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
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.