A HORSE-RIDING charity which has supported hundreds of disadvantaged youngsters is facing a race against time.

Stable Life has been providing equine assisted learning ever since growing out of the Gala Youth project more than a decade ago.

But central to its courses and therapies at its Ashkirk base is an indoor riding school.

And much of Stable Life's income is also generated from commercial clients who use the facility.

Mags Powell from Stable Life told us: "Our indoor riding school is over 40 years old and is in need of an essential renovation.

"The structure needs to be strengthened to make it wind and water tight, the roof and windows leak and urgently need to be replaced.

"The building is currently dark, damp and cold.

"We are very worried that if the building is left to deteriorate further we will not be able to support the 100 or so vulnerable young people referred to us each year."

Over the past few months staff at the charity have been developing plans to secure and future-proof the indoor school.

Having already held fundraising events and securing £15,000 from Scottish Borders Council's Localities Bid Fund, they are now attempting to find the final £10,000 required through an online Crowdfunding appeal.

But time is running out.

Mags added: "The Crowdfunding campaign will only be funded if the final £10,000 is pledged before August 13.

"Any amount of pledge would be very welcome and there are some lovely rewards generously donated from various companies and individuals up for grabs."

Despite the major fundraising campaign and worries over the future of its indoor riding school, Stable Life has continued to support support young people and their families who are experiencing personal challenges.

Their equine assisted learning allows each student to discover a sense of self, build resilience and learn transferable life skills while working with horses.

An ongoing Out of the Woods project, which will run until next March gives young people the opportunity to gain an SQA Level 4 qualification in Horse Care.

The first class of eight students started the course in January with all of them making the grade.

Stable Life team leader Cindy Davie said: “The NPA Level 4 in Horse Care was developed for learners who found a classroom environment a barrier to learning.

"All of our students attended for a full day, completing work on the yard, riding lessons, and a small amount of cabin based activities.

"As with every new venture there are teething problems, however our students engaged and worked their way through them.

"Feedback from families and referring agencies commented on the growth of confidence of the young people.

"They developed from a very quiet group of individuals in to a whole bundle of fun and laughter! All eight learners completed the units, and had a pathway for future learning in place."

A second group of students is currently working towards the qualification, with a further class set to start later this month.

Cindy added: "Staff are currently undergoing training to be able to deliver Youth Achievement Awards, which we hope to be able to diversify and offer through our Environmental and Lifeskills groups, as well as the Horse Care.

"We would like to say a huge thank you to Borders College for their support, and external verification, and we look forward to growing together in the future.”

To support Stable Life's appeal indoor riding school appeal go to www.crowdfunder.co.uk/stable-life-save-our-school