Riding for the Disabled

5 Oct

rfdRiding is widely recognized as one of the most beneficial forms of therapy the disabled can receive. It builds self-confidence, improves concentration and self-discipline and, at the same time, provides recreation and sport.

Riding for the Disabled was founded in Hong Kong in 1975 by the then Governor’s wife, Lady MacLehose. A small group of helpers and riders met once a week at the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Riding School at Beas River. Horses and ponies which belonged to the Jockey Club were used, as well as mules from the British Army Transport Division. The programme was so successful that Lady MacLehose obtained a government grant for land at Pokfulam, and the jockey club built a riding school for the use of the disabled, incorporating a public riding school and a PHAB centre. The Pokfulam Riding school opened in Sep. 1978 and RDA now has its base there.

ridingfordisabledToday the RDA runs weekly horse riding lessons for disabled children and adults, operating out of Jockey Club riding schools in Pokfulam, Tuen Mun and Sheung Shui. Riders have a wide range of disabilities, including Down’s syndrome, cerebral palsy, blindness and autism. Riding offers a sense of freedom and personal dignity that might otherwise be hard to achieve, and pupils also experience the pleasure of riding and the discipline involved in learning to control a horse.

Participants in the RDA’s annual dressage competition have gone on to represent Hong Kong at the World Dressage Championships for Disabled Riders.

Volunteering: Demand for lessons far outstrips supply and the RDA welcomes volunteers of any age or background. Riding experience or knowledge of horses is an advantage, but is not essential. In fact, training is provided. The group needs volunteers to help with riding lessons, but also behind the scenes on the administrative side. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, please visit their website, complete and submit their volunteer application form.

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