Hosted by the Guernsey group of the Riding for the Disabled Association, and attended by its patron Lady Corder, the wife of Lt-Governor Vice Admiral Sir Ian Corder, the special mini cross-country event saw eight students walk and trot their way around a challenging course of obstacles.
On completion they were presented with a brightly coloured rosette, provided by the event’s sponsor, Aztec.
The RDA’s aim is to offer people with physical and learning disabilities the opportunity to experience the benefits and pleasure of riding, including freedom of movement, building confidence, physiotherapy and a sense of personal achievement.
‘It’s nice to see the kids have a good time,’ said volunteer and coach Bridget Roger.
‘Aztec [an independent provider of fund and corporate services] have sponsored the event and not only that but they dedicate a number of staff to come and join us once a week.
‘Each rider needs three volunteers to make sure they’re safe, and we can struggle to find volunteers, so to have their support to allow the children to come here is great.’
One of those who comes to help out is Sarah Felmingham.
She said she loved being given the opportunity from work to be able to volunteer and bring joy to the people who attend the riding sessions.
‘It’s hugely rewarding,’ she said. ‘You get a warm fuzzy feeling out of being involved and seeing the smiles on so many people’s faces.
‘It’s very different to being behind a desk, getting fresh air and being a part of this does wonders for your wellbeing.’
Rob Jones, managing director of the Aztec Group’s Guernsey office, said it was a joy to be able to engage with the community.
‘It is great to see the riders enjoying their experiences so passionately,’ he said.
The event, the penultimate ride of the year, provides invaluable practice for the Christmas gymkhana, comprising races and other competitions on horseback, which is scheduled to take place a week later.
. Guernsey RDA accommodates about 40 adults and children at La Carriere and Melrose Farm weekly and works closely with special needs schools and the physiotherapy department, who select riders they feel would benefit from the experience. The group is always on the lookout for more volunteers to provide this experience, so to find out more, visit https://www.rda.gg/.