NEWS | Community grant enables riding therapy ponies to get back in the saddle

Herefordshire Riding for the Disabled Centre, based at Holme Lacy College, has held its first riding therapy sessions this week post COVID lockdown.    It is thanks to help from a grant from Herefordshire Community Foundation that the charity has survived lockdown and has been able to restart limited activities.

9 people have benefitted from the restart of activities in the first two days but the riding experience is a little different under social distancing conditions.   Riding is in solo sessions not groups and all equipment has to be sanitised between riders.

“We are so grateful to Herefordshire Community Foundation for awarding us a grant to start up again.   During the lockdown, we had to furlough all staff but a team of our amazing volunteers stepped in to look after our 10 horses and ponies who needed checking twice a day.” said Sarah Wells, Trustee of Herefordshire RDA, “We have costs of over £5,000 a month to keep the Centre running so COVID lockdown has been very tough on the finances with no income coming in. Everyone is finding it a little different now we have re-openedbut it is definitely worth it for the smiles on the faces of those who have come back.”

Herefordshire RDA usually help over 80 adults and children with additional needs each week from across Herefordshire with riding therapy sessions including hosting Black Marston, Barrs Court and Bishops Schools.   “Riding therapy is great for improving not only core strength and fitness but also improving confidence and communication” says Sarah, “Parents and carers of our riders are always telling us of the improvements they see after coming to RDA”.

Anyone who is interested in taking part in riding sessions or helping out as a volunteer can find out more information on the Herefordshire RDA Facebook page or website.