ON the eve of the 2018 Stena Line Dublin Horse Show at the RDS, many of Ireland’s top show jumping riders and team manager Rodrigo Pessoa, were today joined by members of the Riding for the Disabled Association Ireland (RDAI) at the RDS to raise awareness of the work carried out by RDAI and the services they offer.
Speaking at the event, Frankie Griffin from the Riding for the Disabled Association Ireland said: "Because RDAI is voluntary it is nice to be recognised by Horse Sport Ireland. This morning at the RDS our riders and their families were so proud to meet their show jumping stars. It will stay with them for a long time. We have 50 groups, riding an average of 700 riders per week. We can always do with more volunteers, they don’t need “horse knowledge” we train them and update it every two years."
When asked where people can get more information on the services involved or for people who would like to help out Frankie added: “We have a very good website www.rdai.org and we are always looking for volunteers. We will be doing a demonstration on Saturday here at the Dublin Horse Show for anyone coming to the show.”
One of the organizers of the event, Taylor Vard from Horse Sport Ireland’s Show Jumping High Performance committee said: “We are delighted to once again join forces with the RDAI to promote the work that they do and to give some of their members the chance to meet some of our top riders. On behalf of the Horse Sport Ireland High Performance Committee, I would like to thank and number of people who helped this to be such a successful event – Charles Owen riding hats, Alpes D’ OR. Sams Cookies, Donal O’Beirne, Gerry Mullins, Cian O’Connor, Michael O’Donovan, Geraldine Allen, Danielle Santos, Tredstep Ireland, Sophie D’Alton and all the staff that helped at Horse Sport Ireland.”
Twelve-year-old Rory from Ballinhassig, Co. Cork gives Rodrigo Pessoa some advice before Friday’s Aga Khan at the Dublin Horse Show
About the Riding for the Disabled Association Ireland
The Riding for the Disabled Association Ireland (RDAI) is an Irish voluntary organisation which offers the opportunity of therapeutic and recreational Riding or Carriage Driving to any person with a physical or intellectual disability. More than 50 groups nationally provide weekly lessons, free of charge, to almost 700 disabled people.
Groups meet in working hours, using local equestrian centres with good wheelchair access and the availability of suitable horses and ponies, for the teaching of a sport on horseback to a disabled person. Each group has its own committee, which comprises of group organiser, riding instructor, therapist (where available), and a number of voluntary helpers.
The organisation just would not exist without its volunteers. RDAI values the tremendous voluntary commitment of over 600 people who help run the groups each week.
The aim of RDAI is to improve the general health and wellbeing, and broaden the social horizons of people with special needs in a fun and safe environment, thus empowering them to reach their maximum potential.
It has been scientifically proven that children and vulnerable adults who work closely with RDAI horses and volunteers benefit by improved fitness, mobility, balance and coordination, as well as self-esteem and social skills.