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Horse riding proves a big hit at fun day for disabled
Students and staff at Merchant Taylors’ School held a fun day for Watford Mencap on Saturday, including art and horse riding lessons.
The event took place at the school, in Moor Park, and was attended by 25 people with a learning disability, 50 students, 12 school staff and Watford Mencap’s coordinators and volunteers.
This is the fifth year the fun day has taken place and this time featured a range of activities, including horse riding at Littlebourne Stables near Harefield.
Owner Caroline Dent and yard manager Ben Mitchell supervised five riders with a learning disability in the arena, where they learned to walk and trot.
Ms Dent said: "This group has extremely good balance. We have quite a few people with disabilities riding here. They just love being with the animals."
Alistair Milne, who rode a horse called Muddy, said: "I could see in Muddy’s eyes that he liked me, there was trust. I want to do it again."
Back at the school, students helped the Mencap visitors do some art, make sundaes, truffles and go on a treasure hunt set up by Vikash Dodhia.
Nigel Messer was in the art room working with a group of three students who were encouraging him to draw.
He said "I did some art. I’ve drawn some flowers, a house and a fish. I feel I have gained a lot from taking part in the art group."
On the sports field there was a football activity, as well as swimming, basketball and indoor games elsewhere.
Maths teacher Freya Teskey, who organised the day, said: "The school decided to do this because we want to give something back to the community. The boys get such a lot out of it; it’s a fantastic life experience for them."
Stephanie Bignell presented flowers and chocolates to Ms Teskey, and Lata Rees, Watford Mencap Senior Coordinator, thanked Merchant Taylors’ students and staff for their hard work.