A new educational stable classroom — complete with a computerised mechanical horse — is to open at the Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre next month (9 April).
The classroom at the riding school aims to help inner city children understand more about the anatomy of horses and how to care for them.
The £65,000 stable yard therapy classroom will be officially opened by Clare Balding.
The TV presenter will be the first person to be offered a ride on the new horse simulator.
The new classroom is built in redundant space in the centre’s indoor school and contains a stable for two donkeys.
Children will learn more about the anatomy of the horse from a painting of a skeleton of a pony as well as be able to examine equine bones donated by the Royal Veterinary College.
A wooden horse has been installed for pupils to learn how to tack up and the horse simulator gives both disabled and abled bodied riders valuable riding experience before they get on a real horse.
“This classroom will broaden the activities we do with the children and give them the opportunity to develop their learning skills,” said Sister Mary-Joy Langdon who founded the Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre in 1989.
The funds for the new classroom were raised in the charity’s 25th anniversary year in 2014, which culminated in a sponsored balloon party on 31 December in the indoor arena.
The centre is based in Wormwood Scrubs Park in the shadow of the prison and has 18 horses and ponies.
Riding and equestrian activities are provided for inner city children from age seven upwards.
Many of the special needs schools nearby send children to the Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre.
The new classroom will benefit children suffering from trauma and mental health issues and “be of great value to many young people and adults with physical and learning difficulties” said Sister Langdon, who is an Riding for the Disabled Association senior coach.
For more information visit: www.wormwoodscrubsponycentre.org