The scope of this complex extends beyond a conventional riding centre to provide programmes of therapy for disturbed children. Through the care for, and the physical interaction with the horses, various problems are addressed without direct confrontation between therapist and client. This is a private initiative which is reporting excellent results with ‘difficult’ children and young adults.
The building programme consists of a main riding hall, stables with open and cellular stalls, a house with two apartments for staff as well as the treatment of the external areas between these buildings. Strict planning restrictions determined the roof-form as well as the palate of materials but the detailing of these has been refined to give the complex a contemporary expression.
The riding hall has been located on the main road to determine the public face of the complex. The hall has a 24 m span with trusses at 4.8m centres of laminated timber struts and galvanised steel connectors/tensile members. The roof cladding is corrugated cement-fibre sheets. The internal linings are pine T&G boarding and plywood. The external cladding is 24 mm larch T&G boarding with flush ‘frameless’ glazing elements.
A similar palate of materials is used for the stables where up to 30 animals can be kept. The structural grid is 4.8m with a 14 m span. The ‘house’ is the administration centre and provides accommodation for three staff members. The detailing is consistent with the other two buildings to unify the complex and allows it to be assimilated into its rural context. Covered walkways to the sides of the stables and riding hall face the exercise yard, which is a framed sand-pit located between the three main structures, while the extensive grounds to the south of the complex provide space for exercising with the animals.