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.

“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.

  • Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS or SPORT or NEWS AND SPORT, depending on which services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone's contacts as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.

Our top stories