May News 2018 May 2018
The end of May brings blooming flowers and sunshine into our lives, but nothing can match the glow of gratitude remaining from the season that has just finished. Our amazing students completed the last part of their classes: stable management has always been a hard work. We are so proud of them! They keep reminding us in a big way why there’s Al Marmoom Initiative and the miracles that happen here. We’d like to especially thank all those marvellous volunteers who have served tirelessly. Extra special thanks to our wonderful grooms and greenhouse staff. Our centre’s success would not have been possible without them.
From June to September 2018 our facility will remain quiet, till October 2018 when happy faces and voices will join us again. The staff is already beginning to plan for our new season of 2018-2019. Since 1st October 2017, it’s been:
- 8 months of working with the most amazing, hard-working staff members
- 8 months of meeting and working with so many dedicated volunteers, including our arena, stable and greenhouse teams
- 8 months of the best horse hugs
- 8 months of watching miracles happen before our eyes
- 8 months filled with overcoming organizational challenges
- 8 months of comings and goings
- 8 months of happy tears and a few sad ones too
- 8 months of creating successes with all of you
- 8 months of celebrating blessings
We’re looking forward to what the next year holds in store…
Have a great summer everyone!
April News 2018 April 2018
April has ended and with it our riding lessons. Unmounted activities will be taking place at our facility all through next month which will be the last month for this season.
Right after our spring break, Al Marmoom students enjoyed the Egg Hunt in the Desert Challenge, Stables and Greenhouse. What a great way to work on riding skills, as well as address cognitive and physical issues. Temperatures allowed for two more weeks of mounted activities and hacking out in the desert.
Al Marmoom Initiative was on air this month! Dubai Eye 103.8 fm radio station hosted two representatives of our center to talk about our activities and opportunities for people with special needs offered by Al Marmoom Initiative. We were so proud the audience was informed about what we do and what our students have accomplished so far. Al Marmoom spreads the word of determination, abilities, dreams coming true and happiness!
As always, we cannot thank enough our volunteers who make this center and its students shine every day. You rock guys!
Till next month….see you all at the stables!!!
March News 2018 March 2018
Time goes by fast and spring is already here to remind us that temperatures in the desert will be rising soon.
We have had an exciting month with people coming to and going from our stables!
To start with, two of the best high-quality, 5-star hotels of Dubai sent us a few groups of volunteers to help with our facility. Sheraton MOE and Ibis Style Jumeirah employees did their best to clean up and set our yard and Greenhouse in a way our students and horses would love! It is important to have a tidy and well-maintained, beautiful outer area for both students and horses, as the first benefit from the environment they work in and the second, benefit from the fresh grass and build up their mental health as well.
Al Marmoom Initiative takes into serious consideration the efforts of our volunteers and as a reward for all they do to help our center develop, some of our wonderful volunteers had the chance to learn and practice their horsemanship skills, as well as to ride a horse! The Volunteer Payback scheme was divided into groups, in which volunteers were distributed according to their skills. We hope you had some great fun guys. We cannot thank you enough!
Our students excelled at their classes and had a break for two weeks, before they come back for new adventures. We also had a few touching moments as we said ‘’goodbye’’ to two of our students. Sara Alam and Keira Thorson left the United Arab Emirates each with their family and moved to the United States of America. We wish them all the best in their new endeavours. Happy, safe rides girls!
March is also the month of World Down Syndrome Day. A special day dedicated to the Happiness Chromosome took place at Creek Park Dubai and was held by the Dubai municipality. We, as a team, couldn’t have missed that! Al Marmoom Initiative staff, volunteers and students participated as well, in an effort to raise awareness for the Syndrome.
Last but not least, the Flea Market! Our tireless volunteers along with some of our amazing students helped us give away all the stuff we don’t use anymore in the stable and that would be more useful to others. Besides, we, at Al Marmoom Initiative, love to share and care!
We wish Happy Easter for those of you who celebrate it and….see you at the stables!
February News 2018 February 2018
We hope you’ve had a great February!
This month we were happy to welcome the SWERVE company to our stables and thank in person all the people who contributed to our annual event back in January. We still watch the video they made for Al Marmoom Initiative and we get emotional! Thank you SWERVE!
More and more new volunteers join our team every month and offer their selfless support to our students. We are proud to announce that we’ve reached the number of approximately 450 volunteers since the first day of our operation and we couldn’t be more grateful for that! God bless you all!
Al Marmoom riders have just completed an 8-week block of lessons, learning the western riding skills and they are on their way to the next one before our spring break.
Till next month…take care and see you at the stables!
January News 2018 January 2018
Happy New Year!!!
The start of each new year brings all of us an opportunity to feel fresh with renewed spirits, energy and enthusiasm. Our commitment to continue the life changing therapies for our students will remain strong into 2018.
To start with, first big event of the year was the 3rd annual Festival of Fun. On January 12th we welcomed to Al Marmoom Initiative an enthusiastic group of students with their lovely families and friends. Some of our students showed their abilities in riding a quite challenging western trail course. Face painting, puppet show, drum show, cooking classes in the greenhouse, piano and singing, dancing and yoga teaching kept our guests busy. A dedicated team of volunteers had been preparing this event for 3 months! Big thank you to all of you who contributed to this big success! You may enjoy the photo gallery below!
We also take this opportunity to thank all the students and teachers from the Indian High School of Dubai who came on January 17th to visit us and give a hand at the stables and greenhouse. Around 11 boys, 14 years old, joined us along with their teachers and made the stable shinning like never before! They helped at the facility maintenance, the Desert challenge and the greenhouse. They enjoyed asking questions about horses and plants and promised they will be back soon! Thank you!
Al Marmoom riders have been back to the saddle for a new block of lessons since January 7th . Staff, horses and volunteers look forward eagerly to working together with all of you in 2018 to continue strengthen and improve our activities and our center. See you at the stables!!!
December News 2017 December 2017
As 2017 comes to an end, we all think back through this year and count our achievements, our pending goals and set our future plans. Al Marmoom team would like to share the last news for 2017 with you.
December has had lots of fun as we hosted a high-spirited party on the 8th of the month to express our gratitude to the volunteers who help this center work smoothly and benefit the lives of our students. The Volunteer Appreciation day included food, music, dance, funny games and pony rides for our guests. We would like to thank everyone who supported us on that day by offering special gifts and vouchers for our volunteers to enjoy exceptional culinary experiences and wellbeing treatments! Another entertainment day that was held in the city on December 15th took place at the beautiful Zabeel park. The annual Family Fun day, under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, was dedicated to people with special needs in the UAE and we couldn’t miss that! Al Marmoom Team with our staff, horses and volunteers took part in the event, whilst some of our students with their families had the opportunity to spend a day full of joy, ride horses, dance, play and enjoy themselves with the various activities available.
Back to the stables, Al Marmoom riders were able to complete another 4-week schedule, gaining more experience and, thus, feeling stronger to go for bigger challenges. Moreover, we were more than happy to welcome a group of students from Sharjah Social Empowerment Foundation later this month. A lovely bunch of smiley faces, who worked like small bees in the greenhouse, helped at the stable and had the pleasure to ride our amazing horses.
We are grateful for the work already accomplished this year and know more things are to come. The classes are on a break from December 24th till January 6th when we will be back refreshed for the new year. We are excited about the future! Before saying goodbye to 2017, we have already started the preparations for our next big event. The 3rd annual Al Marmoom Festival of Fun which, amongst other, will include the horse competitions where our students will show their abilities. Don’t miss the date January 12th , 2018!
We wish you and your family a wonderful holiday and a happy, healthy and blessed New Year!
November News 2017 November 2017
As November comes to its end and winter is just around the corner, we would like to share some of our monthly news with you.
We are excited to have all our students finishing the first block of lessons after 8 weeks of hard work. We are so proud of them! We also take this opportunity to thank all the amazing volunteers who offer selflessly their precious help every week. Moreover, we are glad for the assistance we had this month from Estee Lauder staff, who also came to volunteer with us.
During this month we ‘ve had a new entry to our therapy horses herd. Pablo is officially one of our therapy horses, as he did very well during his training period and now he can assist our students achieve their goals and more individuals can benefit from him. Welcome sweet Pablito!!
We also would like to thank little Barney for his time at Al Marmoom. Barney is going back to his owners this month and we hope he will have a quiet and happy life. Barney has served as one of the four-legged therapists at Al Marmoom since 2016. Many participants, volunteers and friends of Al Marmoom family benefited from his spirit. He will not be forgotten for the impact he made on the lives of the individuals he worked with. Thank you, Barney, you’ve been an amazing little colleague!
Finally, we couldn’t forget to mention the upcoming events. The Volunteer Appreciation Day on December 8th and The Family Fan Day on December 15th will be lots of fun. There is a dedicated group of volunteers leading this effort and we cannot wait! In the meantime, see you at the stables!
May, June, July, August, September, October 2017 October 2017
To celebrate the launch of the 2017 season, we would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone that has helped in the progress and development of our unique center. Since its inception 3 years ago, our project has grown to be the biggest in Dubai, giving opportunity for people with physical and mental disabilities that may have never dreamed of handling a horse. The bond created between the participants and our horses is comforting, relaxing, joyful and therapeutic. Moreover, of the same importance are the benefits that parents and caregivers gain by watching their children’s achievements.
Special thanks should be paid to Annie Haresign, manager of Al Marmoom, for her big efforts and hard work she put to help our center grow. Annie said goodbye to us during the summer of 2017. We all wish her the best in her new endeavors. She will be missed. Thank you Annie!
As we say goodbye to Annie, we are pleased to welcome our new instructor Athanasia Prentza from Greece, who has recently joined the team and will be leading the Hippotherapy section of our center. We wish her a pleasant stay in our city and a great new beginning. Welcome on board Athanasia!
For the season 2017-2018, we have already scheduled new and exciting projects. To start with, our center participated on the 15th September at the Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition, in cooperation with Dhabian Equestrian Centre. A great experience for students, horses and team that gave us all the confidence of being ready for new challenges!
April News 2017 April 2017
April was another extraordinary month for the students of the Al Marmoom Initiative with plenty of growing and harvesting in the Greenhouses to Pony Club action with the horses.
With the temperature quickly increasing here in the Desert, riding students focused on completing their Mini road-rider course, mastering the ‘Desert Challenge’ and for some of our advanced students – complete and pass their UK Pony Club E Standard certificate. By the end of the month, riding had to stop due to the heat and lessons continued in the barn and ‘stable management’ sessions became the next challenge for our Equestrians. First the students had to learn how to groom their horse-friends and learn which brushes they should use to make the ponies clean and shine.
In the Greenhouse, there’s always plenty of changes with plants growing tall and strong with the students helping our gardeners keep the greenhouse well watered and clean. Our tomato harvest is proving to be a bumper crop with delicious tasting red fruit. Students love to help pick the crops, weigh the produce and pack them ready to go to kitchens all over Dubai
March News 2017 March 2017
Another month… and the action just gets more exciting for the students of the Al Marmoom Initiative. March saw yet more ‘firsts’ as the students competed against able-bodied competitors at the ‘Horse & Hound’ show at Al Habtoor’s Polo and Equestrian club. This was the first of its kind here in the UAE organized by Centre Manager, Annie. A Western Trail course that would challenge the most competent of riders together with a dressage ‘Walk Test’, competitors of all ages certainly enjoyed taking part and of course the Al Marmoom Performance team were in the ribbons.
Students have been busy as ever working on their ‘Mini road rider’ Pony club badge. The riders have been learning road signs and hand signals and putting these new skills into practice on the Centre’s outdoor ‘Desert Challenge’. For many of these riders, recognizing symbols and then coordinating the appropriate response is a huge task. The coaching staff and volunteers couldn’t be more proud of their efforts.
February News 2017 February 2017
Four lovely students from Kings’ school’s new Autism class join us every Thursday morning from February 23rd onwards. The Al Barsha based children are very much looking forward to learning skills in the Greenhouse and with our horses.
Students from SNF school working our homemade ‘T-junction’. Our students need to pass the Mini road rider badge before attempting the UK Pony Club ‘E Standard’ test. Fingers crossed everyone!
The Emirates Stud and Retirement home, Hatta, for all their support and gifts this month. It’s thanks to their amazing team that we now have a new ‘pony’, a wooden training horse that will help those working on their position and mounting / dismounting skills – a competition will be held to name him or her very soon! Don’t worry we will adding horse features a.s.a.p.
And thank you to the amazing team from the ‘Sheraton Hotel’ who visited us again to lend a hand to maintain our Centre – fantastic team
Emma, co-founder of the charity ‘Horseback UK’ had a successful visit to Al Marmoom. Emma was helping us prepare our very own ‘horsemanship / horse communication’ courses for those with emotional disabilities. Watch out, Annie will be looking for ‘volunteers’ to test out her new program!
January News 2017 January 2017
The month of January certainly ‘kick started’ a brand new exciting year for the Al Marmoom Initiative. The team at Al Habtoor Polo and Equestrian club organised an event where we were able to take part in a number of classes with our students.
Eight of our riders negotiated their way round a Western Trail course and then completed a Dressage test. This is most likely the first event of its kind in the UAE where able and disabled-bodied riders can compete shoulder to shoulder at an event. Thank you Al Habtoor and well done to our riders.
The Al Marmoom Initiative is now an approved British Horse Society Riding Centre – months of hard work has paid off and we now are very proud to be part of this forward-thinking organisation.
Our volunteers have been very active as ever – from Dewald completing another ‘Ironman’ to the team from Jumeirah Al Qasr hotel, Dubai flexed their muscles by helping us resurface our round pen areas. Thanks and well done to our amazing volunteers, you are all amazing.
January also saw Al Marmoom’s newest supporter, Emma Hutchison, visit the Centre. Emma is co-founder of the UK charity ‘Horseback UK’ and is here to give staff training and assess horses for our next project. Emma certainly enjoyed exchanging the winter weather of the North of Scotland for our Dubai sun!
More horsey news – Lennie the Clydesdale and Pablo the Quarter horse have graduated to becoming lesson horses. Our students love these gentle giants and already there’s a long list of riders keen to try them out. And our little friend, Barney, has mastered his new role as a driving pony. Go Barney, go!
And in the Greenhouses there’s been more progress too. We now have three Movenpic Hotels from down town Dubai keen to use Al Marmoom’s delicious vegetables and herbs. Our tomatoes are seemingly some of the tastiest around! New organic seeds have also been recently delivered and our students are busy planting up seed trays with the next batch of exciting varieties. Watch out for our new cucumbers – they’re very unusual.
December 2016 News December 2016
The past few weeks at the Al Marmoom Initiative has been action-packed as ever. All students have completed their second block of training and have completed their Gardening and Basic Riding assessments too. To celebrate their achievements, ‘The Festival of Fun 2016’ was held at the Centre. More than 160 attended and all 40 riders, drivers and handlers demonstrated their skills to family and friends.
Judging the basic riding skills test was Para-dressage rider, Belinda Gaitland, who was impressed at the riders’ position and balance: “It’s amazing to see the progress that these young people have managed over just a few short weeks. There are certainly some superstars in the making here”.
The Desert Challenge was officially opened this month too. The course, built just outside the Centre, is designed to test the riders’ basic riding, coordination and obstacle negotiation skills. Many of the ‘challenges’ are based on Western Trail obstacles that encourage the horse to look where he’s putting his hooves and test the rider’s control of the horse.
The Al Marmoom Initiative is part of UK’s ‘The Pony Club’. Ten volunteers and coaches from the Centre attended the latest Continuous Professional Development (CPD) day at Al Habtoor’s amazing Equestrian development and learned from one of the UK’s leading Pony Club Instructors. Al Marmoom’s team can’t wait to start their students on the Pony Club programme in the coming months.
Nowember 2016 News November 2016
November was a fast and furious month for the students, staff and volunteers of the Al Marmoom Initiative. Block 2 started with ‘Basic Riding’ as the weather is now cool enough to saddle up for more weekly challenges. Students have been learning the basics while perfecting their balance on horseback. November has also been a creative month for the students who have been working with Simone and creating beautiful art using horseshoes.
The ‘Farm Shop’ is up and running and will welcome customers to purchase some of the delicious vegetables on sale. Students will be adding their art work to the walls to show how they’ve been enjoying their gardening sessions.
The Centre has always been a hive of activity but this month even more visitors have made their way to a very special part of the desert. Dubai’s Medical College for Women and GEMS World Academy all sent groups of willing volunteer students to help the staff make the sessions even more fun. And the Arabian Ranches Ladies group also spared some time to check out the numerous activities. All those who visit Al Marmoom are amazed at the wide range of disciplines and events that are conducted on site.
October 2016 News October 2016
October 2016 brought even more developments for the Al Marmoom Initiative.
Block one’s ‘Showmanship’ course, lasting six weeks, came to an end and produced plenty of happy graduates with their rosettes and achievement sheets.
Greenhouse activities were also in full bloom with plenty of flowerpots on sale and a large range of vegetables too. A bumper crop of cucumbers, radish and rocket has been prepared and packed by our students. Our customers have all said they’ve been the best they’ve ever tasted!
More new students have signed up to enjoy the Al Marmoom experience. Dubai Club for the Disabled had an official ceremony where the students and staff enjoyed a Saturday morning getting to know the horses and site.
Rashid School have also started their equine therapy programme using our Al Marmoom equines who’ve been paying the school a ‘home visit’. Folla and Ajeeb were more than happy to take a drive into Dubai and work in the School’s beautiful gardens.
September News September 2016
The new outdoor riding season has begun! With 5 schools attending in the weekdays and many individuals at the weekends we already have more than 80 students a week benefiting from our Riding and Greenhouse sessions. We have also completed 4 volunteer training sessions, training around 50 volunteers and an assistant coach session. We were very excited as we saw our first produce from our greenhouses ! This was all from the hard work of the special needs students and volunteers.
August News August 2016
The greenhouse lessons were in full swing in Aug. Students now are learning how to plant and care for different types of crops in our temperature controlled greenhouses they love getting involved with nature and seeing their hard work grow. Stable management lessons continued indoor whilst the weather was still hot and the preparation for the next riding season was well underway. This season will be bigger and better than the last !
July News July 2016
Even during the heat of the summer Al Marmoom didn’t slow down. The Al Marmoom Greenhouses are in the final stages of preparation and we hope to have them launched and operational by Sep. The is a very exciting new project for us and will help provide vocational positions and income for a sustainable business in farming. Our volunteers continued to help out with DIY, maintenance, cleaning and horse exercising, we love our volunteers.
June News June 2016
Our Stable Management classes continued and so did the commitment of our fabulous volunteers . We had one of our quarterly clean up days where a army of hardworking ladies and gents scrubbed, brushed, polished and washed the stables . Thank you all we could not do it without you.
Volunteer coffee morning May 2016
It was a great to catch up with so many of our amazing volunteers at our coffee morning. We got some great feedback and ideas and then tried to get ourselves out of a human knot and challenged some to a game of ‘What am I’. A huge thank you to Sheraton Dubai, Mall of the Emirates Hotel who sponsored our meeting and are so actively involved in giving back to the community. THANK YOU SHERATON
May Students May 2016
A few tough students continued their outdoor riding lessons despite the heat. We also started our full time indoor stable management program which teaches the students practical tasks to care for horses and ponies. We held our volunteer coffee morning and had the Marriott team volunteered with us for a day to help the with the Senses School visit.
April Students April 2016
With more than 45 students riding weekly we started to wind down our outdoor riding due to the hot weather. AL Marmoom will be running indoor stable management classes throughout the summer where students learn how to care for our lovely horses. We had a new member of the Team join us Emir who will be looking after all the admin and volunteer coordination.
March Students March 2016
As our student numbers rose so did the fun! We now have a total of 40 students riding and taking part in stable management classes weekly. Some of our volunteers took part in first aid courses and we had a bit of rain which meant there was more swimming than riding for a week!
Feb Students February 2016
Marmoom now has more than 30 students benefiting from equine therapy every week. This is an amazing achievement in our first season and its thanks to our fantastic staff and volunteers that this has been possible. We continue to see amazing results from the riding and stable management sessions and are always developing new activities and tasks to push our students development.
Al Marmoom first annual BBQ January 2016
On Jan 15th we held the first annual BBQ and celebrated our amazing first few months since opening. Thank you to all who attended and helped with the event. 100 students and volunteers ate, played games and enjoyed balloon bending and face painting . With 300 riding hours and more than 500 hours volunteered we are overjoyed with the venues progress and look forward to a even bigger future helping special needs individuals . If you want to be part of our team please email email@example.com
Autism Awareness talk with Sarah Baker January 2016
On the 29th of January Ms Sarah Baker of the Dubai Autism center gave a talk to our volunteers and outside visitors. She spoke in detail about the challenges faced by Autistic individuals and the best way to approach those who have this diagnosis. She also gave more information about the wide spectrum of Autism and the degrees of the syndrome.
King Hamad Al Khalifa and Sheikh Nasser Al KHalifa visit January 2016
On Jan 6th we were honored to receive HM King Hamad Al Khalifa and HH Sheikh Nasser Al Khalifa to Al Marmoom Equine Therapy. Both His Majesty and His Highness are supporters of our venue and are committed to developing special needs individuals throughout the region. King Hamad and Sheikh Nasser met some of our students, volunteers and horses at the venue. They were shown a lesson by one of our most experienced pupils Hamooudi who has been riding for many years. Al at Marmoom enjoyed the Royal visit a great deal and look forward to welcoming both King Hamad and Sheikh Nasser again soon.
Rashid Pediatric School visit December 2015
The children and adults from Rashid school joined us for a BBQ and karaoke morning in December. The students enjoyed a fun filled time with dancing, singing and spending time with our lovely horses. Al Marmoom works very closely with schools and residential centers like Rashid to provide recreational therapy to those with special needs.
November Students December 2015
As the weather got even cooler more amazing students have been riding and taking part in our stable management classes in the month of November. Students of all ages from all over Dubai have been enjoying the benefits of the interaction with our wonderful horses. Take a look at some of these students here..
Greenhouse planting November 2015
Here at Al Marmoom we are committed to the all round development of individuals with special needs, part of this is our brand new greenhouse project. Through this project we aim to teach special needs adults how to plant, look after and harvest, vegetables, plants, flowers and fruit. Hamooudi and his class from the Al Rashid Centre in Dubai planted the first seeds. Watch this space on our newest project!
October Students October 2015
Its been a busy October here at Al Marmoom, the weather is now perfect and we have been visited by children and adults of all ages and nationalities. A huge thank you to all our hard working committed volunteers making this possible. Check out our gallery to see some of the fantastic classes our students are taking part in.
Volunteer Training with RDA UK October 2015
More than 35 volunteers attended Al Marmoom’s training sessions on the 9th and 10th of October. The classes were conducted by RDA UK coach Jane Barker who had flown in from the UK to assist us in preparing our volunteers. The sessions covered all aspects of a riding lesson with a special needs individual including, preparing the horse, mounting and dismounting procedures, leading, side walking and safety procedures. Al Marmoom now looks forward to the newly trained volunteers starting their lessons with our students. If you are interested in volunteering please fill out the form on the contact us page.
Senses Residential Centre Visit September 2015
Pupils from Senses Residential Centre for individuals with special needs enjoyed a fun filled morning with us. Ten pupils from age 6 to 35 learnt how to fill hay nets ready for horse feeding, spent time grooming the horses and then had a chance to feed them with their favorite snack, carrots. Many of the pupils had never been in contact with a horse and were extremely happy to be able to make friends with our wonderful horses. We are now preparing for these students to start their riding classes and stable management lessons in the next few days. Thank you to the volunteers who assisted in this event, it was the perfect start to our long term commitment to Senses Residential Centre.
Volunteer Open Day September 2015
More than 40 committed volunteers attended our first volunteer open day held on 5th Sep 2015. These volunteers were given a tour and detailed information on the venue they will be helping run. The attendees met all the horses, were shown an example of a lesson and how they would be involved in the day to day running. The volunteers at Al Marmoom are integral to our operation and the development of the pupils. By maintaining consistency we ensure the comfort of the pupils helping them to develop to their maximum potential.
RDA Visit July 2015
RDA consultant Jane Barker flew in from the UK for one of her regular trips to Al Marmoom , as we follow the UK RDA syllabus and guidelines we regularly take advice and host members from the UK. These experts assist and advise on best practices and the newest techniques available. This constant ongoing training ensures we are giving the best possible therapy to our students.