The rain thankfully stayed away for the annual RDA NI Regional outing to Castle Leslie in County Monaghan.
This year Rickye, Niamh and Rachel from Enniskillen, Lucy and Eleanor from Banbridge and Moira and Joanne from Newtownards took part.
Castle Leslie has a wonderful selection of horses and ponies to choose from and all riders were partnered with safe and reliable steeds.
Riding through forest paths and tracks is not part of the usual RDA experience where indoor schools and ménages are usually the order of the day, so it was wonderful for the riders to be able to ride somewhere unfamiliar and exciting.
The paths were uneven at times and also quite mucky. Riding position had to be adjusted for differing inclines and also when ducking under branches. As usual, the lake was the highlight of the day. The riders were having such fun that they didn’t seem to notice the leaders and side walkers getting soaked!
After a picnic lunch, Regional Coach, Caroline Twemlow organised games for the riders.
Some were equestrian-themed where riders had to think back to what they had learned during the year, while the good old egg and spoon race proved popular with all. RDANI would like to thank all those involved in making the day such a success- all the volunteers (three per rider!), Parents, Coaches, First Aiders, Henry the photographer, and of course Jenny and her wonderful staff at Castle Leslie.
Next year, organisers would like to welcome groups who haven’t previously attended one of the RDA Days Out. It is a wonderful opportunity for the riders to experience sights and sounds often denied to disabled people. Riding through places, usually inaccessible, gives a great feeling of empowerment and achievement while also being loads of fun.
All the paperwork, Health and Safety and coaches are provided by the Region.
All the groups need are three volunteers per rider and a picnic. It is also a great group bonding opportunity as well as an opportunity to meet new members of the RDA family.