Volunteers Wanted for Disabled Riding Group – Country Life
A charity that offers horse riding for people with disabilities hopes people will make volunteering their New Year’s resolution.
Catterick and Richmond Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) has a waiting list for its bi-weekly sessions and needs more people to help.
The group’s publicity manager, Jacquie Warner, of Barnard Castle, said people didn’t need experience with horses to help.
She said: “Being a volunteer and working with the runners gives me the opportunity to learn about disability awareness.
“On top of that, I find volunteering to be personally satisfying and fulfilling. Knowing the therapeutic benefits of horse riding for people with disabilities, I see how much our riders win sessions on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
“A girl, when she started, didn’t talk to anyone. Now she rides and competes in dressage.
“They love it – for some of them it’s the highlight of their week.”
The charity celebrated its 50th anniversary last year and organizers hope that with more support they can expand the service to accommodate the six people on its waiting list.
Ms Warner said: ‘There are several boys and girls who are studying for their Duke of Edinburgh awards who are volunteering.
“Often without any knowledge of horses, they undertake various tasks, such as setting up bending poles in the indoor school, and are now learning to steer and side-walk – in effect, a girl studying for her gold medalist walks on sidewalks with one of our runners who needs extra help.
The center uses nine horses with, ideally, two volunteers per horse, which means at least 18 people are needed for the Saturday session which lasts one hour from 1.30pm.
Ms Warner, who also volunteers for Barnard Castle Christmas Lights and the Storehouse Food Bank, added: ‘The Saturday session is for all ages with different disabilities.
“There is a girl – Kelsey is her name – who needs to be lifted up, but she is always happy and always smiling. She’s just awesome.
“You see a real difference and there is a real improvement for them. It’s very therapeutic. »
The sessions take place indoors with games such as a country challenge where riders weave their way to drop letters into mailboxes. Other events see riders negotiating their horse around a series of poles.
When the weather is nice, they sometimes go for a walk in the nearby woods.
Wednesday sessions are dedicated to schoolchildren and take place from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
For more information on how to become a volunteer, contact Ms Warner on 07774 274026.