Aylesbury and Wendover RDA celebrate their 40th Anniversary

What do we do and where?

A typical Friday afternoon in the life of a small stable yard in a quiet area of Weston Turville. Aylesbury and Wendover Riding for the Disabled run several riding sessions for children aged between 5 and 10 years. These children have various disabilities both physical and emotional.

Around midday a couple of our volunteers arrive to groom and tack the ponies that will be used for our afternoon session; at present we have three ponies which enables us to provide riding lessons for 12 children during the afternoon, throughout the year, during term time.

Then, at 1.30, the rest of the volunteers have arrived, and the Wendover Community minibus arrives with three children from a local special needs school. These children have emotional disorders and ADHD but you would never know it. There is an excited buzz around the yard whilst we get them ready, and once they have been fitted with a hat, they head off to the mounting block to get onto their pony. Off they go with a volunteer leading the pony and two side walkers.

Half an hour later, having done a variety of activities, they return to the yard as the next group of children have already arrived together with their parents or carer. Despite their more physical disabilities; cerebral palsy and autism; these children arrive with huge grins on their faces eager to get on their pony. Two more sets of children arrive during the afternoon with Rett Syndrome, Pompe Disease and various communication needs. The children really look forward to their ride each week and gain enormous pleasure and benefit from the experience of being up on a horse; their confidence improves as well as their balance and muscle tone. There is often noticeable improvement in speech development, and the beaming smiles and laughter during the activity session each week show clearly how much the children enjoy themselves – in addition to the physical benefits. At the end of their ride some of the children are keen to feed carrots to their pony.

All our sessions are run by a group of qualified coaches who determine which pony to use depending on each child’s needs, such as improving core strength and stability. One such ‘horse’ is Liquorice – a mechanical horse used by some children to introduce them to their first ride or who are unable to ride a real pony.

Aylesbury and Wendover RDA is run by nine volunteer Trustees covering Secretary, Treasurer, Coaching and Safeguarding. There are also another fifteen volunteers without whom we could not function.

For further information please contact our secretary, Vanessa Morgan on 07914 905196 or at ness.morgan38@gmail.com.