Last year, Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) helped over 25,000 disabled children and adults to enjoy the life-changing benefits of horse riding, carriage driving and hippotherapy. RDA has around 500 volunteer groups all over the UK delivering therapy, achievement and fun through horses.
Many of the disabled children and adults who are lucky enough to have a place at a local RDA group have been referred there by a doctor or physiotherapist. The three-dimensional movement of horses delivers a powerful physiotherapy to relax and strengthen muscles – especially the core muscles used for balance, coordination, posture and walking.
Being part of an RDA group brings other benefits too, offering a chance to make friends, access the countryside, learn a skill, have fun and gain the confidence to try new things.
Since riding with RDA, children like 5-year-old Amy can now do things their parents never thought possible – things like standing and walking unaided. Amy rides at Quest RDA in Surrey, which received a grant thanks to players of People's Postcode Lottery to buy a new pony so that even more kids can take part.
RDA supports disabled people of all ages. At Ravelrig RDA in Scotland, support from players has helped to establish a riding club for injured servicemen and women. The club offers a chance to meet up and have fun, to keep active and to take on a new challenge.
Despite the support of over 19,000 volunteers, many RDA groups have a waiting list, so that some disabled people are waiting years for a place – and many will never have a chance to benefit from that unique partnership between horse and rider.
RDA has received £825,000 from players. This money will be used to open up new opportunities for disabled people to access riding and carriage driving in their local area; so that more children and adults can benefit from the powerful physiotherapy of riding and the life-changing bond between humans and horses.