RIDERS with disabilities from around Pendle and Burnley saddled up for a huge celebration at the launch of a £42,000 “mechanical horse” bought with Lottery cash.
Pendle’s Riding for the Disabled group earned the innovative riding simulator for its Barnoldswick base after drawing in thousands of votes from supporters nationwide in the televised People’s Millions show, last November.
Saturday saw the official launch and naming of the “horse” – Pendle Pride – with disabled riders of all ages putting it through its paces in walk, trot and canter in front of a computer screen for more than 50 invited guests, including Mayor of Pendle Coun. Nadeem Ahmed, Mayor and Mayoress of Burnley Coun. David Heginbotham and his wife, Joan, and Pendle MP Mr Andrew Stephenson.
Group instructor Kate Bailey said the mechanical horse, complete with hydraulic system, mounting block, computer screen and print-outs to monitor performance, will help to transform the lives of the many people who ride with the group, with both mental and physical disabilities.
“We’re not trying to get people off the ponies,” said Kate. “It’s an addition to the services we offer.
“It will mean we’re not having to ride in the rain or having to cancel classes if the weather is too bad. Plus, it will help people get accustomed to the feel of a horse.”