Brilliant Idea Winners

(October 10, 2013)

awardKesteven Rideability won the “Brilliant Idea” Award at the RDA Gala Awards dinner which celebrated the outstanding achievements of RDA participants, volunteers and supporters. 

This exciting event took place on Wednesday 2 October 2013 at the prestigious Plaisterers’ Hall in London and was hosted by Clare Balding OBE.  RDA President’s Club Member, event organiser and former international show-jumper, Dame Emma-ane Brown, worked closely with the team at RDA UK to make the evening a huge success. 

Karen Thompson, group instructor commented: “Whilst looking for a way to increase participation in a limited time slot, we hit upon a Brilliant Idea of running an RDA Saddle Club for the children who attend our Thursday evening session.  Previously there was 2 x 30 mins sessions which could accommodate 6 children and we had an ever increasing waiting list. We had a horse simulator that was under used and we were struggling to recruit/ motivate new and existing volunteers.

The session runs for 90 mins with the children taking part in 3 x 30mins workshops – riding, horse simulator and pony care towards badges.  All the participants have benefitted from the extended session as it has enabled them to get more closely involved with the ponies in a safe, supervised situation.  The parents have become more involved with the group and enjoy having some timeout together, a chance for them to share experiences over a cup of coffee.  The number of participants has increased to 18 with most riders able to ride every week.  The age range is from 6 – 15 years old and accommodates a wide range of disabilities including both physical and intellectual difficulties.”

The group is lucky to have 3 group instructors and a special needs teaching assistant who all work together to make this session possible.  They are supported by a fantastic team of volunteers who range from teenagers taking the YELA awards to local business owners who have become involved with the group and are helping sponsor our ponies. 

RDA Chief Executive, Ed Bracher praised the quality of the application and said that: “Kesteven RDA were clear, outright winners in a strong category of over 20 entrants.  The idea is simple but effective and increases participation which is one of the charity’s key aims.” One of the parents commented that: “My son Robert aged 9 with autism and SLD loves coming here to ride. He is so well looked after and encouraged. He has made friends, gained confidence and is learning not just to ride but to be gentle, caring and understanding with the ponies. He always comes home rosy-cheeked and beaming on a Thursday evening. Thanks to Karen and all team!”


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