Omagh RDA receives top award

Presentation to Gwen Garrett of Omagh RDA Group by Councillor Paul Robinson, Vice Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council.
Presentation to Gwen Garrett of Omagh RDA Group by Councillor Paul Robinson, Vice Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council.

The Worshipful Company of Loriners, a guild based in the city of London who traditionally make bridles, bits, stirrups, saddle trees and other equestrian equipment, is a long term supporter of the Riding for the Disabled Association.

This year they sponsored a national award for Educational and Therapeutic activities within RDA Groups and Omagh RDA was chosen out of the 486 UK RDA Groups as the group which demonstrated the most beneficial education and therapeutic activities.

Omagh RDA recognised that riders develop far more than just riding skills during their lessons.

They pioneered many of the educational programmes offered to RDA by ASDAN (an educational programme development and awards body) whose programmes are widely used in vocational and special needs education. This enabled the group to recognise and celebrate the achievements of the riders in a wide range of areas, including national curriculum subjects which are taught through horse-based activities and the RDA Proficiency Tests, which provide a system of progressive practical learning in riding and stable management skills.

Young volunteers are supported to acquire nationally recognised qualifications to prepare them for employment or to add to their CVs for university applications. Omagh RDA offers volunteering opportunities for large numbers of young people every year through the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme, Young Equestrian Leaders and Millennium Awards programmes.

The therapeutic benefits of Riding for the Disabled are widely recognised, but difficult to quantify. Nationally, RDA has developed a tracker system to record progress in several areas: confidence, physical skills, communication and social interaction. Omagh RDA took part in the pilot scheme producing a large series of over 30 completed trackers in the trial period, all of which demonstrated improvement in all areas.

Other activities include craft work, creative art work and writing with riders producing some exceptional work which has won national prizes within RDA.

Omagh group is one of 28 in Northern Ireland. For more information visit www.ridingforthedisabledni.org.uk or email rdaniregion@yahoo.co.uk.