The very existence of an RDA Group depends almost entirely on its army of supporters. If it wasn’t for the volunteer helpers then no riding, driving or vaulting could take place. So, if you have time available, could you help?
Perry RDA Ltd enables people with varying disabilities to take up riding, carriage driving and vaulting.This could not happen without the many dedicated volunteers.
The benefits to the riders are enormous and the helpers also get a lot out of it too.
Just read the reasons why one of the volunteers drives almost 50 miles round trip each weekend to help:
“I travel as far as I do because Perry RDA is an exceptional place. A friendly and welcoming environment that benefits so many and not just the RDA participants.
I like the can do attitude and that the people there go above and beyond for the participants.
Being a part of the team that operates on a Saturday is both challenging and rewarding we work out in all weathers, we operate all day, we have a good time, we learn new things and drink a fair amount of tea.
Having been there for a number of years I have witnessed and been a part of the good work that is carried out by the group. It is nice to see the participants develop and make achievements both big and small and of course to see them enjoying themselves.
Perry RDA has helped me build my confidence and develop as a person it has opened doors for me in the wider world and ultimately it has helped me shape my career. I have learnt so many transferrable skills from people management to communication from volunteering at Perry RDA which I can now take from the riding arena to the boardroom.
Seeing and helping participants to grow in confidence, make friendships, be challenged, overcome barriers and achieve is why I travel as far as I do.
Because there is no place like it”
Perry RDA Ltd relies on the support and skills their many volunteers bring. There is also ongoing training given to whatever level is desired. We are a very friendly, sociable group with volunteers coming from all walks of life.
If you are interested in volunteering at the Perry RDA Group, please download the Volunteers’ Job Description, which includes ID items required, and an Application Form which should be completed.
Please then telephone to make an appointment and bring the form and required details with you.
They are not in any particular order of importance and you don’t need any certificates or diplomas to fulfil these roles, just common sense and a stout pair of boots. Nor do you need to put in an 8-hour day, as the minimum time commitment is only 2 hours to 2 ½ once a week.
Leading of Ponies & Horses
Providing you are fairly fit (meaning you can walk briskly without collapsing in a gasping heap), can hold onto a lead rein without dropping it and are not afraid of the eating-end of a pony, then this is a relatively easy job. It is a different skill possibly from one you might have used at home with your own pony but training will be given.
Primarily the same requirements as above except that your job is to stop whoever is on the horse from falling off. You work in pairs, one each side of the horse. This assistance ranges from supporting the very disabled (who may be undergoing a course of hippotherapy and have to lie flat on the back of the pony), or offering a supporting hand to a person with balance problems, or just being ready to stabilise the more able if over confidence causes them to slip.
Tacking and un-tacking the ponies
Prior to riders arriving and after they have departed, the ponies have to be groomed, tacked-up or untacked, rugged-up and turned out into the paddocks. All of this takes time, especially if it is a group lesson. If you can already carry out these tasks, or if you are prepared to learn, then please get in touch
Driving volunteer helpers tend to be a little more “horsey” than their riding counterparts. This is probably because of the more specialised equipment, in the form of carriages and harnesses. Also the techniques of driving involve more training and road sense in addition to the common sense that’s required for both. But don’t panic, it is not rocket science and once learnt, driving is very enjoyable.
For anyone who develops a keen interest in and commitment to the driving, there is training available to become an Able Bodied Whip. The Group currently has 5 AB Whips and 3 carriages. The Group is currently borrowing a carriage from the Wrexham RDA Group and has a new vehicle on order from Fenix (paid for in the main by the Adam Millichip Foundation). This is due to arrive in August 2015. As we drive twice weekly at the moment we always have a need for new volunteers.
The hardest work probably comes at the beginning and at the end of the driving sessions when we have to load harness and carriages and horses up, drive to our venue, unload, harness up and put to. Sometimes we have wheelchair users who drive with us and we have to take out one of the seats in the carriage and attach clamps for the wheelchairs, on other occasions we have semi ambulant drivers who use the conventional seats. The vehicles have pull down ramps up which the wheelchairs are pushed, the ramps are put back up and the wheelchairs are then fastened into place with the clamps.
All the ponies are required to be safe, sound and suitable for the work. They are all good to handle and can be managed by anyone with a modicum of horse knowledge.
The two wheeler vehicles do not have a spare seat for the ‘groom’ which means that a helper has to either walk alongside or ride a bike to accompany the vehicle.
If you have an interest or experience in gymnastics this might be the area you want to get involved with.
Vaulting is perhaps best defined as gymnastics on horseback and is one of the 7 disciplines currently recognised by the Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI). Competitive Vaulting is a youth sport, however, at the Novice and Recreational levels it has much to offer to all ages and abilities.
It is a hugely rewarding activity. The fun and sense of achievement that vaulting has brought to the youngsters with Perry RDA was added to in 2014 by the team becoming National RDA Vaulting Champions at the RDA National Championships in July.
Assistant Coaches are always welcome to help the youngsters with their warm up activities, with training on the gym mats, on the barrels and on the horse. If you have a musical or theatrical interest you will be very welcome as help is always needed with putting routines together to music.