A riding therapy centre in Wiltshire has some new – royal – charges.

The Gul (God Unlimited) centre in Salisbury has four Highland ponies, all former residents of The Queen’s Balmoral estate.

Two were bought by the centre in August 2010, but an additional pair have been loaned to Gul by The Queen and arrived in December.

“All the ponies are elderly – over 20 – and all four will remain with us now until the end,” said Dr Celia Grummitt from Gul.

Balmoral Star and Lothag Of Croila (Lottie) have been at the centre for 18 months, while new recruits Macduff and Balmoral Skylark are just settling in.

“All of them used to trek on the Balmoral Estate and help with deer stalking, but now they have second careers as therapy ponies,” added Dr Grummitt.

“The Highland ponies have been particularly useful for the lower back pain therapy offered at the centre, as their movement and steady pace exercise the lower back/pelvic area when ridden bareback.

“They are part of the royal breeding line and will all have pride of place when the village celebrates The Queen’s diamond jubilee this year.”

The Gul Outdoor Therapy Centre offers therapies to children and adults with a range of conditions, from learning difficulties, mental and physical disabilities and post-traumatic stress disorder to lower back pain.

For more information visit: www.god-unlimited.org.

This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (2 February 2012)