went away with handfuls of rosettes.  One child who had come 3rd in the gymkhana race said ’it’s not winning that matters – I just love Linford’.  As ever none of this could happen without a brilliant team of faithful helpers who turn out whenever they can, and I have a new helper who comes all the way from Salisbury!!  Very many thanks to them all.   Going forward – we will start in September with a dismounted day to fit hats and boots and to learn about the mounting block and tack and then ride until half term and have fun.

Elizabeth Maclay


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