Riding For the Disabled Association
aim of the R.D.A is to give the opportunity of riding or driving therapy to
anydisabled person who might thereby benefit in general health and well being.'
1989, the Holme Lacy Centre was born out of necessity because over 100 Riders in
Herefordshire lost the opportunity to ride, due to the closure of riding schools
in the area. It became imperative a new purpose built centre was created, to
provide permanent riding opportunities for these Riders and the increasing
demand for riding and driving therapy. This therapy has much support from the
medical and remedial professions as well as educationalists, as they have come
to realise the benefits of riding therapy for disabled children and adults.
Centre was developed at the former Herefordshire College of Agriculture, now
part of the Pershore Group of Colleges. An existing tractor shed was extended to
make an indoor riding school and an American barn was built alongside to house
the stables, amenities and under cover un-loading of ambulances etc. The cost
was £55.000, which was raised by fund-raising, and local support from business
and personal donations. The Centre was officially opened by H.R.H. The Princess
Royal in June 1992.
currently have over 250 Riders and Drivers at the Centre, with many more on
their waiting list. They provide work placements for Disabled people, Duke of
Edinburgh Awards, Community Service and Community Action.
of their Riders are children, some as young as 18 months. The youngest Riders
come through the Child Development Centre in Hereford, to receive Hippotherapy
(physiotherapy on horse back), with a specially trained Physiotherapist. The
pony's walk is the nearest thing to the humans. This movement encourages the
children to learn to balance their trunk whilst sitting on the pony, and do lots
of exercises creating muscle tone, balance and confidence. Their parents bring
them to the Centre where they have a chance to meet others with similar problems
and talk to the Physiotherapist, who helps with integration and rehabilitation.
These children may go on to schools where they will be able to continue their
riding therapy into adulthood.
Centre operates five and a half days per week with twelve horses/ponies. The
Riders and Drivers can also learn to look after their ponies and tack, and have
the chance to take proficiency tests. Some of their Riders and Drivers enter
Dressage and Driving competitions at Regional and National level, others take
part in Musical Rides and fun competitions. Their Riders and Drivers also have
the opportunity to go on RDA Holidays.
Centre has qualified British Horse Society and RDA Riding and Driving
Instructors. They have a fully qualified Physiotherapist who goes to the Centre
three days a week. The Centre is administered by Trustees with the aid of an
Executive Committee. But. the Centre cannot survive without its grateful support
from the dedicated volunteers who arrive each week come rain or shine, to help
with the Riding or Driving.
The Centre is a member of the Riding for the Disabled Association, but is independently run with its own charity number and financed by its own local efforts.