Cotswold Riding for the Disabled is so much more than just a riding school.
It is a supportive community of our riders, their families, carers, schools, colleges, trustees, volunteers, staff and, of course, the ponies.
All of our riders have a disability whether physical, mental or a learning difficulty, and we are here to help them achieve the very best they can whatever the disability or the age. We know our work has a huge impact on our riders’ physical ability and horsemanship but we also see bene?ts in other areas of their lives such as their ability to communicate, to build relationships and engage with education.
As well as the difference we make to our riders, our impact research shows other important outcomes from our work. Volunteering with us brings positive benefits like physical exercise, transferable workplace skills and a sense of achievement and fulfillment.
Life for the parents of a disabled child can be stressful and difficult. Our riders’ parents tell us that whilst their children are riding they enjoy rare moments of relaxation when they can talk with other parents, share experiences and challenges with many forging supportive new friendships.
Situated at Cheltenham Racecourse, our school has indoor and outdoor arenas, an outdoor pony and wheelchair friendly sensory walk and new stable block. Our work is accessible to disabled people of all ages.
We offer traditional group riding lessons with qualified instructors supported by up to three volunteers per rider. More intensive 1:1 lessons are offered to riders who would benefit from extra support.
Riding provides a particular form of physiotherapy that is extremely beneficial to disabled people with the potential to dramatically enhance daily life. The key therapeutic factor is the horse’s movement providing physiotherapy on the move. The warmth and three-dimensional movement of the horse is transmitted through the rider’s body, gradually making it more relaxed and supple, strengthening core stability, reducing spasms and improving balance, posture and co-ordination.
Riding can address physical issues such as:
- increase core strength
- the need for healthy levels of exercise;
- muscle sti?ness or spasms;
- pain and concentration difficulties.
Spending time with any animal is special and for those with disabilities the benefits are life enhancing and in many cases, life changing.
We now offer “Tea with a Pony” sessions for people living with dementia and other disabilities. Tea and a slice of cake while watching a group riding lesson followed by meeting our ponies and a tour through our stables and sensory walk. These sessions are open to small groups or families to book.
One of our riders described Cotswold RDA as
“A haven, where staff and volunteers see beyond the disability and see the person within.”
To find out more about Cotswold RDA please visit our website www.cotswoldrda.org.uk or follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.