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Mid Sussex RDA bringing emotional joy and physical benefits through horses

It is well documented that horse riding provides a whole range of physical and emotional benefits to riders and this is especially true for those with physical and learning disabilities, as well as autism. Established in 1965, the charity Riding for the Disabled has been helping people through horses for over 50 years. As part of our aim to make a positive contribution to our local community, Tisshaws are proud to support the Mid Sussex group with a donation to help them continue their wonderful work.

Based at Chestnuts Riding School, Pyecombe, Mid Sussex RDA hosts mixed groups of both adults and children on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. The riders have a range of physical, sensory, and mental disorders and the group provides a fun and relaxed environment, in which they can benefit from the warmth and closeness of the horses, along with the opportunity to improve their strength, skills and confidence.

We visited last week to witness first-hand the joy riding brings. The group uses four gentle, kind, and sweet natured ponies and horses – Chief, Flynn, Darcie and Thomas, and provides both portable mounting blocks and an electronic mounting ramp for wheelchair users. There is a large well-lit indoor school with a viewing gallery for carers, along with an outdoor school enjoying glorious views over the South Downs.

As it was the last week of term, the riders all enjoyed competing in a series of light-hearted and informal games, including a version of musical chairs, involving riding to one of a series of cones when the music stopped. Another game involved avoiding being caught riding between two poles when the music stopped. It was a privilege to see the joy of the riders and chat to their carers about the positive impact horse riding has brought to their lives. We even got to hand out the rosettes!

This warm and welcoming group can only operate with the dedication of a team of loyal volunteers, led by Ruby Grimshaw and the generosity of donors. The team are always on the lookout for new volunteers and there is no need to be ‘horsey’ to experience the heart-warming and spirit lifting emotions that comes from helping others.

If you would like to volunteer, please contact Ruby at midsussexrda@gmail.com. And if you would like to fundraise or make a donation, please visit the Mid Sussex RDA Just Giving page – www.justgiving.com/midsussexrda.

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