Last month, as part of a visit to the region, Princess Anne returned to the Washington Riding Centre almost 40 years since she first opened it.
The centre, based in Wearside, is a member group of the national Riding for the Disable Association and provides adults and children with a range of disabilities and learning difficulties with riding lessons year round, offering a positive and unique form of therapy.
Originally founded in South Shields in 1964, the centre moved to a purpose built, BHS approved riding centre in 1977 which was officially opened by Princess Anne in the same year. It has since grown to a facility which stables 42 horses, along with over 60 volunteers and 8 permanent staff who work to keep the centre offering lessons and therapy to users 7 days a week.
During her return Princess Anne opened a new stable block at the centre which has been funded by Sport England and provides its users with a new class room and demonstration area, allowing more opportunities to get closer to the horses and expanding the riding schools ability to provide therapeutic riding lessons for those with complex needs.
As part of her tour of the centre Princess Anne met with Zoe Freedman, a chiropractor and Certified Kinesio Taping Practitioner and observed a treatment demonstration. Zoe works with the centre offering bi-monthly clinics for the horses used by the charity. Carrying disabled riders places unique strains on the horses and regular maintenance checks prevent musculoskeletal problems developing. Chiropractic care includes soft tissue work, cold laser, joint specific manipulations called adjustments, mobilisation and rehabilitation. Kinesio taping equine patients can be used to facilitate or inhibit muscle action, reduce swelling and inflammation and much more. Princess Anne, a decorated equestrian competitor, looked on as Zoe successfully adjusted Tess and used equine taping techniques to enhance shoulder movement.
Zoe, Chair of the British Veterinary Chiropractic Association and International Veterinary Chiropractic Association certified animal chiropractor, has been working with the charity since 2008 said: "It was a fantastic opportunity to be able to explain how chiropractors work on the equine patient and to demonstrate some common adjusting techniques we use on the back and extremities."
"It was a fabulous day and hopefully it has increased awareness of the fabulous job all the staff at Washington Riding Centre do every day of the year."
To find out more about Washington Riding Centre or Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA), you can find them at: