Officials at Marton-based Midgeland Riding For Disabled were in a jubilant mood today after the National Lottery galloped to their aid.
Sport England has awarded the group £46,800 in vital funding to help buy a riding simulator and to renovate a barn at their headquarters to house it.
A simulator has been described as an ‘extraordinary’ piece of equipment that provides no end of benefits to horse-riders.
An equine simulator imitates the movement of a horse and has proved to be key in helping able-bodied and disabled riders when they move on to the real thing.
Midegland chairman Wendy Ellis said: “We are over the moon.
“This riding simulator will enable many more disabled and able-bodied people who thought they couldn’t ride to experience horse-riding in a safe and secure environment.
“The simulator can be used as a stepping-stone to riding real horses, enabling people to build confidence and balance before getting on a real horse.”
Today’s announcement comes as hugely welcome news to Midgeland, who have campaigned long and hard to get this far.
Secretary Pat Bevan said: “I cannot believe the support we have had with this project from everyone in our community.
“I know the simulator will enable many more people to experience the benefits of horse riding.
“I have to thank everyone who has supported us with our mission to buy one of these extraordinary pieces of equipment.”
As part of their campaign, Midgeland have organised various fund-raising events, also gaining the support of professional jockeys when they had a demonstration day at Haydock Park racecourse.
Paul Maynard, MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys, has had a special interest in the Midgeland initiative.
He said: “Growing up with cerebral palsy, I know what a difference being able to ride and compete made to me.
“I am sure this new simulator will open up this world for many more people of all ages and all disabilities.”
The money for the Midgeland project has come out of Sport England’s inspired facilities fund and is just one of 148 projects sharing in £10m worth of funding up and down the country.