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
We are celebrating 10 years of partnership working alongside NHS Lothian, delivering the Children’s Therapeutic Riding Service; providing life-changing therapeutic riding, free of charge, to children and young people with various disabilities in East and Mid Lothian. The service is the largest of it’s kind in Scotland, and recently was able to restart after sessions were paused due to COVID-19. STV News came to film the sessions in action for their news programme on 24th November!
The Children’s Therapeutic Riding Service was the first, and is still the largest service of its kind in Scotland. The team provide Hippotherapy, a specialist and highly effective form of physiotherapy, on horseback. We are so proud of all our Riders and families, and the volunteer team who help provide this service. They have shown their pioneering spirit again by starting up the sessions, but using our mechanical horse Oreo for now, to simulate the equine experience! He’s now in his new larger ‘stable’ thanks to long-awaited renovations here at the Arena.
“Children are referred when their NHS Lothian physiotherapist believes hippotherapy to be the most effective form of physiotherapy for them. The children present with a huge array of challenges, including difficulties with mobility, balance, muscle tone, strength, coordination, body awareness and symmetry. Hippotherapy provides a means to address all of these issues and more!
Hippotherapy uses the movement, warmth and rhythm of the horse as a therapy tool. As a horse walks, every step challenges its rider’s balance. This activates and strengthens the muscles of the trunk and pelvis. A 3-dimensional movement is transferred to the rider’s pelvis which mirrors the movement of a normal rhythmic human walking pattern, and gives experience of a normal walking pattern. The warmth of the horse and a gentle rolling gait can relax tight muscles, while a more choppy movement can increase low muscle tone.”
Alongside our herd of specially trained therapy ponies, riders now also have the opportunity to ride on Oreo, a specialist mechanical horse. This horse-shaped, high tech piece of physiotherapy equipment responds to leg and hand movements just like a real horse. Oreo is linked to a screen in front of him which allows his riders to choose from an array of scenic rides such as the beach or fields which they can virtually follow.
(Image copyright Sally Anderson Photography)
“It is great fun, both for me and for the children I work with, for them it doesn’t feel like therapy, but delivers consistently amazing results. It is also much easier to connect with a child and for them to trust me using the ponies or Oreo as an intermediary. It is a 3-way therapeutic relationship, 4-way if you count the volunteer key workers too.”
Charlie Kay, 13 has been using the service for 10 years. Charlie’s mum Melanie explains how much it has helped her son. She said,
“The best part about the riding service is that Charlie sees it as more of a hobby than a therapy session. He has seen a real knock-on effect in mobility and his walking is so much better. As the riding engages his core he is sitting up better and straighter. Not only is it great for his physical health, but Charlie also enjoys the social aspect of speaking to all the volunteers and staff.”
Due to COVID-19, access to our therapy ponies has been restricted, but Charlie has sessions booked with the mechanical horse Oreo which he also really enjoys. Melanie added,
“As Charlie is quite competitive he enjoys beating his score on Oreo. You get more points the more you are centred on the horse, so this has really helped to focus Charlie and improve his position and posture. “
During ‘more normal’ times when group sessions are running Melanie enjoys meeting other parents, She said,
“Not only are the sessions helpful to Charlie, I find I get great advice joining with other parents in the viewing gallery. I am very grateful to have the opportunity for us both to use this incredible service.”
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. As we move into our Winter Term, we are delighted to be able to continue offering therapy riding in line with Scottish Government and RDA National Office guidelines. We’ve also got lots of fun activities planned to give us all a bit of festive cheer – read on to find out.
A small number of riders are back, on our Tuesday afternoon, Wednesday evening, Thursday morning, Friday afternoon and Saturday morning sessions. We are very pleased to announce that our partnership session with NHS Lothian on Tuesday afternoons, The Children’s Therapeutic Riding Service, has also returned!
Celebrating 10 years of pioneering partnership with NHS Lothian – The Children’s Therapeutic Riding Service
Due to COVID-19, access to our therapy ponies has been restricted, but our Children’s Therapeutic Riding Service is starting up again on Tuesday afternoons, with the physios using our mechanical horse, Oreo! Completion of the long awaited, planned renovations to our Physio Room have allowed us to ‘re-stable’ Oreo in a much larger space.
The Children’s Therapeutic Riding Service is the first, and to this day the largest service of its kind in Scotland. It offers Hippotherapy, a very effective form of physiotherapy on horseback. We’re so proud of the team, once again showing their pioneering spirit, ensuring we can get riding. Keep an eye on our social media as we’ll be sharing lots of information about this special partnership and our anniversary.
There are lots of ways you can stay in touch, have some fun and also and help us to fund the upkeep of the Centre and the care of our specially trained therapy ponies.
Not Our Usual Christmas Coffee Morning
Although things are a little different this year, we hope to bring you all a bit of festive cheer, 10am – 12 noon on Saturday 5thDecember at The Mallard Hotel, Gullane. Traditions including our legendary Christmas Cakes, delicious festive baking and Christmas crafts and gifts for sale. Treat yourself to a takeaway hot drink, mince pie and bacon roll too!
WIN! Festive Treats Hamper Raffle
Win our big hamper full of fantastic festive treats, including Beatitude goodies. Pics to follow on our social media! To enter our raffle all you need to do is donate £5 per entry (enter as many times as you like!) via our donation button , please add ‘Raffle’ in the PayPal donation notes to ensure we allocate your entry! The Winning entry will be drawn at our ‘Not Our Usual Christmas Coffee Morning on Saturday 5th December! GOOD LUCK
Sponsor a Pony – Christmas Appeal 2020
Our Christmas Appeal offers our friends an opportunity to help keep Muirfield Riding Therapy’s service secure. Our wonderful therapy ponies are specially chosen and trained so we are able to offer our riders the best therapeutic benefit. Meet our ponies – virtually! – and choose your favourite pony to sponsor or give someone a thoughtful Christmas gift.
Our own little Online Shop is now open!
Our wee online shop has launched! There are just three specially curated Muirfield Riding Therapy products to purchase for now, but we’re sure you’ll like them – our NEW 2021 Calendar, our limited edition eco-friendly reusable cup and some Little Tins of Pony Poo…!
Do your Christmas shopping online – raise funds for free
Sign up to Give As You Live This is a fantastic way to help raise funds for us, for free! With over 4,200 shops part of Give as you Live Online, including John Lewis & Partners, Expedia and Marks & Spencer. They’ll turn a percentage of your spend into free funds for us. Simply sign up, search for the retailer and start your Christmas shopping. It’s that simple!
Sign up to Amazon Smile here Shopping at Amazon? Raise free funds at the same time! Sign up, choose us as your beneficiary charity, then do your usual Amazon shopping but via their Amazon Smile login, and they donate 0.5% of the net purchase price to us!
Get in touch
Join in the chat!
Get in touch – send us an email and we will respond as soon as we can;
Chair, Michelle Sutton
Services, Susan Law
Administration, Shirely Duff
Fundraising, Debs McLaughlin
We are so looking forward to when we can see you all again and want to say a massive THANK YOU to everyone for your continued support!
Our Christmas Appeal offers our friends an opportunity to help keep Muirfield Riding Therapy’s service secure. Our wonderful therapy ponies are specially chosen and trained so we are able to offer our riders the best therapeutic benefit. Meet our ponies – virtually! – and choose your favourite pony to sponsor or give someone a thoughtful Christmas gift
Our Sponsor a Pony Christmas Appeal offers our friends an opportunity to help keep Muirfield Riding Therapy’s service secure. Contributing to funding the care of our specially trained therapy ponies will help guarantee our life-changing therapeutic riding sessions in the months and years ahead. Caring for our ponies costs around £3000 for each pony, every year.
Meet our Therapy Ponies – virtually!
In the lead up to Christmas, we are introducing our herd by sharing a video of each of our current therapy ponies on our social media. Find out what makes each pony special, follow us on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter
A thoughtful Christmas gift
Choose your favourite pony to sponsor or give someone a thoughtful Christmas gift of pony sponsorship. All sponsor packages are for 12 months, and our wonderful sponsors receive some exclusive Muirfield Riding Therapy goodies including – new for Christmas 2020 – a golden rosette of their chosen pony.
We’d love to speak to you about your organisation sponsoring our ponies. Back in 2017, MacGregor Healthcare Ltd generously helped us launch our Sponsor a Pony campaign. The MacGregor Healthcare staff team came to meet their namesake, our therapy pony MacGregor, and sponsored him for the final years of his life with us. The company kindly continues to support us as the main sponsor of our annual fundraiser, Summer Show for Horses & Ponies. MacGregor Healthcare Ltd’s Lucy Barclay-Carr said at the time,
We are very excited and delighted to support MacGregor at Muirfield Riding Therapy, the work that is carried out there, and MacGregor himself dove tails beautifully with our own company mission and vision to enable people to live a more fulfilled life.
Wishing you all a peaceful Christmas 2020, and a healthy 2021.
Although things are a little different this year, we hope to bring the community a bit of festive cheer at our ‘Not Our Usual…Christmas Coffee Morning’ on Saturday 5th December. Traditions including our legendary Christmas Cakes made by Agnes and festive baking will be here.
Delicious Festive Baking Stall
Beautiful Christmas crafts & gifts
TAKEAWAY Tea/Coffee/Hot chocolate & mince pies, plus hot BACON ROLLS!
WIN Festive Treats Hamper Raffle WINWin our big hamper full of fantastic festive treats, including Beatitude goodies. Pics to follow on our social media! To enter, all you need to do is donate £5 per entry (enter as many times as you like!) via our donation button on our website, please add ‘Raffle’ in the notes The winning entry will be drawn on the day of our event – good luck
We are celebrating 10 years of our pioneering partnership with NHS Lothian, delivering the Children’s Therapeutic Riding Service. This Service which launched in 2010 was the first, and is still the largest service of its kind in Scotland. It provides Hippotherapy, a specialist and highly effective form of physiotherapy, on horseback.
We wish to thank our wonderful community who have kept us going, and we are delighted to have been slowly bringing riders back into sessions following both ScotGov and RDA National office.
We are delighted to announce we have launched our wee online shop! With just three carefully curated items for now; you can purchase a copy of our NEW 2021 Calendar, our limited edition eco-friendly Bamboo Reusable Cup, and our NEW Little Tins of Pony Poo…! All proceeds support our work
With the October holidays and Halloween fun set to look a little different this year, due to continuing COVID-19 restrictions, we have two new events to entertain everyone during the autumn break! Our Rally Trail and our Virtual Balloon Race!
Jump in your car and take part in our East Lothian Rally Trail anytime up until 1st November 2020. It’s a fun drive through beautiful East Lothian countryside, with lots of clues to spot on the way and picnic viewpoints. Plus, participants are all in with a chance of winning a big Hamper of Treats.
More info/booking rules click here
Get in touch by email here to request sign up info
VIRTUAL BALLOON RACE – HALLOWEEN 31ST OCTOBER!
Join in our eco-friendly virtual balloon race which lifts off from Bran Castle (Dracula’s Castle) Transylvania on Halloween 31st October. The race is like a computer game – you can change your balloon’s parameters to help you win!
The race simulation is influenced by real weather satellites in real time, and you can track the 7-day race on google maps 24/7. You’ll be racing alongside other charities and there are great prizes up for grabs including £500 and an Apple iPad. Buy as many balloons as you like, or gift one to a friend.
The Virtual Balloon Race is part of Muirfield Riding Therapy’s 10th anniversary celebrations of their pioneering partnership with NHS Lothian – The Children’s Therapeutic Riding Service.
For more info and to sign up click here
We are celebrating 10 years of a truly pioneering partnership with NHS Lothian, The Children’s Therapeutic Riding Service. We want as many people as possible to join in the fun by taking part in our eco-friendly Virtual Balloon Race! The Virtual Balloon Race lifts off from Dracula’s Castle, Transylvania on Halloween, 31st October at 12noon!
This eco-friendly online balloon race lasts 7 days and is like a computer game, you can change your balloons parameters – make it bigger or smaller, make the latex thicker or thinner – to help you win! There are some great prizes up for grabs, 1st Place: £500, 2nd Place: an Apple iPad, 3rd Place: £10 Book Tokens for the next 10 fastest balloons.
You can even track the action online 24/7; the race is influenced by information from real weather satellites in real-time! Be warned – virtual balloons, just like latex ones, can pop if the balloon parameters are not suited to the weather! But even a popped balloon can still win if the wind changes direction.
The race is a fundraiser for our Children’s Therapeutic Riding Service. In 2010 NHS Lothian and Muirfield Riding Therapy (MRT) launched The Children’s Therapeutic Riding Service, the first, and to this day the largest, Hippotherapy (a form of physiotherapy on horseback) service of its kind in Scotland.
NHS Lothian children’s physiotherapist Heather Falconer, who pioneered the service with MRT’s Service Coordinator Susan Law, says,
It’s particularly effective for children with neurological problems, helping them to develop motor skills like sitting and standing, walking, running, riding a bike. Things that need core stability and balance skills.
The Children’s Therapeutic Riding Service, and Muirfield Riding Therapy’s other therapy sessions for children, young people and adults with various disabilities, are provided free-of-charge.
For more information and to sign up for our 10th Birthday Virtual Balloon Race, click here
Looking for something to do this October holiday? Jump in your car and take part in our new Rally Trail! This is a fun drive through beautiful East Lothian countryside, with lots of clues to spot on the way and picnic viewpoints. Plus, be in with a chance of winning our magnificent Hamper of Treats !
Our route starts and ends in Haddington, the geographical centre of East Lothian, and you take part at your own leisure, anytime up until Sunday 1st November. (Note: please avoid doing the Rally Trail between Weds 21st – Fri 23rd October due to roadworks closing a route on our route on these 3 days). Allow around 2 hours to complete the route – depending on your picnic stops and clue spotting skills!
It’s not a race so take your time to enjoy the route as it winds its way around the beautiful East Lothian countryside, in all its autumn colours. Our Rally Trail pack even includes some recipe ideas to make some treats for your trip. Our instructions note a suggested picnic place, but you might find your own en route. Look out carefully for our quiz clues on the way round, as only forms submitted with the correct answers will be entered into our Hamper Prize Draw!
Fun for all ages, this COVID-safe event requires a minimum Team of two, a driver and navigator. Click here for more information and entry requirements.
This week have have had to say goodbye to our Therapy Pony Bibi,
Our Chair Michelle Sutton,
I am very sorry to be the bearer of sad news, but today we had to say goodbye to our lovely therapy pony Bibi.