The RDA (Riding for the Disabled Association) recently received funding to fit a platform lift, the first of its kind in Northern Ireland to allow for people with a disability to more easily transfer onto a horse.
The funding was secured by Disability Sport NI through the Department for Communities and Sport NI as part of the wider Active Living: No Limits 2021 Action Plan to provide more opportunities and more accessible sports and recreation facilities for people with a disability in Northern Ireland.
The RDA is a UK wide organisation with almost 500 different centres benefitting over 25,000 people and it is run by a dedicated team of volunteers who offer regular opportunities for people with a disability to get involved in horse riding. RDA Coleraine service the Causeway, Coast and Glens Council Area and support riders from grassroots participation to Special Olympic and Paralympic Level.
The platform lift is a great addition to Coleraine RDA Centre. It gently raises the rider up to the correct level for mounting the horse allowing for a smoother transfer whether from a wheelchair or standing position. The team at RDA Coleraine have carefully orientated their horses to the lift, gradually bringing them closer and making very slight movements across a period of time so as not to scare the horse. Their hard work was apparent to guests from Department for Communities, Sport NI and Disability Sport NI Coast who recently joined Causeway, Coast and Glens Deputy Mayor Councillor Sharon Mc Killop to watch a local school proudly show the lift in action.
This funding follows a wider investment from Department for Communities and Sport NI through Disability Sport NI to establish a range of Disability Sports Hubs in each council area of Northern Ireland. If you would like to know more about disability sports opportunities in your local area please contact Disability Sport NI on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.dsni.co.uk.
If you would like to learn more about getting involved in horse riding please contact your local RDA centre in Northern Ireland with full details available at http://www.ridingforthedisabledni.org.uk/business-directory/