At farm, stable environment for special needs

The Thorncroft Equestrian Center, which serves more than 300 children and adults weekly at its 70-acre Malvern farm, broke ground this morning for a covered paddock and observation area.

 The project is being funded by a $2.2 million capital campaign, which is co-chaired by Chairman of the Board George Rubin and Betty Moran, a philanthropist who owns  Brushwood Stable, a thoroughbred racing and breeding operation in Malvern.  Launched in November, 2011, the campaign has passed the halfway point, allowing the center to move forward with its much-needed expansion. About 250 of the center’s weekly riders have mental or physical disabilities, such as autism, cerebral palsy, and multiple sclerosis. The farm’s offerings include horseback riding instruction for students with and without disabilities, an instructors course, a volunteer and working student program, and vocational programs.

Ground-breaking for the covered arena and observation area represents the first phase of a two-part construction program. The arena, which will provide  quiet, private space for therapy, will allow Thorncroft to launch new mental-health programs designed to improve the lives of individuals with a wide range of mental or emotional needs. Because of the generosity of Moran and members of her family, the new area and paddock will be named in memory of her son, James Moran, a longtime friend and volunteer at Thorncroft.

The second construction phase will include a library, conference room, meeting room, kitchen and gathering space for staff, volunteers and visitors. The space will enable the center to host larger meetings and seminars to further share the work of therapeutic horseback riding. The campaign will culminate in mid-April with an open-space easement of the 70-acre farm that will offer permanent trails, keeping walkers, riders and horses safe for generations to come. For more information on the center, which is always open for a visit, go to or call 610-644-1963.

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