Shillington Riding Club is proud to support Riding for the Disabled (RDA).

RDA is celebrating 40 years of delivering opportunities for therapy, achievement and enjoyment to people with disabilities. Founded as a National organisation in 1969, RDA now has 500 Member Groups across the UK – together, these Groups help 23,000 people to take part in riding, carriage driving and vaulting activities. 

RDA Groups work across the spectrum of disabilities, age range, social status in urban and rural environments. The focus of the work is to ensure that each individual has the chance to derive a direct therapeutic benefit and the opportunity to achieve their personal goal (whether that be learning a very simple skill or winning a major competition).

RDA gives individuals the opportunity to: 

  • Reach therapeutic goals: improve muscle tone and posture, develop fine and gross motor movement 
  • Achieve their personal ambitions: sit on a horse for the first time, learn new skills, win a Paralympic medal 
  • Combat social isolation: build relationships, enjoy events and competition, develop self-confidence 
  • Develop life skills: improve communication, take responsibility, be a team player 
  • Experience the outdoors: ride in the countryside, access rural Britain 
  • Connect with animals: bringing positivity and optimism, adding a new element to life

Currently RDA fails to meet the increasing demand for riding and carriage driving opportunities, with the vast majority of RDA Groups reporting a waiting list. It is the shortfall in volunteer numbers that severely restricts the availability of RDA services, and significantly limits the opportunities to help everyone who would benefit.

One of our local groups is the North Hertfordshire Group, which operates weekly during termtime at Chesfield, Graveley, near Stevenage using ponies kindly loaned to us for the morning.   On Thursday mornings we run four half-hour sessions providing up to 32 children from local special schools with the opportunity to ride and relate to both ponies and helpers, under the supervision of trained instructors.

Helpers both with and without horsey experience are always needed and welcomed into this friendly group.   The rewards are the big grins on the children's faces and the love they display for their ponies.

If you can spare your Thursday mornings to help with this very worthwhile activity please contact Joan at paulpinkstone@hotmail.com or telephone Helen on 01462 711539.