Celebrating 50 years of the Riding for the Disabled Association
Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) has been chosen as the official charity for the 2019 Magic Millions Festival of British Eventing. Founded in 1969 the RDA has been enriching lives through horses, benefiting over 25,000 disabled children and adults for fifty years. With fun activities like riding and carriage driving, the charity provides therapy, fitness, skills development and opportunities for achievement, all supported by 18,000 amazing volunteers and qualified coaches. There are now nearly 500 RDA centres all over the UK.
“The Festival is the ideal place for the RDA to be. We are in amongst the local equestrian community and it gives us the opportunity to talk about the work that we do. We are able to tell people about the facilities that we have and the events that we are holding, such as Tea with a Pony, which has really benefited some of our members with dementia,” commented Pat, who has been volunteering at the Cotswold RDA for 11 years.
Mary, who also volunteers for the Cotswold RDA, has been supporting the charity for over 20 years. “The RDA opens doors to people who maybe never have had many opportunities before. When you see the smiles of some of the children, it is just so rewarding. We receive reports from the schools that these children attend, saying that their outlooks have completely changed.”
Pat added, “Some of our members whose disabilities you can’t see come and ride and they leave with the biggest smiles!”
If you would like to become an RDA volunteer, you don’t have to be horsey, “Many people would like to help but feel they can’t, because they don’t have an equestrian background. That really doesn’t matter, there are so many jobs to do, such as; admin roles, grounds keepers and assistance on trade stands at events like this. There are many opportunities and we offer great training,” said Pat.
The Cotswold branch of the RDA held their own 50th anniversary celebration recently and HRH The Princess Royal attended the event which showcased a musical ride and an afternoon tea with the horses.
For more information about the RDA please visit https://www.rda.org.uk/ or pop in and visit the volunteers on the stand at The Festival.