Youngsters at a new Riding for the Disabled centre in Bingley are having a right royal time this Easter – thanks to a £25,000 donation handed over by Princess Anne.
The 30 young people based at the Riverside RDA centre have their own classroom in a stable block – home to seven horses which help them conquer physical and mental difficulties.
And the Easter weekend will be packed with fun and competitions in celebration of their visit from Her Royal Highness.
“There will be a brilliant race where riders will try to scoop up Easter eggs as they go round an obstacle course and hopefully everyone will go home with sackloads of chocolate,” said Riverside’s chief instructor Moira Wragg.
“And we’ll also be having a ‘musical ride’ which will be filmed and then that will go forward to the RDA’s national competition.”
She and fellow instructor Tracy Lopez-Moreno are the co-founders of Riverside RDA, based on land at Ravenroyd Farm.
And she told how Princess Anne’s visit and presentation of a cheque from charity Wooden Spoon had made a dream come true.
“It was just brilliant. It’s been a dream to have these new stables and once we got a ten-year-lease on the land, we were able to apply for grants.
“Princess Anne is patron of both the RDA and Wooden Spoon, which is why she came to hand over the cheque.
“She chatted with all the children, who were so excited – and I had the privilege of escorting her during the hour and half she had with us.
“And of course she is a very knowledgeable lady when it comes to horses.
“When I showed her three old stables we had, she joked ‘are you keeping them to remind you how far you’ve come?’”
Mrs Wragg began working for the RDA as a volunteer, before spotting the opportunity presented at Riverside.
She said: “This a great spot as we have fields and tracks into forests which we can use. It’s incredible to see how much children benefit from being with horses.
“We have children with Asperger’s and autism who quieten and calm down the moment they sit on a pony.
“It’s wonderful, and we’re very, very lucky to have have got this donation.”