what we offer
One-to-one horse-riding and carriage driving lessons
We specialise in coaching on a one-to-one basis to meet our clients’ needs. We offer both riding and driving lessons in addition to drive outs, and cater for all ages and abilities. We often build bespoke packages and training plans to suit individual needs, so please contact us to discuss your requirements. Our weight limit for riders is 14 stone as we don’t have any big horses here. We look forward to hearing from you!
Established by the late Amanda Saville in 1998, Chariots of Fire is a small nationally recognised equestrian centre based in a rural community in southern Scotland. We have stabling and grazing for over 20 horses and ponies, an indoor arena and outdoor menage, along with miles of wonderful lanes and forest tracks to improve fitness. Our award winning team of coaches includes national champion drivers, allowing us to offer training to the highest standard in both riding and carriage driving. While we no longer take ponies for breaking, we are happy to help bring ponies on if you are wanting to compete.
Young people and special needs
Chariots is now a Community Interest Company, and the Centre has developed a national reputation for making the equestrian sport of carriage driving accessible to all, regardless of any disability, additional need or disadvantage. We specialise in working with young people and those with disabilities or additional needs and have been successful in introducing youngsters from 3 years upwards to equine activities.
Carriage driving is a unique activity where even those with severe physical disabilities can take part. We have aids that can give people access to the sport – eg. a rein bar to be used by a person with the use of only one hand, or loops which make it easier to hold the reins. We also have carriages that can hold a wheelchair for drive outs, lessons, or even to be driven at speed in competition.
In addition to our able bodied clients, the centre now delivers activities to over 200 clients with additional needs, particularly young people with conditions like cerebral palsy and autism spectrum disorders. Our drivers often also learn transferrable skills during their time here, such as developing core strength and the self-confidence to interact with a wide range of people. We offer individual and group sessions and specialise in delivering one-to-one coaching to our clients. We also facilitate attendance to competitions for those clients who wish to pursue the sport competitively. Using our specially adapted carriages and aids, all clients are able to compete against their able-bodied peers, often beating them with the associated sense of achievement!
We create an environment based on encouragement, kindness, laughter and self-discipline, and are passionate about empowering each individual to develop to be the best they can be. It is widely documented that interaction with ponies has huge therapeutic benefits. It can help build confidence, improve relationships and create strong personal bonds with everyone involved.
We have a close association with the charity Sports Driving Unlimited which specialises in bringing the joys of sports carriage driving to disabled, disadvantaged and terminally ill young people.
“The children I work with have a significant difference in perception of the world around them, stemming from several factors such as lack of trust, trauma in early years, social and communication barriers or mental health issues. During their time at Chariots I have seen the lives of around 15 pupils transformed through: increased confidence; exposure to and coping with new experiences; lessened anxiety; increased social communication, improved self-esteem and resilience. ” Alison Murray, Principal Teacher, Additional Support for Learning, Calside Primary.