Last year, Isle of Man Sport provided some funding to Manx Carriage Driving for Disabled (MCD4D), via their recognised Governing Body of Sport, the Manx Horse Council. This funding was towards the purchase of some new driving obstacles to enable drivers to develop their skills and practise on a course similar to that experienced in competition.
We visited MCD4D and Margot Dahn (one of the Carriage Driving coaches) in May this year to see how this project has helped their club and the service users.
Tell us a little bit more about Manx Carriage Driving 4 Disabled and what you do.
Formed over ten years ago, Manx Carriage Driving 4 Disabled (MCD4D) was the ‘brainchild’ of a group of ladies with equestrian interests and an desire to provide something different.
Our aim is "to make the wheels go round" and MCD4D has delivered hundreds of drives for disabled members at Ballavartyn Equestrian Centre in Santon over the last 10 years. The comments and smiles we receive from drivers, carers, friends and family make it all worthwhile!
We are all volunteers, so any donations go directly to the provision of the service we deliver and we were privileged to have a visit from The Princess Royal last year to thank the team for the work we do.
How has the purchase of the obstacles benefitted the club and users?
Thanks to Isle of Man Sport, we have purchased a full set of multi coloured, purpose-built obstacles, which enables our partially sighted members to distinguish a contrasting colour over just one solid colour and of course, the larger size helps with their visual and spatial awareness when actually driving round or through the obstacles.
Our drivers love to learn and experience the thrill and skill of ‘driving the hazards’ which is an integral part of Carriage Driving in a competitive format! The sense of achievement and inclusion is palpable in our sessions, be it the pleasure of driving or the competitive element!
What are the next steps for MCD4D?
We are now gearing up for twice the number of drives on two days per week, now that we have our latest pony and new carriage with softer suspension! We’re aiming to recruit new volunteers to ensure we have the ‘human resources’ as well as the ‘pulling power ‘and the carriages to deliver an increased number of drives.
We will have paid for these latest investments from the donations we’ve received in the last twelve months, and the matched funding opportunities from Isle of Man Sport.
We now continuing our fundraising efforts and looking for further support in order to:
- Pay for livery, husbandry and care for our ponies
- Acquire additional equipment to keep members safe and protected during their drives
- Extend our services to members of likeminded charities whose members will benefit from what we provide
Who is MCD4D for and how can someone get involved?
Anyone with a disability, physical or mental, permanent or temporary is welcome each Friday and some weekends, at Ballavartyn, for a drive in one of our specially adapted carriages.
We are always looking for support, so if you’re able to help, in cash or in kind, with donations or in time, skill or expertise we’d love to hear from you! Our website gives you an insight into what we do and how to become involved. We look forward to sharing a great experience with you soon!
Where can I find out more information or get in touch with MCD4D?
More information can be found on our website, Facebook or you can contact our Group Organiser, Liz Lillie, by phone or email :
Raymond Cox, Chair of the Manx Horse Council, said:
"Full praise to the MCD4D who fulfil such an important role in the equestrian community and beyond. The volunteers are an example to all in sport and the joy that they bring to their members is uplifting. Well done to Isle of Man Sport for their generous support to the MCD4D as they look to the future."