Small local charity Riding For The Disabled Deeside Group is delighted to welcome a purpose built hydraulic lift thanks to generous donations.
After moving lessons from Khalsbanna Stables, Dess, to 2012 the World Horse Welfare Centre, at Belwade Farm, Aboyne, it became clear that a mounting facility was required to aid riders.
Riding for the Disabled investigated mobile staging units, purpose built wooden mounting blocks and many differenttypes of ramps before coming across Winifred Pritchett of Woodside RDA in Nottinghamshire.
She had been faced with similar problems and with the help of a local hydraulic company, Altitude Access, decided to design a purpose built hydraulic lift - the Easimount.
At £9500 the Easimount was not cheap but was the only real option available to the Deeside group.
Thanks to money awarded by Rind Legacy and donations from local companies (Ballater Medical Amenities Fund, Balmoral Estates, Banchory Cubs, Price Waterhouse Cooper, Banchory Show Committee, Aboyne Rotary, Banchory Round Table, British Gas, Charitable Chiels of Ballater, Aboyne Craft Club, Banchory-Ternan Rotary), as well as from individuals, the ‘big green monster’ was finally delivered in August this year.
Chairperson of the Deeside RDA group Jill Randalls said: “The next hurdle was to get the horses used to it. How long would that take - days, weeks? It was certainly a spooky looking contraption. However, within a few minutes the horses and ponies were walking past it completely unfazed.
“Basil, one of the ponies, was even contemplating getting on the lift and having a wee shot of going up and down himself! Within ten minutes we were able to use the lift tomount volunteer riders onto their equines.”
The charity currently provides lessons for 33 riders, both adult and juniors, during school term time, all of whom will benefit significantly from the new piece of equipment.
Junior riders come from the Special Needs Base at Aboyne Primary School, Lumphanan, Torphins,Ballater, Crathie, Strachan and Banchory Primary Schools and Carronhill School for Children with Special Needs. Adult riders come from the Scolty Centre and in a private capacity.