Our visit to Riding for the Disabled Association (or RDA)

Read more about our visit to Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA)

This week we had an enjoyable visit to Epsom Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA). The Riding for the Disabled Association (or RDA) is a major UK charity with several affiliated branches run and managed by local teams as their own charitable organisation.

The Epsom branch is run solely by volunteers, many of whom have been with the charity for a number of years. The charity focuses on the therapeutic and health benefits of bringing people and horses together. Regular riding improves core strength, balance, and coordination. Attending a regular session can also help to combat isolation and loneliness and boost wellbeing. Epsom is certainly a popular centre holding sessions 7 days a week with over 300 registered riders and a long waiting list!

Jane visiting a horse in a stable

We met up at 11am with everyone wrapped up warmly to combat the chilly day and we were shown round to the stables by our guide for the day, Angela, who is one of the trustees and volunteers at the centre. A session had just started and so we went over to the outdoor arena to watch. Epsom has an indoor and outdoor school so that riding can continue if the weather is particularly bad. They are also appealing for funding so that they can extend the facilities, put on more sessions and reduce that waiting list!

There were two riders in the outdoor arena with the remainder in the indoor arena. Those that are able will ride independently but, if necessary, there are volunteers to lead the horses as well as “side walkers” to help with balance. A session leader gives advice and directions – the leaders often work with occupational therapists to assist rehabilitation. Riders at Epsom have a wide variety of learning, sensory and physical disabilities and all benefit from that special connection with a horse.

A group of staff and members at the Riding for Disabled Association in Epsom

We met most of the horses, patting necks and scratching behind ears and hearing about their history. The horses are out in the fields grazing overnight unless the weather is bad so, of course, they were very hairy and muddy! Running the stables takes a large team of volunteers. The horses need to be fed, groomed and tacked up for the lessons, the stables, yard and tack need to be kept clean. There is even an equine chiropractor to keep the horses back healthy!

We all remarked on the lovely calm, relaxed and happy atmosphere in the stables. If you would like more information about getting involved with the RDA please contact Katy to find out more:

Email: Katy.hubbard@surreycoalition.org.uk Phone/SMS: 07434 865062

To learn more about our Get More Active Project Physical Activity – Surrey Coalition of Disabled People

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I've not been out for ages; it was really lovely to get out.
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