As Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) celebrates the success of its riders in the Paralympics – and with Gold medal winners such as Sophie Christiansen and Natasha Baker proving such an inspiration – RDA is calling for more volunteers and funds to help increase capacity in its riding centres across the UK.
Four out of five of the Paralympics GB team for para-equestrian dressage started their equestrian careers with the support of RDA. In interview, triple gold medallist Sophie Christiansen told reporters: “Much of the success is due to the RDA at the grass-roots level. We wouldn’t be in the position we are now without the RDA, and I hope it inspires people to take up the sport.”
RDA relies on voluntary help and donations to support the work of its 500 riding and carriage driving groups throughout the UK. Currently, for every one person who rides with RDA, there are approximately four on a waiting list.
“The public’s support for the Paralympics and for Para-Equestrianism specifically has been amazing,” said RDA Chief Executive, Ed Bracher. “The British Team demonstrated just what can be achieved – inspiring more people to take up the sport or to aim for the very top. We are absolutely determined to help build a robust and meaningful legacy by enabling more people to take up riding, but we can’t do this without more support and resource. About 28,000 riders and carriage drivers of all ages and abilities enjoy RDA activities, and we are indebted to the thousands of volunteers across the UK who give their time to make this possible; but we need more.
“I would urge anyone who has enjoyed the success of riders like Sophie Christiansen and Natasha Baker to get involved with their local RDA group, and help us provide more opportunities for more people to achieve amazing things.”
To find your nearest RDA Group or to make a donation, visit www.rda.org.uk