Finding ways for young disabled people to experience the rolling hills and breathe the fresh air of the High Peak can be a challenge indeed.
However, it is utterly vital that disabled youngsters get these opportunities and here at the Advertiser we praise anyone who makes this possible.
Take, for instance, the collaborative effort between Buxton Riding School and the Helen Atkin RDA group.
For the past 20 years, disabled youngsters from across the region have had the opportunity to ride horses and help with the day-to-day stable duties.
Every Tuesday and Thursday, around 30 disabled children visit the school at Fern Farm, off London Road.
Louise Thompson, who runs Buxton Riding School with husband Dave, said: “The children absolutely love coming here.
“Just dealing with the animals is extremely therapeutic in itself.
“But getting out and riding is great for the children as they can breathe the fresh air, build their core strength and balance, as well as help out with odd duties.”
But this week the attention turned away from the people who make this amazing project possible – and onto the valiant horses themselves.
Veteran horses Daisy, Pip, Jerry, Tilly, Lady and Big Daisy were presented with a Riding for the Disabled Long Service Awards by Wendy Howe, chairman of the Helen Atkin RDA group, for serving at least six years.
The rewards were presented in a newly-refurbished area of the stables – which includes a new office, cafe, and riding area which promises to “increase the experience” of disabled youngsters who visit.
Wendy praised the school, its owners and the horses, and expressed excitement about the new facilities and how they will “enhance” an already excellent service for disabled users.
“We are most grateful to Buxton Riding School and the owners of the horses for allowing the group to use their wonderful animals,” said Wendy.
Louise said that horses used by the children needed to have an “amazing temperament” for their role and added her praise to the award-winning horses.
“It can be challenging work for the horses and they need to have an amazing temperament,” she said. “But luckily, all our horses are absolutely brilliant with the kids.”
Despite the continuing success of the collaboration, Louise is keen to remind readers that the stable’s volunteers make the whole thing possible.
“Without our volunteers, we wouldn’t be able to keep offering the great service we offer – they really help us get more young people involved.
“We are always on the look-out for new people to help out, though, so if you think it’s something you are interested in, just give me a call.”
To start volunteering at Buxton Riding School give Louise or Dave a call on 01298 72319.
You can also find out more by visiting www.buxtonridingschool.co.uk.