26 Oct 2011

Gaddesden RDA’s “best pony” retires to The Horse Trust


A much-loved pony that helped countless disabled children learn to ride at Gaddesden Place RDA Centre in Hemel Hempstead has retired to The Horse Trust’s sanctuary in Speen, Buckinghamshire.
The fabulous twenty-year-old Strathardle Clunie, has worked at Gaddesden Place RDA for the last five years giving rides to local children with physical and learning disabilities. Before she arrived at Gaddesden in April 2006, Clunie worked for a number of years at Aldershot RDA.
“Clunie is the best RDA pony we’ve come across,” said Sheila Finnie, the Group Organiser at Gaddesden Place RDA. “Clunie mothered the disabled riders and was very, very patient with them. She would happily stand still all day so a disabled child could safely mount her, even if they were kicking and screaming.”
Sheila said riding ponies like Clunie, a 14hh grey highland mare, has many benefits for children with disabilities.
“Riding enables disabled children to exercise, learn new skills and build relationships with the helpers and ponies. Ponies have a very calming influence on children with learning disabilities, and can help improve the strength and co-ordination of children with physical disabilities,” said Sheila.
Gaddesden Place RDA Centre, which is based at Briden’s Camp, Hemel Hempstead, offers riding lessons to around ninety disabled riders each week.  Sheila added that all the volunteers at Gaddesden RDA group are delighted that The Horse Trust has taken in Clunie, who needs to retire as she has become lame.

“We’re so thrilled that The Horse Trust has taken Clunie in. She’s so special and it’s lovely to know that she’ll be well looked after and will enjoy the retirement she deserves,” said Sheila. “We don’t have the grazing or space to keep retired ponies and its hard to find a good home for them, so I felt a big weight lifted off my shoulders when The Horse Trust offered her a home.”
The Horse Trust offers sanctuary to horses, ponies and donkeys that have retired from working life, or have suffered and need special treatment. The charity, which is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year, looks after around ninety equines at its sanctuary in Speen, Buckinghamshire.
“We’re delighted to offer a home to Clunie after her hard work for the Gaddesden Place RDA,” said Jeanette Allen, Chief Executive Officer of The Horse Trust. “It sounds like Clunie has given a lot of joy to children with disabilities and we hope she will have a happy and healthy retirement at the sanctuary.
The Horse Trust depends on the support of the public to offer retirement to working horses. It costs the charity an average of £10 per day to look after each horse at the sanctuary, which includes the costs of grooms, forage, farriery and veterinary care. To donate to The Horse Trust, please visitwww.horsetrust.org.uk, or contact the charity on             01494 488 464       or info@horsetrust.org.uk

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