Challenge to drive carriages

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DISABLED riders at a centre near Morpeth will soon be able to enjoy carriage driving after securing funding to build a new track.

The Morpeth Riding for the Disabled group plans to begin the activity this summer at the Pegasus Centre in Tranwell.

The specialist track will allow carriage riding to take place in a controlled environment that is safer than driving on the roads. It will also benefit riders who can be escorted around the farm in safety as well as adding another dimension to their riding.

The charity was awarded £54,000 to build the track and develop carriage driving by Aiming High, which supports services for disabled children and is administered through Northumberland County Council.

Pegasus Centre Manager Wilma Lister said: “Carriage driving offers enormous benefits to those who suffer from restricted mobility and allows them a real independence while driving. It is particularly useful for people who can no longer ride due to disability or prefer a different kind of challenge.

“It was originally planned to start in 2012, but having the track installed will speed up the process of starting this activity at the centre.”

The benefits include improved co-ordination, muscle power and balance as well as relaxation and being out in the open air. It also can help the drivers to make friends and boost their self confidence.

Drivers progress the same way as riders and they can take proficiency tests to increase and demonstrate their knowledge and ability. They can compete in RDA and British Driving Society shows.

Anyone interested in carriage driving, disabled or able-bodied riding lessons, or the livery opportunities available at the Pegasus Centre can find out more information by calling 01670 518219.