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Riding For the Disabled Association

Short History

'The 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.'

In 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.

The 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.

They 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.

Half 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.

The 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.

The 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.

The Work of RDA at Holme Lacy Centre