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About the South Dartmoor Riding for the Disabled Association

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 environment.

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.

 

Copyright 2006 by South Dartmoor RDA Registered Charity No: 1073697