Looking for something to do in the Easter holidays? This spring, jump in your car anytime between 2nd – 25th April, and take part in our Rally Trail! With a new route for 2021, enjoy a fun drive through beautiful East Lothian countryside, with lots of clues to spot on the way and picnic viewpoints. All correct entries will be entered into our prize draw!
After the success of our inaugural Rally Trail over the October holidays 2020, we’ve decided to do it again!
Just some of the feedback from our previous Rally Trail,
We had a great afternoon going round the county – some places we have never even been to!
Thanks for a delightful tour of our home county
We LOVED doing the Trail – hope you’ll be doing another one at some point!
Our new route starts and ends in the lovely village of Gifford, in the parish of Yester. Allow around 2.5-3 hours to complete the 40 mile route, depending on your picnic stops and clue spotting skills! It’s not a race so you can take your time to enjoy the route as it winds its way around the beautiful East Lothian countryside, in all its springtime glory.
Plus, this year, to make entering as easy at possible, registration and the Rally Trail quiz form is all online – click here for how to sign up and entry requirements
By signing up to our Rally Trail fundraiser, you are helping secure the future of our life-changing service. This event is part of our alternative and COVID safe ways to continue to fundraise and raise awareness of our work during lockdown. But perhaps most importantly, it’s about having a bit of fun together during this tough time.
Our Chair Michelle is taking over the (Twitter) airwaves! Michelle is hosting the twitter account East Lothian Voices this week! The twitter account is hosted by a different person each week and is a fun way “…to learn about the people who work, live and play in our beautiful county.” Michelle, who lives in East Linton, will be sharing her take on all things Muirfield Riding Therapy and life in East Lothian!
Follow @EL_Voices over on Twitter, from Monday 29th March till Saturday 3rd April https://twitter.com/EL_Voices
Read on to find out more about therapy riding starting back and our spring fundraisers!
It’s almost a year since we first went into Lockdown. Who’d have thought this time last year that it would last until now? Hopefully we are beginning to get to the end of it all – with longer days, signs of spring in the garden and the vaccine roll-out – it’s now time to look forward to better times ahead.
With recent announcements starting to slowly ease restrictions we are hoping to get some therapeutic riding sessions started after Easter. We’ve got all our fingers, toes and hooves crossed that we don’t have to change plans again! This will be a block of riding for a reduced number of participants and volunteers, in order to meet the Covid Guidelines. We are also considering running some sessions over the summer holidays to enable more participants to get back to riding therapy – again more information on that to follow.
Are you interested in volunteering with Muirfield Riding Therapy? For new volunteers, our plan is to carry out some of your training remotely and then to get you down to meet the ponies and other volunteers to go through the rest of training as soon as we are allowed. Please have a look at our website volunteering section, then email our Volunteer Coordinator Nicky to note your interest by clicking here.
Easter Car Rally Trail
Looking for something to do over the Easter holidays? We’re putting on a second car Rally Trail this Easter, after the fun of our inaugural October hols event which saw 81 teams take to their cars, at their own leisure, to follow our quiz route around our beautiful county. New gorgeous route, same fun quiz format, now all online – click here to sign up.
Check out our shop, and snap up our reusable cup, perfect for camping trips, whether in the garden or further afield, and don’t forget our new snood to keep you cosy in the great outdoors – to visit our shop, click here.
Kids Easter Cooking Class, 6th April (and now 15th April too)
UPDATE 30/03: additional Kids Cookery Class added on Thursday 15th March due to popularity!
New to East Lothian, Yarrow Cookery School are running an Easter cooking class for children and families, with 10% of proceeds coming to us. The Kids Easter Cookery Class. 4.30pm, Tuesday 6th April. 2hours. £16. Sign up by clicking here.
Virtual Kiltwalk, 25th April
Donate to Team MRT or sign up to take part, anytime up to 25th April, and help us with our ‘Round The World in 90 Days’ Team challenge. Donations are generously given a 50% top up by Sir Tom Hunter! Click here to find out more,
Thank you for your support
All of these events are part of our alternative and COVID safe ways to continue to fundraise and raise awareness of our work during lockdown. But perhaps most importantly, it’s about having a bit of fun together during this tough time.
And finally, here is RDA UK’s President, Princess Anne talking about the impact of the pandemic and importance of people with disabilities getting back to being physically active Click here to watch it.
Our pets are a source of comfort and companionship at the best of times, not least during this past tough year of the pandemic. Here at Muirfield Riding Therapy, we may not be able to hold our long running annual Fun Dog Show, but we still want to have some fun and to celebrate the joy that is our pets!
And this year, as the title says, it’s not just for dogs! Whether your pet is canine, feline, feathered, furred, hairy or scaly, we invite you to enter your pet photos and videos into our Fun ‘Not Just For Dogs’ Show’, held virtually, on our Facebook page! Tell your friends!
Ticket sales are now open, online only, for our Fun ‘Not Just For Dogs’ Show 2021 on Eventbrite.com, and will close 10am on Saturday 20th March, with photos and videos to be submitted by 12noon on 20th March. Judging results will be announced on Sunday 21st March from 12noon.
This is an event for everyone, all ages of pet and owner! We have a huge array of 33 Classes to choose from, within six pet categories – Dogs, Cats, Small Furries, Scales & Shells, Feathers, and Unusual – so there is something for every pet and pet owner. Each Class costs just £2 (+ 74p online fee) per Class, and you can enter as many Classes and pets, as many times as you like!
Once you’ve chosen and paid for your Classes on Eventbrite, you then visit our Fun ‘Not Just For Dogs’ Show 2021 Facebook event page to upload either a photo or short video clip of your pet by 20th March. Rosettes will be awarded to the top 3 pets in each Class, and, thanks to our fantastic Head Judge and Sponsor Kim, from Barking Cat Pet Photography , the Champion of Champions will win a fantastic bespoke Pet Portrait session!
What are you waiting for? Come and join in the fun!
Each Monday, we’ll be sharing what our volunteers are getting up to during lockdown…
“Lockdown No.1 was in 1977 when my husband Ken, myself and our son Colin, who was 14 months old at the time, went to live in Iran for supposedly a 3-year work contract. But, shortly after arriving in Dorud it was obvious that things politically in the country were not stable and a Revolution was pending. We were confined to our camp outside of town. The company had a minibus which ran the wives into Dorud for food shopping. By September this all came to a stop as we were being pelted with potatoes. All foreigners were American! Everything escalated from then on and we were fully confined to barracks. One of the empty bungalows was turned into a shop. The choice of food in Dorud had not been great but in our own shop the choice was even more diminished. I did actually witness two women fighting over baked beans!
All women and children were confined to camp while the men tried to carry on building the project. The wives tried to keep up morale during the day and we urged everyone to try and come up with something to relieve the boredom. One of the girls who had been a dietician gave a demonstration on how to debone a chicken, there was a talk on jewelry and one on hairdressing! I offered to give a floral art demonstration. I managed to get hold of some flowers, and borrowed cheese graters and arranged the flowers with the graters squashed into casseroles – it is amazing what you can come up with when you have to!
Lockdown No.2 came in 1983 when we were living in Sri Lanka while Ken was Project Director on the building of a Ramada hotel in Colombo. In the 80’s there were many building projects in Sri Lanka being built mainly by British companies. For the first few months we enjoyed the beaches, the tropical fruits, and once I was mobile with a 1956 open top Beetle the world was my oyster, or so I thought! By July of that year the Tamil riots started. I remember being at the Market one day and wondering what all the commotion was about in the streets. It was soon then announced that we were under curfew. We were allowed out for two hours a day to do essential food shopping.
The curfew went on for many months. We heard the bombs going off and saw the smoke from burning buildings quite near to us. By November the curfew hours had changed to night-time hours only, but it was still quite dangerous to go out. By 1984 life became a bit more normal for us and we were able to go down the coast to a hotel for the weekend. We went regularly to St Andrews Church in the Galle Road, and even joined the choir! Andrew Baillie the minister and his sister Martha, both from Edinburgh were amazing. They helped so many people and were always there in a crisis.
All of the above situations have had tragic losses of life, and although lockdown in Gullane is a different scenario and feels a bit of a breeze in comparison, it is still a frightening time, and worldwide, so many people have lost their lives.
We are just taking each day, feeling blessed with being in a beautiful part of the country with lovely walks and scenery.”
We are delighted that the crew at The Kiltwalk have launched Scotland’s Virtual Kiltwalk for 2021 – we had loads of fun last year! The theme this year is ‘walk, run, or just have fun’, and so we have decided to do just that. Read on to find out about our Team MRT challenge and join us as we aim to go ‘Round the World in 90 Days!’
Donate here to our challenge
Sign up here anytime until 25th April! Choose ‘Muirfield Riding Therapy’ as your charity
Join our Facebook Group for Team MRT banter and updates
Team MRT’s ‘Round the world in 90 days challenge’
As our ‘Virtual Kiltwalk’ challenge this year, we have decided we’d like Team MRT to take on a special challenge and see how far we can get by the end of the Virtual Kiltwalk Weekend on 25th April.
Click here to watch our video. We would like our Team MRT Kiltwalkers to help us get ‘Round the World in 90 Days’ !
Whether you’re walking, running, cycling, pushing, swimming – choose a destination to aim for and go for it!
Join in and start logging your miles, anytime between 25th January – 25th April!
This event means such a lot to us. Not only will Kiltwalk’s Sir Tom Hunter top up everyone’s fundraising by a huge 50%, but it’s giving us something to do ‘virtually’ together, to keep healthy and see us through lockdown.
- Get your friends and family involved!
- Join in the banter, get fit, get healthy, have fun
- Build up the miles – walk, run, ride, cycle, push, swim – and let’s see how far we can get by 25th April
- Fundraising totaliser – no minimum amount to raise, whatever amount you can raise will be added to our Team Total!
How do I register ?
- Click here to sign up to Scotland’s Virtual Kiltwalk, the link will automatically add you to Team MRT! ‘Team MRT – Muirfield Riding Therapy’
- Please now click here to email us to let us know your postal address so we can send you your free bandana!
- Join our Team MRT Facebook Group for chat/updates
- Start logging your miles on your fundraising page and help us get ‘Round the World in 90 Days’! – you can add miles in manually, or, if you use fitness app Strava, you can synch to your Strava account and upload to your page – here’s a simple guide to synching Strava
- Tag us on social media – share your fundraising Challenge page with your friends and family! Our hashtag – #KiltwalkRoundTheWorld Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube
As it’s Burn’s Night tonight, celebrating Scottish poet Rabbie (Robert) Burns, we thought we’d have a bit of fun. One of Burns’ most famous poems is Tam o’ Shanter, published in 1791. Tam is a farmer, from Ayr on the West coast of Scotland, who has a grey mare called Meg – a suitable theme for us! Read on…
Tam likes going to the nearby town pub to get drunk with his friends, which upsets his wife waiting at home. The poem tells the story of a typical late night of drinking after market day at the town. As Tam rides Meg home, he is distracted by the sight of witches and warlocks dancing in the town’s haunted churchyard! He calls out to one, and they chase Tam and Meg in a fury. Tam rushes to reach the bridge over the River Doon (Brig o’ Doon) as he knows witches and warlocks won’t cross running water;
‘Now, do thy speedy utmost, Meg, And win the key-stane o’ the brig;’
They make it *almost* in one piece, but at the last second poor Meg loses her tail!
Read the full poem by clicking here
See famous paintings of Meg and Tam o’ Shanter, by Scottish artist Alexander Goudie, click here
More ‘tails’ – Muirfield Riding Therapy pony tails!
Thankfully all our ponies’ tails are in tact! But can you guess which tails in the image above belong to which of our ponies? If you need a bit of help, take a look at the videos of our ponies on our YouTube Channel or find out more information about our ponies here , then, just for fun, head over to our Facebook page and add your guesses in the comments. We’ll confirm the right answers at the end of the day.
Due to the current lockdown, our riding therapy service is closed for now, in line with Scottish Government and RDA National guidelines, to keep all of our riders, families, volunteers and supporters safe. Our usual winter fundraising events are cancelled.
However, we’re looking forward to when we can open again, and in the meantime we’re planning some alternative fundraising events we hope you’ll enjoy! By supporting our events you are securing the future of Muirfield Riding Therapy. We are fully self-funded, and volunteer-led, and our pioneering service is free, to ensure as many people can access it as possible. Thank you for your support.
Brand New Virtual Kiltwalk Weekend – Team MRT Challenge 2021
With the excesses of the festive season over, and lockdown continuing for a wee while longer, we have the perfect way to help everyone keep healthy over the coming months! The Kiltwalk crew have announced a brand new Virtual Weekend, 23-25th April!
We can create any challenge we want for our Team, and we want you to join Team MRT’s ‘Round The World Challenge’ – whether you’re cycling, pushing, wheeling, walking, running, riding, swimming, rowing, hopping, skipping, jumping – add your mileage to our totaliser and let’s see how far we can get by 25th April!
Lots of surprises promised, plus everything you raise will be topped up by an amazing 50% thanks to the Kiltwalk’s funding partner, The Hunter Foundation! Registration isn’t open yet, but keep checking our social media. Interested? Please get in touch.
Fun ‘Not Just For Dogs’ Show 2021
We’ve run our annual Fun Dog Show each spring, for six years now, but had to cancel last year’s event when the pandemic hit. This year we’re back, but changing things a little bit, while everyone is still in lockdown, by presenting our virtual alternative. It’s not our usual dog show, in fact it’s not just for dogs at all! This year, we invite you to enter your pet – dogs, cats, hamsters, birds, snakes – whoever your pet is, there will be a Virtual Photo Class to suit! Date and details to follow soon…. keep an eye on our social media! Interested? Please get in touch.
Something to do in the holidays – Easter Rally Trail
Our inaugural car Rally Trail last October saw 81 teams signing up and taking part at their own leisure, travelling around beautiful East Lothian. We’ll have a new route, new picnic spots and view points for you to enjoy, more great prizes, and new online registration! More details and how to enter coming soon…keep checking our social media. Interested? Please get in touch.
Continuing the 10th birthday celebrations of our Children’s Therapeutic Riding Service
We’ll be continuing the celebrations of the 10th Birthday of our Children’s Therapeutic Riding Service over the coming months by sharing stories about the people involved in these special NHS Lothian partnership sessions.
Most of all, we miss you!
We look forward to when you can all come back, whether it’s to ride, spectate, volunteer or just come and visit and see what we do!
Keep in touch by following our social media
Well, we are getting towards the end of 2020 and it’s one year we won’t be sad to see the back of! It’s been a tough year for everyone and life at MRT hasn’t been the same without all of our usual riders, families, volunteers and visitors. The arena is eerily quiet at times and we miss everyone. 2020 has had some ups and downs for MRT. We’re taking a look back at some of these, and showing that despite the restrictions, and with some creativity and a positive approach, together we’ve made it through, thank you.
Not our Usual Year
It’s been lovely to see some of our riders who have been able to come back to therapeutic riding sessions. After lots of hard work planning and adapting what we do, some of our riders have been able to return, and benefit from therapeutic riding once again. We will continue, where possible, to offer therapy riding in line with Scottish Government and RDA National Office guidelines.
A long-awaited extension was completed during lockdown, allowing us to stable our Mechanical Horse, Oreo in a new much more spacious Physio Room.
Celebrating 10 years of our Children’s Therapeutic Riding Service
2020 was also the year we started celebrating the 10th Birthday of our Children’s Therapeutic Riding Service ! These NHS Lothian partnership sessions were able to restart in the autumn using our Mechanical Horse, Oreo, in his new stable! Our celebrations attracted STV News, and the local news!
Our Volunteers stepped up
Our volunteers stepped up to help during these difficult times – making face masks as a fundraiser for us, keeping our ponies fit and happy, planting daffodil bulbs to make a cheery display for 2021. You name, it they’ve done it – all socially-distanced of course!
Our events went Virtual!
We had to cancel all our usual fundraisers, due to the pandemic. But we didn’t let that stop us, and we went virtual! It was wonderful to see so many of our friends – riders and their families, volunteers and supporters – taking part in our ‘Not Our Usual’ fundraising. You have helped secure our future, thank you.
Not Our Usual Summer Teas & Plants Sale
In June, one of the first events in our local village of Gullane since lockdown started, our take-away stall outside the Mallard Hotel, Gullane, was bursting with delicious bakes and gorgeous plants! The socially-distanced queue was a sight to behold back then, and we sold out of everything thanks to you all.
Virtual Kiltwalking to success
Our MRT Team of Virtual Kiltwalkers gave us all something positive to support over the summer on social media, and their fundraising was matched by the Kiltwalk’s funding partner, The Hunter Foundation! WOW.
In September our bakers came out in force once again, and created our take-away picnic boxes fundraiser, picked up from the garden of the Mallard Hotel in Gullane. Yum.
Lifting-off with our 10th Birthday Virtual Balloon Race!
At Halloween, this eco-friendly online simulated balloon race launched our 10th birthday celebrations of our pioneering partnership with NHS Lothian, The Children’s Therapeutic Riding Service. With 167 MRT balloons taking off, we smashed our target and, although no MRT balloons won, we had fun!
Following the Rally Trail
With lockdown continuing, we offered people something to do in the October Holiday, and our car Rally Trail around beautiful East Lothian did just that. A fantastic 81 teams signed up and took part at their own leisure.
Launch of our wee online Shop
We launched our new online shop! With just 3 carefully curated items to choose from for now, and more to come next year.
We sadly had to say goodbye to two of our wonderful therapy ponies this year, Bibi and MacGregor. Both ponies were a fantastic age, Bibi was 26 and Mac, 27. Both passed away with their carers by their sides and both have left behind many. many friends and memories from over the years.
Bringing some Christmas Cheer
We hope we have brought our community a bit of festive cheer with all our ‘Not Our Usual’ Christmas fun. We had amazing online Christmas Hamper Raffles , thanks to all involved! A phenomenal 108 handmade Christmas Cakes were sold at our Not Our Usual Christmas Coffee Morning! We launched our Christmas Appeal – Sponsor a Pony – with videos of each of our special ponies so people meet could meet them, virtually.
Looking towards 2021
As we look forward to 2021, we hope we can get all our riders back to visit their ponies, our volunteers back to more sessions and to once again welcome our friends and supporters back to the Arena to see what we do. We also have lots of fun planned for the coming year, including a Virtual Pet Show, another Rally Trail and a new Virtual Kiltwalk Challenge for the New Year to keep you fit – we’d love you to be part of it, get in touch!
Wishing you a Merry Christmas and here’s to a better 2021
So, as this year draws to a close, we want to wish you all a Merry, if different, Christmas, a Happy New Year. Here’s a wee bit of festive fun from our fab team of Coaches!
THANK YOU EVERYONE x