Wheelchair-bound carriage-drivers in Somerset are eager to find the owner of a big calm pony that could help to transform their lives.
Somerset Levels RDA Carriage Driving Group needs to find the owner of a large pony (14 hands plus), who would be willing to bring that pony for training to fill a vital gap.
According to Caroline Sturgess, Chair of the Somerset Levels group: "Until a few years ago, we had three RDA trained ponies, including a large pony that could be driven by some of our larger wheelchair clients.
"Since then, our mid-sized pony has retired, and our large pony has returned to its owner. My own Dartmoor pony is our fourth RDA assessed pony, but he is too small to pull our specially adapted carriage for larger wheelchair clients", said Mrs Sturgess.
This means that the group, which already had a waiting list of disable people wanting to benefit from its services, is currently unable to provide therapeutic driving sessions for a number of wheelchair clients who were already getting that benefit.
"A perfect example", says Mrs Sturgess, "is John - a former cavalryman who suffered a massive stroke that left him unable to speak and bound to his wheelchair. His weekly session of driving our big pony from his wheelchair made a huge difference to his life.
"While we all struggle to understand what John is trying to say, a pony has a magic ability to understand him and do what he wants. This gave John the precious ability to be independent and in control, just for half an hour each week.
"We have a number of disabled people in very similar positions to John. Right now, we are unable to help them until we can find someone in Somerset who owns a large pony that could join our team", Mrs Sturgess added.
Somerset Levels RDA Carriage Driving Group operates two sessions per week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from a location in Charlton Adams, near Glastonbury and Street..
Full details of their services and operations can be found on their website www.somersetlevelsrda.org