Herald readers to the rescue of riding group

A SIDMOUTH Herald reader came to the aid of a charity that helps disabled people through riding – within days of an appeal appearing in the paper.

East Devon Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) leaders this week expressed their thanks to a kind-hearted Good Samaritan who handed over a pony.

The gift of five-year-old cob, Blue Jack, means the groups waiting list of disabled children and adults can be reduced.

Charity trustee David Brown, a retired vet who lives in Connaught Road, Sidmouth, said: “Within a week of the appeal in the Herald we were delighted to be offered Blue Jack. He was just what we were looking for. It will make a big difference.”

The pony is currently being trained at Hitts Barton Equestrian Centre in Whimple where the group holds twice-weekly riding sessions with qualified instructors.

Volunteers from Sidmouth and other East Devon towns help out.

Mr Brown added that, when Blue Jack is fully trained, the group will be able to increase riding opportunities currently offered to those who want them.

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He added that riding was recognised as an excellent form of therapy – boosting balance and fitness while developing self-confidence.

“All the riders who’ll be representing Great Britain in the Equine Paralympic Team have, at some time in their riding career, been associated with the RDA,” added Mr Brown.

The East Devon Group, which has no connection with The Donkey Sanctuary or Elisabeth Svendsen Trust, receives no external financial support and relies totally on fund raising activities by volunteers.

The group will stage an open afternoon and training session at Offwell Sports and Social Club, near Honiton, next Thursday, February 23, at 2pm.

Contact the group on 0845 241437.