A horse-riding centre had a successful turn out for their open day to encourage more volunteers to sign-up and help less-abled bodied riders.

Large crowds of people attended Chigwell Riding Trust for Special Needs on Grange Farm Centre, Chigwell, on Sunday, June 23.

The charity also celebrated their 55th anniversary since opening, which back in 1964, was first ever riding centre in the world for people with disabilities and special needs.

Centre Manger, Deborah Hall, who has run the stables for over 30 years, said: “It is very rewarding and it never gets old as I love helping people.

“You see the children come here and improve their mental, physical well-beings, social skills and their confidence.

“We have seven riders who will be competing in the RDA National Championships in July which is a big achievement.”

Children as young as 14 months old demonstrated their equestrian skills to spectators from cantering to showjumping.

Mrs Halls said the trust needs around 18 volunteers for each lesson in order to make sure each rider is cared whilst on their horse.

Several craft and cake stalls were set up within the grounds to raise money for the centre, including a charity auction to conclude the day.

A signing choir made up from some of the children attending the open day gave a heart-warming performance of The Greatest Showman’s song “This Is Me”.

Toni Lingfield, gave a speech explaining who Chigwell Riding Trust changed the lives of her two children who were both born with mobility issues.

“It was a turning point in our lives,” she said. “I will never forget the first time I walked into this yard.

“I felt we belonged almost like we have come home I get that exact same feeling every time I walk through these doors.

“Riding has immeasurably improved my children’s lives. At 23, our Sophie is still on her feet and has spent four years living 150 miles away studying and completing a physics degree and James is living independently and studying at Oxford University.

“My children would never have achieved this without Chigwell in their lives their doctors are outstand, when they ask me how this minor miracle has happened, I explain about this special place.”

Chigwell Riding Truest for Disabled Riders is still welcoming volunteers who are interested in signing up.

For more information, visit www.chigride.org.uk/ or call 020 8500 6051.