Rid­ers bid fond farewell to rid­ing school for dis­abled

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS -

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

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