New Lodge RDA provides horse riding for disabled people to benefit their health and well-being. We have been operating for over forty years and open five days a week with riders attending on a weekly basis or with their schools or colleges. We work with a range of disabilities but a lot of our work is with children with learning difficulties or on the Autistic spectrum. These children really engage with the horses and gain so much from riding. They learn a new skill and get a great sense of achievement through reaching managable goals. We see confidence and self-esteem grow. Listening and communication skills improve as well as balance and co-ordination. Just sitting on the horse works muscles and leads to improvements in fine and gross motor skills as well as core strength. As well as all these benefits riding is a fun outdoor sport. Many of our children can't cope with team sports but with riding they are part of a group but they have their own horse which gives them their own space.
New Lodge RDA relies on volunteers to help run the sessions as the horses mostly need to be led and often we need side helpers as well. Volunteers come from all walks of life and all age groups so it leads to a real community spirit. Everyone gets together at fundraising events.
New Lodge RDA needs to raise about £25,000 per year just to keep going. The cost of keeping horses in London plus vet's bills, tack and rugs all add up. This doesn't leave much for any major projects which is why we are trying to boost our funds at the moment.
We want to get a new horse for some of our bigger riders. At the moment we have two lovely horses for adults who need leading, they are elderly and only go slowly. We only have one larger horse for our more able riders and she is also in her mid twenties now. We want to find a horse who will be quiet and safe with our less able riders on the lead rein but who will also work in walk trot and canter for riders who want to do a bit more. Some of our riders compete in dressage at the RDA National Championships so we hope the new horse might be able to do this in the future. The horse would need to be at least 15 hh and would need to be very sensible but not too old. Finding such a horse will be difficult but we can't start looking till we have funding as any such horse would be snapped up very quickly. We are hoping to raise at least £6,000 to cover the cost, the tack and getting the horse vetted to ensure it is fit. We would never have this amount spare in our general funds which is why we are creating this crowfunding page with the help of AVIVA.
We hope everyone will support our cause because it makes such a difference to the lives of the children we help. The young man pictured below started at about 10 years old and now at the age of 18 has just started a course in equine studies and hopes to make working with horses his career.