Clare Balding Opens Pony Centre's Therapy Stable Yard Classroom

TV presenter says unique new facility is "oasis of calm" on Wormwood Scrubs

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Clare Balding


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TV presenter Clare Balding OBE joined over 200 guests at the launch of the Therapy Stable Yard Classroom, a unique new facility at the Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre, which specialises in providing equine and riding therapy to children with disabilities and special needs.

Clare Balding Opens New Facility at Wormwood Scrubs pony Centre

Opening the facility, Clare described it as " a little oasis of calm".

The Therapy Stable Yard Classroom is one which will provide users the opportunity of learning new skills with the ponies and two donkeys – Rudolph and Peter, the latest recruits to join the Centre - becoming a catalyst to stimulate learning and physical development.

Also being unveiled was a computerised mechanical horse – the first in London – which provides both disabled and able bodied riders the experience of safely learning the various paces before mounting a horse. It is also used for training by international dressage riders.

Clare was the first to take the opportunity to jump on the mechanical horse and although now rarely rides herself was clearly very comfortable getting back in the saddle and enjoyed a medium trot and a canter through Wormwood Scrubs.

" The mechanical horse is a great idea and fun too. The last time I saw one was years ago at Badminton," she said.

Clare Balding Opens new therapy yard at Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre

The new facilities will be of great value to many young people and adults with physical and learning difficulties. In addition children suffering from trauma and mental health issues will benefit from the classroom sessions.

Claire, who is a Patron for Riding for the Disabled, said: " The classroom is going to help so many children and also create a whole host of new careers in terms of the skills the children will learn.

" The pony centre is just a fantastic facility. The children I have met are a true inspiration. Working with animals is so therapeutic on a number of levels but quite simply through having the opportunity to learn how to look after another living thing is hugely beneficial and teaches the children basic life skills in terms of treating people properly and taking responsibility."

Over 350 children currently attend the Pony Centre annually and it is hoped that the new facility will enable the Centre to offer its facilities to a wider range of children within the local community.

Mary Joy Langdon, founder and manager of the Wormwood Pony Scrubs Pony Centre, which last year celebrated its 25th anniversary, said: “We owe a big thank you to Clare for taking the time to visit us and open our Therapy Stable Yard Classroom.

" It is a fantastic new addition to the Centre’s facilities and one which I believe will mark a new era for the Centre and enable us to further extend our reach to children who perhaps would previously have not been able to enjoy the activities we had on offer.

"We also owe a huge thanks to our benefactors, without whom we could not have built this new facility."

You can find out more about the Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre, its work and its regular events, on the website.


April 27, 2015


April 27, 2015