Carriage-Driving Day at Chariots of Fire, Lockerbie, Scotland.
Thursday 20 July, saw 12 young wheelchair basketballers (the youngest of whom was six years old), accompanied by their coach, Tina Gordon, take part in an activity day at Chariots of Fire Carriage Driving Centre, Boreland, Lockerbie. The event was financed with some of the sponsorship money raised by LT supporters Scott McKechnie, Keith Davidson and Peter Davidson of Easy Living Developments, Glenrothes, who ran the Edinburgh Half Marathon on behalf of the Lord’s Taverners.
Chariots of Fire is an equestrian centre which provides lessons in carriage driving to persons with physical needs, and also to those with learning difficulties. The centre has several carriages which are adapted to take wheelchairs, and the instructors are trained to National level.
The purpose of the event was to encourage team and character building, and to give these young people, most of whom had no previous experience with horses, a chance to increase their confidence. Some older wheelchair basketballers attended to assist the youngsters, aged six to 18, as did family members. LT Committee Members Ruth Hampton, and Ronald and Anne Neilson also attended.
After tuition by the Centre’s instructors, the boys and girls took part in a time competition around an obstacle course. Afterwards they assisted in unharnessing and grooming the ponies. All were presented with rosettes, and first with a time of two minutes, two seconds, was Ben Leitch.
All agreed that while the day was great fun, it had challenges similar to their own sport, and were happy to give their impressions:
Josh Manson: fantastic day, couldn’t better it. Really helped bring the team together, have some fun, but also a bit of friendly competition.
Gemma Lumsdaine: Chariots of Fire was an amazing day combining my two passions; horses and basketball. Every participant got so much from the day, including concurring fears, overcoming challenges and learning how we can apply and relate skills we learnt today on and off court.
Ben Owens: The relationship between the horse and rider/carriage rider is very similar to that of a basketball team. To begin with the horse and rider are strangers and soon build a bond just like in a basketball team, learning each other's strengths and weaknesses. The chariots are like the wheelchairs of horse riding in comparison to the wheelchairs in basketball allowing the player and equipment to be as one.
Logan Kidd: I was very wary about being around the horses when I got to Chariots of Fire, but as the day went on I got a bit more used to my surroundings and that day helped me gain more self confidence and helped me to push my self out of my comfort zone. It also helped me get closer to my teammates and bond with them, and in the end I enjoyed my day driving and learning about the animals. I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for something different and to bring their team together and grow their confidence.
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