Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre – new indoor arena surface

Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre was started by Sister Mary Joy Langdon in 1989 in a muddy field in west London, with two ponies. Since then it has grown into a thriving charity providing riding, horse therapy and horse care lessons to 350 inner city children and young people each year. We aim to enhance the lives of disabled, disadvantaged and socially excluded children. By interacting with the horses the self esteem and confidence of the young people is developed. We are a member group of Riding for the Disabled Association and a Branch of the Pony Club, the largest youth equestrian organization in the world. The Pony Centre has 20 horses and ponies and two donkeys.

In 1994 the BBC Challenge Anneka Programme turned the muddy field into an indoor riding arena complete with seating for over 100 people, a Judges’ Room, toilets with facilities for disabled riders. The following year we fundraised for new stables, tackroom, office, vet box, hay barn, feed room etc. The indoor arena was laid with an Ecotrack surface which is a competition grade surface used at equestrian centres and competition sites around the world. The horses are turned out every day to enjoy the freedom offered in the school and, therefore, it is essential that it is kept well maintained as a good riding surface means they do not get injuries or become foot sore.

Over the past 21 years the surface has been renewed once due to the use it gets with riding lessons taking place six days a week. This summer it was renewed again and, thanks to the donation from The Elise Pilkington Trust, our horses will return from their summer holiday to a new, springy surface and our riders should have a safe and smooth ride.

It costs over £200,000 p.a to maintain the Pony Centre. Our funding from The Elise Pilkington Trust ensures we have an on going legacy for future years for which we are very grateful.