"Merrylegs Assisted Riding for Children with Additional Needs" provides regular riding sessions in term time for young children with a variety of needs.
Riding can help improve balance and core body strength, and the children really enjoy the social interaction with both helpers and ponies. Parents are present at the sessions, and they too enjoy the social side. Instructors give the children different tasks and play simple games, which give the child fun and varied challenges and a chance to achieve manual goals.
All sessions take place at Brinsbury College on the A29 north of Pulborough. In summer we can ride outside in a fenced sand school - and in a large indoor school when it is cold or wet. Brinsbury is our usual base, but we do have occasional outings. The building is accessible for all needs, including an accessible toilet nearby.
In the first instance you can approach the group directly. See our "contact us" page.
We are a registered charity, but we do ask for a donation where possible, to help cover our costs – e.g. hiring the school arena and equipment etc. There is sometimes a waiting list, with lengths varying, but as children do out-grow our ponies, vacancies regularly occur.
The age range for children is generally between 5 and 11 years. We take into account their weight and height, to fit the child to a suitable sized pony. We are open to considering any type of disability.
Any practical decisions concerning the riding, e.g. suitability etc are made by our instructors. We generally need the child to be able to support themselves a little, to get maximum benefit from the sessions. Any wider organisational concerns are handled by the trustees at our regular meetings.
We communicate by text or email, and by information on the website. Parents attend with the child every week, so they can always talk to someone at the sessions.
We have a qualified instructor and our dedicated volunteers are supported by two experienced "session managers" and the charity trustees who are very "hands on".
Any instructor, session manager, trustee or volunteer can be available to discuss a child's progress, and/or any problems and queries week by week.