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Fun at Mulben's Touchdown Memorial Home for Horses to mark opening of new arena to expand therapy sessions


By Lorna Thompson

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SCORES of people and their dogs visited a local horse sanctuary to mark the opening of its new arena earlier this month.

The site at Touchdown Memorial Home for Horses, Mulben, was bustling for the ceremonial opening on Saturday, October 2.

The indoor arena was officially opened by the RAF's senior engagement officer for Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The facility will allow the charity to run more equine assisted therapy sessions for disadvantaged people.

Although weather and supply issues meant the building was not quite complete on time for the big day, around 130 people attended to enjoy pony rides, stable tours, "Think Like A Pony" sessions, a fun dog show and various stalls and other activities.

The charity's chair, Frances Davies, said: "The pony rides were especially popular, with Lauder the Clydesdale and Sasha the thoroughbred working tirelessly, led by wonderful volunteers Eilidh and Eilidh who worked hard all day in the cold wind.

"Pony painting was very popular with the children, organised by Bethea, so ponies Rodney and Finn and big horse Louis were all covered in beautiful pony paint.

"Site tours by friendly, knowledgeable tour guides Mel, Trish and Scho of our modern, airy stables and all facilities on site for our rescue horses and ponies and our equine facilitated therapy were greatly enjoyed. Visitors were able to meet Lydia, Donnay, Dave, Tango, Cyd and Ciara as well as a few sheep and Aoife the part wildcat."

Touchdown Memorial Home for Horses chair Frances Davies and the RAF's senior engagement officer for Scotland and Northern Ireland cut the ribbon to open the new indoor arena. Picture: Becky Saunderson.
Touchdown Memorial Home for Horses chair Frances Davies and the RAF's senior engagement officer for Scotland and Northern Ireland cut the ribbon to open the new indoor arena. Picture: Becky Saunderson.
Charlotte Pitkethly enjoys a ride at the Touchdown Memorial Home for Horses open day. Picture: Becky Saunderson.
Charlotte Pitkethly enjoys a ride at the Touchdown Memorial Home for Horses open day. Picture: Becky Saunderson.

She added: "Think Like A Pony was extremely popular and taught us how to understand our equine friends while making great use of the agility course and the indoor school.

"And the dog show was a big attraction for dogs of all shapes and sizes. Beautiful rosettes and fabulous prizes were won by many and everyone wagged their tails as hard as they could. The prizes were all donated by generous people and businesses. Thank you all."

Visitors were also able to cuddle Cockerel Orange and his seven therapy hens, make their own juggling balls and take part in whisky tasting.

Some prizes in the grand raffle draw are still awaiting collection.

Bridget Cruickshank (left) and Anya Thomas with the therapy hens at Touchdown Memorial Home for Horses. Picture: Becky Saunderson.
Bridget Cruickshank (left) and Anya Thomas with the therapy hens at Touchdown Memorial Home for Horses. Picture: Becky Saunderson.
Alfie Rogers enjoys a ride on Lauder the Clydesdale at the Touchdown Memorial Home for Horses open day. Picture: Becky Saunderson.
Alfie Rogers enjoys a ride on Lauder the Clydesdale at the Touchdown Memorial Home for Horses open day. Picture: Becky Saunderson.

Touchdown rehabilitates horses and ponies and offers a life-long sanctuary for them if suitable homes cannot be found.

The centre provides equine facilitated therapy for people of all ages living with a range of disadvantages, including the care experienced, PTSD sufferers, victims of domestic abuse, addicts, ex-offenders and people with cognitive or mobility problems.

The sanctuary staff are now busy preparing to welcome visitors – and Santa – to their Christmas show on Saturday, December 4, which will include clear round show jumping, show classes, fancy dress, stalls and a Christmas market, a horse parade and hot food and drink.

Visitors will also have the opportunity to adopt a horse. The fun will start at 10am on the day.


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