Parents appeal for backing to keep disabled girl riding

From left, Lydia Coppola, Wendlebury Gate Stables owner Hazel Offord, Emilia Tranter and instructor Sue Mckecknie with Colin the Pony

From left, Lydia Coppola, Wendlebury Gate Stables owner Hazel Offord, Emilia Tranter and instructor Sue Mckecknie with Colin the Pony

First published in News
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Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Bicester and Banbury. Call me on (01865) 425426

PARENTS of a severely disabled four-year-old who has therapeutic horse riding lessons are desperate for people to sign a petition to keep a Wendlebury stables open.

Emilia Tranter, who lives in Hampton Poyle, has a rare genetic disease which means she has 43 of her chromosomes missing.

She has been riding at Wendlebury Gate Stables, in Wendlebury, near Bicester, for more than a year, but it could soon be forced to close.

The stables, on the site for 25 years, are owned by Hazel Offord and her father John.

They say they will have to shut the school, which gives 4,000 lessons a year, because the East-West rail link is being built across the back of their land.

Ms Offord said the noise of the trains would be too loud for her to continue teaching lessons.

Network Rail, which is running the rail link project, says it cannot install the level of noise barrier the Offords say they need to carry on.

An e-petition has been started and Emilia’s parents Lydia Coppola and Julian Tranter are urging people to help keep the stables open.

Mr Tranter said: “She has the lessons because they are therapy for her, they help her strengthen her core.

“At the time she started she could not walk or balance, and I am not saying this is the reason she now can, but now she has started to walk.

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“And it has raised her confidence in herself.”

The 47-year-old added: “For us, if it were to close, I don’t know what we would do.

“It was such a struggle to find somewhere to take her in the first place. They have almost become part of her extended family.”

Mum Lydia Coppola, 40, said: “Emilia has the mental age of a two-and-a-half-year-old and it has taken her 13 months to get used to riding at Wendlebury.

“She rides twice a week and it is going to affect us massively because she absolutely loves it, which puts a big smile on our faces.

“We could go to a stables in Chipping Norton, but Emilia does not like change and this would be a big upheaval for her.

“It is one of the only normal things that she will be able to do as she grows up.”

Ms Coppola added: “We are not asking for money, it is only a name on a petition.”

At the time of going to print, 1,036 people had signed the petition.

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Comments (2)

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11:26pm Sat 30 Aug 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

The owners of the stable were a touch naive when they commissioned consultants...

According to the 2010 archives of "The Oxford Mail"...

"Health and safety consultants Harris and Porter calculated that without a noise barrier there could be up to two serious or fatal accidents at the stables a year due to excess noise from passing trains."

With a near guarantee of two fatalities per year - these stables will be near enough uninsurable. Goodness knows what other stable owners throughout the UK who have their facilities alongside railway lines, motorways or other noisy venues must be thinking.
The owners of the stable were a touch naive when they commissioned consultants... According to the 2010 archives of "The Oxford Mail"... "Health and safety consultants Harris and Porter calculated that without a noise barrier there could be up to two serious or fatal accidents at the stables a year due to excess noise from passing trains." With a near guarantee of two fatalities per year - these stables will be near enough uninsurable. Goodness knows what other stable owners throughout the UK who have their facilities alongside railway lines, motorways or other noisy venues must be thinking. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 3

12:32pm Mon 1 Sep 14

King Joke says...

What a load of tosh. If horses were that unpredictable and dangerous they'd run out of control every time an aeroplane flew past, or a car overtoook them on a road.

If they are that concerned about noise, why don't they just plant some leylandii at the boundary? It's a pretty effective sound insulator.
What a load of tosh. If horses were that unpredictable and dangerous they'd run out of control every time an aeroplane flew past, or a car overtoook them on a road. If they are that concerned about noise, why don't they just plant some leylandii at the boundary? It's a pretty effective sound insulator. King Joke
  • Score: 0

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