Riders bid fond farewell to riding school for disabled
For the past 32 years Riding for the Disabled (RDA) has enabled those with learning difficulties the chance to ride at Brawlings Farm in Chalfont St Peter.
Although bosses do not know when the whole riding school will close, the Chalfont branch of RDA – which has clients ranging from four-yearsold to a man in his 60s – held its final ride this week.
Chairman and instructor Eric Matthews, who has been involved ‘for a long time’ said it was easier for the group to close now than wait until the end.
“The whole stables is shutting down – exactly when, we don’t know but it is imminent,” he said.
But it is not all doom and gloom, as riders and helpers have managed to secure places at other riding schools in Bucks.
Mr Matthews said: “This RDA group has been here for 32 years, and we still have a couple of volunteers and a couple of riders who have been here for that length of time.”
He added: “Our volunteers are a tremendous bunch, they come rain or shine. We have been very consistent with our helpers, that makes a big difference.”
The benefits for clients have been huge, he said, as it teaches riders skills like co-ordinaton.
Most other riding schools that cater for those with learning difficulties do not have adult riders, which led Mr Matthews to say the Chalfont branch was ‘quite unusual’ in that regard.
It is a ‘very happy group’ said Mr Matthews, adding it had been fun and rewarding for him being involved.
Mr Matthews will be hanging up his stirrups for good, and said it had been emotional at the school after the announcement of its closure.
“We’ve got some fond memories here,” he said. “It’s been a very stable group. They have been here for a long time, they’re consistent and it’s been really good.”
Riders and volunteers prepare to leave the centre