National Park’s newest recruit joins Fortune Centre of Riding Therapy

Published Thursday 15 April 2010

The New Forest National Park Authority’s newest recruit has just taken up his reins at the Fortune Centre of Riding Therapy.

‘Blackjack’ Bartie as he is better known, is an 11-year-old piebald cob gelding who, standing at 14.3 hands high, is an ideal height for many different riding abilities.

He will be helping local children with physical disabilities to understand and improve their own movement, balance and co-ordination as part of their weekly riding therapy sessions.

During their final year, the residential students on the three-year full-time residential course, Further Education through Horsemastership (FETH), will look after Bartie as part of their day-to-day work.

Saira Sheldrake, Recreation Officer at the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘By contributing to the great work of the FCRT, we are enabling young people to learn life skills that allow them to have some independence in their adult life and help local children with physical disabilities.

‘It also supports our second purpose to promote opportunities for understanding and enjoyment of the New Forest’s special qualities. Students who attend the FCRT are based right in the heart of the New Forest National Park and are able to enjoy this special landscape from the saddle of a horse.’

Jennifer Dixon-Clegg, Director of the FCRT, said:  ‘Horses play an important role in education for young people with learning difficulties and disabilities.  Bartie will join the team of horses at FCRT whose movement, routine and needs form the basis of a curriculum through which non-learners find themselves learning independent living skills including sometimes for the first time, the opportunity to make and keep friendships now and in the future.  The FCRT is encouraged by and grateful for the support of the National Park Authority and for their recognition of the unique provision in this area.  Horses at the FCRT demonstrate that horses are not only for leisure, pleasure and sport.  The National Park Authority is promoting education and access for all through this fantastic initiative.’

‘Blackjack’ Bartie has been part-funded by the New Forest National Park Authority which contributed £2000 towards the cost of his purchase. His name is a traditional New Forest word meaning burnt gorse stems collected for fuel.


Media Contact:
Karen Evans, Communications Officer, New Forest National Park Authority
Tel: 01590 646650

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