The South Dartmoor Group of the Riding for the Disabled was
started in 1978. The Group now rides at Bickleigh Riding School,
Bickleigh Barracks on the outskirts of Plymouth.
At present, the Group has twenty-four riders.
Rides are on a Tuesday evening between 6.15pm-7pm and
7.15pm -8pm from April to September and usually take
place in the schooling ring. Riders are given the opportunity
to ride at the walk and trot during the ride and a short period
is normally given over for exercises, which improve confidence
and muscle tone. Games involving the use of colours, shapes, words,
numbers and pony equipment keep the sessions interesting for both
the riders and helpers. We aim to have fun in a safe, learning
As you might imagine, some riders require quite a bit of help.
In fact, riders may need up to three helpers, one to lead the
pony / horse and a walker each side to ensure that the rider is
quite safe. Having enough helpers is always a main area of concern
and follows closely after that of having to raise sufficient funds
to provide the ponies in the first place.
In July 1994, the Group was honoured by a visit from the President
of the RDA National, H R H The Princess Royal, at our former home
in Yelverton. This was a tremendous event for the Group, especially
as the Princess stopped and spoke with every member and helper
of the Group as well as a few of our main supporters.
Riding gives riders with disabilities a real chance to feel
independent and confident. One of our riders, when asked why she
enjoyed riding so much replied, “When I am riding, no one
knows I am handicapped”.
Most of our riders come from the special schools and day services
in Plymouth and surrounding areas.