Horse therapy charity pleads for help

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A therapy charity forced to close because of coronavirus is pleading for help to keep its two loyal ponies fit and well.

The volunteer-run carriage driving charity that supports people with disabilities said it had no choice but to shut for now because of the virus.

Argyll Riding for the Disbled Association Driving Group was looking forward to moving to a new home after a successful Oban Times appeal but coronavirus has forced it to suspend all its activities until further notice.

Although discussions are continuing about which of the three short-listed sites, out of 15 offers, will become its next base, the well-being of the people it helps and its volunteers has to come first, said group chairman Michael Hawke.

‘We support and work with many people who are more vulnerable to infection so we have made the decision to close our doors until the situation with coronavirus improves.

‘This comes at a big price for us, as without drivers we have no income. Our loyal ponies will still need feed, hay and to see a farrier – possibly even care from the vets which all adds up.

‘With no clear idea of when we will be able to start activities again it is difficult to know if we will have enough money to support our horses until driving resumes.’

The Argyll Group  has two ponies who support 18 carriage drivers.

Research shows carriage driving is more than fun as it helps the drivers boost confidence, improves communication skills and helps them build relationships.

Mr Hawke added: ‘The impact this closure will have on some of our drivers, who gain so much from attending our sessions, is huge – physically and mentally.

‘It has never been so clear just how much the time they spend with our ponies helps. In a bid to ensure these sessions can continue as quickly as possible we need to keep our ponies well cared for, in work and fit.’

‘At this difficult time, we plead with the community to help.’

As little as £2 will feed a horse for the day, £5 will provide bedding for one horse for a week and £75 pays for a horse’s farrier fees.

If you can offer support, email the group treasurer at
gail.macgregor50@btinternet.com or call 07741 635840.