In the heart of London, the Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre is a charity that started in 1989 with just three little ponies. Since then, the centre has grown significantly, much to the delight of all, including children with disabilities and learning difficulties.
Thanks to generous benefactors, the facilities have improved considerably over the years and the centre now has fourteen ponies and two donkeys. Many children with a variety of disabilities come to the centre for horse therapy, some of which includes pony rides.
Riding a pony can help them to develop their balance, which is very beneficial for their general physical condition. Year after year, horse therapy has enabled several children to start walking. It also helps them to gain confidence and develop their interpersonal skills.
Development of practical skills
Sessions are also organised in schools to enable children to develop practical skills, often with the presence of a pony or donkey in the classroom. These animals then act as a catalyst for learning. Every topic and every action in daily life is linked to them in some way. For example: grooming ponies is linked to washing hands, combing hair and brushing teeth; "Pony Maths" enables the learning of basic mathematics through the use of simple measurements linked to the ponies; etc.
The centre is now widely appreciated and recognised for the work it does with children and young people.