"I love it and I'm proud of myself": How Washington riding centre continues RDA success

Washington Riding Centre (WRC) has been the home of the Tyne and Wear Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) group since 1977, and it is still going strong 40 years on. The people who use this riding school remain at the heart of WRC, as the riding school provides specialist facilities and equipment for disabled riders.

Manager Jane Cherry along with the rest of the team of dedicated staff and volunteers work all year not just teaching lessons, but also hosting and helping with varying events throughout the year such as the Winter Fayre and Christmas pony rides. They even dress the horses up as unicorns, reindeers and more for these special occasions.

Barry Lee from Sunderland attends lessons once a week at Washington Riding Centre. He said, "I love it and I'm very proud of myself." 

Eric Thomas takes his brother in law Barry, who is a member of the down syndrome society, through to Washington once a week to attend his riding lesson, and also to football, as he takes part in many sports and activities.

The recent Winter Fayre saw the horses and ponies get dressed up as reindeers and shown off for their sponsors to come and see them. The Fayre raised £475 this year, and even had a musical ride to the Toy Story theme as well as a demonstration from popular North East dressage rider Heather Finlay. WRC host this event every year so look out for the next one, or there is always the Santa Rides for the under tens.

Washington Riding Centre is constantly looking to improve and provide new facilities, but relies a lot on donations and funding. They recently receive a Lottery Funding Grant and used it to build a brand new stable block. This new feature includes stables, a feed room, a class room and a standing area for horses which can be used as a demonstration area.

Horses have become a very popular choice when it comes to working with disabled people, or those with special requirements. Whether for riding purposes, interaction purposes, or clinical purposes. So, it’s no surprise that the charity, Riding for the Disabled Association, has so many success stories across the country when you look at what one of their facilities has to offer.

Jane Cherry noted about the success she has seen from a lady who recently started lessons at WRC and does not have any lower limbs and she's just started riding and is now beginning to be able to trot. She said, "That’s rewarding to see someone with those that disabilities you’d think would hold them back, it’s really nice to see."

You can help out at Washington Riding Centre by becoming a volunteer, donating via Gift Aid, voting for them whenever they are up for awards, or even sponsoring one of their horses.

For more information follow this link to their website: http://www.washingtonridingcentre.co.uk/index.htm