Therapeutic Riding

Riding is thought of as one of the most beneficial forms of therapy the disabled can receive. It helps to build self confidence, improve concentration and self-discipline, and provides an added recreation and sport into the lives of the disabled. People with a disability are part of society and must not be viewed as a marginalised group. All over the world, the success of riding schools for the disabled is mainly because horses give unconditional love to anyone. Unlike society they do not care how you look, and what you can do, if you show trust in them, they will trust you too.

Pegasus - Horses Help People Ltd is a voluntary non-profit organisation (with charitable status) committed to offering the proven benefits of therapeutic riding to children and adults with special needs or a disability. They seek to enhance physical, cognitive and emotional healing through equine facilitated activities and their aims are fully supported by the North Western Health Board. To encourage social integration and tolerance of diversity, they offer small mixed ability classes where both regular and disabled riders can have fun together and learn from each other.

Tina Schmill, founder of Pegasus, is an Advanced Riding Therapy Instructor for the physically and cognitively impaired with NARHA (North American Riding for the Handicapped Association). As a former Veterinary Nurse and Social Educator, Tina has over 18 years experience working with people, animals and in particular with horses as Riding Therapist in City Farms and Special Schools in her native Switzerland.

The PEGASUS Project

Pegasus/Tina currently operates from a small private yard whose lease expires December 2007. Their service was established in Spring 2003, and due to their huge success and rapidly increasing number of clients, they seek to expand and establish a new facility near Sligo Town. Weather dependency is their biggest obstacle and a large indoor arena is therefore of the utmost importance. Not being able to keep their lesson appointment is disappointing for their riders, and for many, their lesson at Pegasus represents the highlight of their week.

Pegasus endeavours to create and establish a unique Irish model of a State of the Art Therapeutic Riding Centre that primarily provides equine facilitated, therapeutic, leisure and sporting activities for people with special needs.

I am very enthusiastic and delighted to be involved as a Director with Pegasus, also assisting with fundraising for the establishment of a purpose-built centre near Sligo. I recognised Tina's commitment and passion to become a leading facility in Therapeutic Riding by demonstrating excellence and professionalism in every area of service provision.

In order to realise its vision Pegasus needs a new home. It needs the space and resources to build an indoor arena (for year-round use), as well as associated staff accommodation, outbuildings, stables, paddocks and playgrounds.

Fundraising will continue to turn this dream into reality.