Our long running Winter Series is back this Sunday 27th October for its 13th year, open to ALL AGES, and we have an improved Arena surface, particularly suitable for jumping. Benefit from an all-round professional Show Jumping experience, but in a relaxed, friendly, encouraging atmosphere with a Grand Finale in March 2020.
We are delighted to be back for a 13th year of our Winter Series Show Jumping Championships, and with a new improved Arena surface too! Held at our Indoor Arena, West Fenton, the monthly events kick off this Sunday 27th October – click here view our October Schedule and Equine Flu ‘Pony Passport’ requirements– with the Final in March 2020. With a cozy Viewing Gallery and an all day cafe, your support crew can keep warm while you’re in action. Spectators are welcome, free entry!
Blingo By The Sea was a brand new fundraiser specially for our 30th anniversary year, with the aim of raising funds to enable us to deliver projects which will set us up for the next 30 years!
Last week, two of our young Friday volunteers from North Berwick High School won a competition organised by the Youth & Philanthropy Initiative Scotland, resulting in the prize of £3,000 awarded to their charity of choice, Muirfield Riding Therapy!
Muirfield Riding Therapy would not exist without its volunteers. Aged from 12-86, these individuals bring all sorts of skills, life experience and outlook to the table. The Friday afternoon session is blessed with a large proportion of school aged children who dash in at lunchtime after their morning classes, throwing their school bags aside swapping blazers for boots.
When they first start volunteering the youngsters may be shy and seem, in that teenage way, to be a bit detached. But this reticence soon disappears as they learn what is expected of them and begin to build relationships with other team members and, more importantly, with the young riders that they work with.
Having teenagers in the team helps us to break down the barriers that can exist between disabled and more able youngsters. In sessions they are just kids having fun together!
Last week two of the young Friday volunteers from North Berwick High School, submitted a presentation to the Youth & Philanthropy Initiative Scotland (YPI Scotland), a structured curricular programme, designed for secondary schools, centred on youth voice, youth action and youth philanthropy. Students compete for a £3,000 award for their charity of choice. Their presentation showed a real understanding of how MRT benefits their young riders and their families. In addition to this, the girls’ presentation also included details of our recently launched weekly drop-in cafe for people living with dementia and their families, friends and carers.
This initiative has been done in partnership with Dementia Friendly East Lothian. Over the next few months we are hoping to develop the service to introduce working with the ponies. We believe that contact with the ponies can be helpful through bringing new connections and experiences for those who come along. To do this we will need to research practices and approaches which will be safe for everyone involved, train our volunteers in working with people living with dementia and to create fliers to attract more people to come. For some of our potential guests’ transport will also be an issue and so we will work with local transport options for individuals and groups.
Competition for the prize was stiff but Mairi, Jamila and their friends’ enthusiasm and belief in the charity shone through and MRT were awarded £3000.
We are very grateful to all of our youngsters for their day to day commitment to the running of sessions, but we are especially grateful to the two girls for making such a brilliant effort in applying for this award.
We are delighted that the winning £3,000 will be used to build and develop the service we offer to people living with dementia in our community.
As the first chills of autumn crept in, the bales stretching across the vista and skeins of geese high above, teams of four riders from each of the Muirfield Riding Therapy sessions took part in a Fun Day beginning early on Sunday morning, at the centre, West Fenton, North Berwick.
Those taking part arrived promptly, were hatted and booted before mounting. Tack was checked and riders made comfy before the teams proceeded to their stations.
In the Handy Pony field, riders tackled tasks such as fishing ducks out of a pond, steering through farmyard animals and creeping up on woodland creatures. It was a magical setting for the riders to show off their rein skills, halting, stretching for all manner of objects to put in baskets, then asking their ponies to proceed to the next task. There was much hilarity as the Coaches (yes, the responsible adults!) were swept up in the fun and were seen cavorting around the course.
(Please note that at no point throughout this activity were any farmyard or woodland creatures abused!)
So, Handy Pony Course completed, riders then raised the competitive nature of the day by taking part in Gymkhana Games. Have you ever tried hanging the washing out on horse back?
As the riders raced down the arena weaving through cones, it was hard to tell who was more competitive, the riders or the volunteers!
The races required the riders to be able to ask their ponies to vary their speed, to stop, to walk on and to stand still close to a scary washing line festooned with socks. It requires good fine motor skills to pluck a sock from the line, let me tell you.
The mornings activities created healthy appetites and riders, families and friends enjoyed bacon rolls and MRT home-baking in the recently refurbished café…………..much appreciated by all on this chilly autumnal morning.
This hilarity of the morning was followed by a more sedate part of the event with a ridden Quadrille (4 ponies and riders) performed a lovely ride with lots of changes of rein and pace, circles and other school movements to music. In the Quadrille, some of our more advanced riders were able to showcase their skills, including riding independently.
They were turned out immaculately and their months of practise paid off. The Spanish Riding School better watch out, they have rivals.
And the finale to the day’s activities…….all 14 of our ponies performed an amazing Pony Parade, with complex moves around the arena. It is not often we see all our ponies in the arena at once and many of us were very moved to tears to see these lovely ponies, bathed, scrubbed and plaited to perfection. They range in size from 11.2 to 15.2 and it was lovely to see the variety of fabulous ponies we have.
Their usual jobs are a bit more sedate but they all looked amazing and behaved beautifully. MRT ponies are well cared for and their work is varied. They each have a sharer who helps MRT to look after them and give them fun outside of their workdays. Those who share the ponies have a strong bond with the ponies and were as proud as the rest of us to see the whole MRT herd performing.
The event was about celebrating MRT, its life and work. Day to day providing riding therapy for over 100 individuals each week but also, when the occasion arises, stepping up a gear and making a day of wonderful fun, games and memories.
This engendered feelings of such pride in what we do and who we are.
MRT has flourished and gone from strength to strength over the last 30 years and will continue to do so because of the commitment of our volunteers, coaches and supporters who are inspired by our wonderful riders, their families and carers.
Happy Birthday to us!