The core activities of Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) are horse riding, carriage driving, and equestrian vaulting. The charity's activities are delivered to provide the maximum therapeutic impact, and are made inclusive to 25,000 disabled adults and children.
The charity improves physical abilities, communication skills, confidence and relationship building - all while having fun! These positive outcomes, gained from as little as 30 minutes of horse riding each week, have a lasting impact for participants at home, in the classroom, at work and in daily life.
RDA creates an enjoyable and positive environment for learning, and many children come to RDA as part of their school day. In partnership with teachers and other support staff, including speech, language and occupational therapists, an individual's developmental goals can be incorporated into the fun and skill of riding a horse.
Combining creativity and specific disability knowledge, RDA's qualified coaches plan lessons designed to help riders tackle educational milestones. Games and activities encourage movement, speech or signing, listening, memory, concentration, balance, and coordination. Fundamental learning such as colours, counting and spelling can be weaved into lessons.
Schools whose pupils attend their local RDA group notice benefits back in the classroom, including greater focus, self-confidence, self-esteem, and enhanced social skills.
Dr Liz Sidwell, former Schools Commissioner for England, said, "There's no doubt that the RDA education programme supports and enhances the work of schools and opens up opportunities for youngsters. Collaboration between RDA and schools can only be good for all concerned."
RDA puts a culture of recognising and rewarding achievements at the heart of everything it does.
RDA's Proficiency Tests, Endeavour Awards, ASDAN programmes and Arts & Crafts and Writing competitions recognise the achievements of riders of all abilities, and in ways that suit their style and pace of learning.
Dani has a son James, who attends Kesteven RDA. She said, "With the Endeavour Award, James' school can see what he's achieving when he goes riding. It's important for them to know he's not just on a jolly!
"The first award he got was for counting from 1-10 and down again. We made sure it was written on the certificate when he received it so we could show his teachers. They had a special presentation in their celebration assembly at school."
To date, players have raised over £1.4 Million to support RDA's projects and transform lives using the power of horses.