Focus on Wilby Group(November 02, 2009)
We started the Wilby Group in March 1991 at a local riding school. We offered riding once a week to 6 pupils from a Wellingborough special school. The numbers grew quickly, first to 8 then 10. We also taught pony care in the cold winter months.
In 1996 we moved the group to Wilby and started a second group on Saturdays, to which parents/carers could bring their children from all over the county. With four sessions, we were able to provide riding for a further 16 children, with priority given to therapy riders aged between four and eleven. With several reserves this brought our members up to 30 riders.
Angela Doughty’s homebred Dartmoor ponies suited the work and the children loved them. Also the facilities were ideal, with an outdoor school, fields, and a barn for cold wet days.
Ten years later we moved to Moulton College where the riders can benefit from the excellent facilities. We keep the ponies there in term time. We still have two offspring, half-sisters by Angela’s stallion and a mare we had at Wilby. The third is a lovely part-bred on long loan, and lastly our treasured old lady bought when she was fourteen and is now twenty-four.
With the move came a request from the school to offer them a second day’s riding, and so the Thursday group of mainly autistic riders began. The Wednesday school group is all therapy riders. The Saturday group thrives with 16, mainly therapy riders, and a further 6 reserves, bringing our total to 40 riders.
Diana de Clermont