We were delighted to welcome Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal to Island Riding Centre.
During a two hour visit the Princess was able to see a range of the current projects in operation and met with many of the individuals associated with these.
A brief introduction with owners Louise and Paul Buckner and Wighthorse Community Interest Company (CIC) trustee Christina Czarkowski-Crouch was followed by a tour of the main yards meeting grooms Angel, Emily and Katie and a number of the riding school ponies and liveries.
On the yard the full-time level 2 and 3 students from HTP spoke about their course work and later in the visit the level 3 students performed a musical ride under the stewardship of instructor Jo Hogan, and HTP owners Rachael and Malcolm Randall outlined the benefits of the courses on offer through HTP and IRC.
Christina was able to explain the great work that Wighthorse CIC is doing, providing riding opportunities for children and adults with financial, social and physical difficulties and HRH was shown a demonstration of the para-rider hoist that will enable even those with the most severe physical limitations to ride and the Princess later visited the newly opened café where all profits go to the CIC.
A further riding demonstration under the instruction of Kim Watts came from the pupils of St Catherines School for children with special educational needs who ride regularly with IRC.
Part of the tour saw the Princess inspect the recently finished safari ‘glamping’ tents which with the support of the IW Rural Fund will enable larger groups from schools and clubs from both on and off the Island visit and not only take part in equestrian activities but also explore the outdoor opportunities on offer.
The classroom was in use with our weekly ‘messy play’ session run by SCOPE and the Princess made time to meet everyone and saw at first hand the benefits of having the Changing Places WC on site has made, allowing individuals with severe disabilities the rare chance to venture out for a welcome change of scene.
The visit concluded with the unveiling of a plaque to commemorate the visit before the party departed for the mainland on the royal helicopter.