A Flintshire riding centre has unveiled a memorial wall celebrating 40 years of success and the life of founder Anne Sopwith. 

Clwyd Special Riding Centre is a registered charity in Llanfynydd, Flintshire. 

The centre provides equine therapy for adults and children with additional needs through riding, carriage driving, equestrian vaulting, equine learning and therapy and hippotherapy. 

The centre was founded in 1982 by Anne Sopwith after she purchased Tyn-Y-Cyffion, a small riding school, that had been converted from a hill farm in the village of Llanfynydd.

The Leader: Memorial Wall Clwyd Special Riding CentreMemorial Wall Clwyd Special Riding Centre

The centre was officially opened in 1984 by HRH Princess Anne.

On Wednesday, July 20th the centre held a fundraiser to celebrate efforts of volunteers, staff and trustees over the 40 years of opening, as well as unveilling the new memorial wall. 

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The event involved several demonstrations including a demonstration by a young rider showcasing hippotherapy. 

Hippotherapy is a physiotherapy treatment technique which uses the special qualities of the horse to help a patient progress.

The Leader: Clwyd Special Riding CentreClwyd Special Riding Centre

The centre works with a range of people with varying needs including; learning disabilities, physical disabilities, acquired brain injury, limb loss, post-traumatic stress disorder, sight loss and visual impairment, terminal illness, behavioural needs, mulitiple scleorisis, anxiety, motoneurone disease, mental health and babies born prematurely. 

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Therefore the centre utilises a range of equipment and speciality treatments to work with clients. 

The Leader: Clwyd Riding CentreClwyd Riding Centre

The Centre has a fully simulated mechanical horse with interactive screen where riders can experience horse movement whilst riding a dressage test or cantering along a beach.

Jane Sargeant, a wheelchair user that volunteers at the centre, found the mechanical horse extremely useful in her own therapy. 

Speaking of the centre she said: "It's helped me physically and mentally, so it's life-changing."

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Miss Sargeant competed in the Riding for Disabled Association National Championships in 2016. 

She added: "They are really there to help you and it's helped me get through a lot of hard times."

The event was attended by Mayor Councillor Brian Cameron who described the services provided by the centre as "amazing". 

He even got involved in the demonstrations himself and volunteered to try out the mechanical horse. 

The Leader: Mayor Brian CameronMayor Brian Cameron

The centre closed temporarily during the coronavirus pandemic due to the needs of participants and also mature age of many of the volunteers. 

In order to reduce costs through the pandemic, the trust paused any upcoming projects, furloughed all staff except the Head Coach who cared for onsite horses and removed the shoes of all 24 horses. 

Despite reopening in July 2021 many volunteers have been unable to return meaning the number of current volunteers has decreased significantly from pre-pandemic. 

The centre are planning to host a range of other activities and events in celebration of their 40th birthday.