Riding a pony or horse is a wonderful experience that provides freedom of movement with the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors from a completely different perspective.
Imagine the fun!
For some conditions horse riding is excellent therapy and is favoured by Physios’ as a way of strengthening core stability and improving balance.
There are over 500 Riding for the Disabled (RDA) groups in the UK that help disabled children and adults take part and enjoy the thrill of horse riding.
Whatever their disability!
Each group operates independently and has different equipment and facilities.
Some will own their own horses, land or indoor arenas while others depend on the goodwill of local riding stables.
All groups will have a ramp or platform to help disabled riders mount safely and some may have hoists for lifting on and off the horses.
Carriage riding may also be offered for those unable to sit on a horse.
The carriages have drop down ramps at the rear to give wheelchair users to access to the carriage.
Volunteers provide vital support as an individual may need up to three helpers – one to lead the horse and one each side to help with balance.
All this comes at a price!
The RDA centres are all funded in different ways – some are self funding while others apply for lottery funding and community grants from charities.
Fundraising also plays a vital role to help pay for essential equipment such as riding helmets and to keep the session costs low.
Disabled adults and children may be able to pay for their horse riding sessions from their personal budget (Direct Payments) or from short breaks schemes operated by their local social services.
Charities who provide horse riding as part of their holiday activities:
Para Equestrian Dressage - Bursaries from British Dressage
Charities who have previously funded RDA Groups:
Axis Foundation – Riding therapy programme at the Vauxhall City Farm
BBC Children in Need – grant to improve facilities for the Muirfield Riding
for the Disabled
Essex Community Foundation (Chiron Trust) -Funding towards new stables at Barrow Farm
Marlborough Downs Nature Improvement Area (MDNIA) - repair work on tracks forcarriage drivers - Kennet Valley Carriage Driving Group
Phoenix Children's Foundation- supports RDA groups and individuals for riding lessons, hippotherapy and specialist equipment
Quartet Community Foundation (South West only) - purchase of a ramp and platform to help disabled riders safely mount horses (Drummer Branch)
Round Table - Local Round Table groups support a large number of community groups and events. For example the Heswall Round Table funded riding helmets for the Barnston RDA
Star-Trust (East Midlands only) -provided funding for the Wenlo RDA in Leicestershire
The Wisley Foundation (Surrey only) - funding a pony for Hippotherapy