Omagh Riding School for the Disabled Grateful for Improved Facilities

A local riding and pony school in Co Tyrone was delighted to receive a recent investment to develop a new stable block.

The Omagh Riding for Disabled association, which has been in existence for over 25 years, recently opened the new stables with funding from the PEACE IV Youth Focused Shared Spaces program.

Omagh RDA administrator Gwen Garrett has been involved with the association throughout its existence and said its upgraded facilities will lead to a better experience for those entering its center on Deverney Road in the city by Co Tyrone.

“We’ve grown since the place was built in 1985, so we had temporary stables there as the number of riders and horses increased,” Gwen told MyTyrone.

“The space was so tight that we had to stop doing a few shows, and that made it a pretty dangerous work area.

“It was quite difficult to give any freedom to the children under these circumstances, so our new stable block has access to the arena, and it will be able to accommodate nine horses when it’s fully finished.

The association is run entirely by volunteers, Gwen added, and provides a safe space for people with physical disabilities and learning disabilities to learn all about horseback riding.

“It is specifically for disabled users to ride, all our facilities have been specially designed for this reason.

“Some people are physically disabled and some may have the autism spectrum for example.

“We even have people who are socially isolated, kids who don’t go to school for one reason or another, and we work a lot with teenagers like that.

“We teach them all kinds of skills that could also be transferable and useful in trying to get a job and things like that.”

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Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, which supported PEACE IV funding for the project, said the improved facilities would be a big boost for Omagh RDA.

Board Chairman Errol Thompson said: “The investment has enabled the Omagh Riding School for the Disabled Association not only to enhance their superb facilities for the benefit of their members, but also to attract new users, thus creating a more cohesive society thanks to an increase in the offer of shared spaces and services.

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