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Home   Medway   News   Article

Abbey Court School is fundraising to buy ‘Tonto’ a horse simulator which will help children with special needs' physical and emotional development

15 March 2014
by Lizzie Massey

Abbey Court School is raising funds to buy ‘Tonto’ – a horse simulator.

It has been given the nickname after the character in the classic TV series the Lone Ranger.

Faye, 6. Abbey Court School is aiming to raise money for a Horse Simulator

Faye, 6. Abbey Court School is aiming to raise money for a Horse Simulator

The school, rated outstanding by Ofsted inspectors, provides education for children with severe learning difficulties and profound and multiple learning difficulties aged from three to 19.

Emphasis is placed on a well-rounded education and developing practical and life skills, such as horse riding.

Linda Taylor, business manager at the school in Strood and Rainham, said: “The Ridemaster Simulator would improve children’s concentration, coordination and mobility problems.

The horse simulator the school is fundraising for

The horse simulator the school is fundraising for

“Riding can help with posture and strengthening specific muscles, which benefits children when they are walking, or using their wheelchairs and walking frames.”

The simulator is interactive with an on-screen programme riders can follow as though riding outdoors – but the thoroughbred comes with a price to match at £31,000.

Five pupils already go to a riding school each week but the school is restricted by the cost of lessons and transportation, and many of its 150 pupils do not get the chance.




Those who are more physically disabled also lose out because there are no facilities to help get them safely onto a horse.

Mrs Taylor said: “We have an extensive range of hoisting equipment which would mean we could deliver a riding experience to even the most impacted pupils. It would extend riding opportunities to 80% of our pupils.

“Some children have also never seen a horse and in the past have become distressed when confronted with one. But Tonto will help alleviate their fears.”

The horse simulator the school is fundraising for with interactive screen

The horse simulator the school is fundraising for with interactive screen

Mrs Taylor added: “We recognise that there are great financial demands on people and companies at the moment, but we hope you can see just what a valuable addition Tonto would be to the school community – and donations, no matter how small, would be very gratefully received.

Cash is welcome. Cheques can be made payable to Abbey Court School and sent to the school in Long Catlis Road, Rainham, ME8 9TX. Call 01634 338220.

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