THE Mid Antrim RDA (Riding for the Disabled) Group were approached by Mary Connor of Sensory Kids in Broughshane to see if it might be possible to arrange some riding sessions for some of the children who attend her group during the summer. After some discussions within the Group and also with the proprietor of Galgorm Parks Riding School, Sara Kyle, they decided to go ahead on the basis that Mary would apply for funding from the local Council and also provide some volunteers from her organisation.
They ended up with nine children, split into two groups, only two of whom had ridden before. Much to Mid Antrim RDA’s delight, they all took to it straight away and made amazing progress in the space of five days. On the last day, the volunteers built a mini Countryside Challenge Course for the children and everyone went home with a smile on their face and either a Grade 1 Riding certificate or an Endeavour Award, as well as a rosette.
The revelation for Mid Antrim volunteers was how much the children progressed in the space of five days intensive riding rather than the more usual once weekly sessions, and volunteers also really enjoyed meeting the parents and families and getting feedback from them. Inevitably, there were the usual enquiries about sourcing riding for their children in the future, if the school they attend either doesn’t offer riding or has only limited availability.
Mid Antrim were so grateful to three volunteers from Antrim Group, who came along to help out on the days they were short-handed; also a huge thank you to all the volunteers who turned out during their summer holidays and, of course, to Sara Kyle and her wonderful ponies at Galgorm Parks Riding School.