Equine therapy has long been acknowledged and championed by medical professionals and physiotherapists for both its physical and emotional rewards. RDA Groups not only promote the physical benefits of horse riding, such as strength and stamina as well as improved posture and co-ordination, but they also encourage their riders to feel a sense of achievement and emotional wellbeing.
Like any activity, there are limitations and luckily modern technology can now assist, if not develop, the work of RDA groups and equine therapists. The simulators are able to provide a continual rhythmic action around the clock, in a controlled environment. Lessons are no longer weather restrictive and unlike the real thing, the simulators never tire.
Now with various funding available, charitable donations and the tireless fundraising efforts of their volunteers, more RDA groups are in a position to invest in the interactive range of simulators, which provide a virtual experience, attractive and engaging graphics and feedback on posture, co-ordination and use of the leg/reins.
See below 6 RDA groups now featuring an interactive horse simulator at their facility:
- Pendle RDA, Lancashire Pendle were the very first RDA group to opt for the Dressage simulator. Having been successful in a bid for Lottery funding, Kate Bailey and her team are now offering lessons to members of all ages and abilities from 2 to 93!http://www.pendlerda.org/
- Midgeland RDA, Blackpool Midgeland are the latest RDA Group to boast a fully interactive Dressage Simulator onsite. Having predominantly raised the money through fundraising, Sport England were also to thank for donating a substantial amount after acknowledging the importance of the simulator to the school and its riders.
- Lowlands Farm RDA, Warwickshire Lowlands also host a fully interactive Dressage Simulator onsite, which is loved by their riders AND the volunteers that teach them. Lowlands raised their funds and were able to house their newest ‘horse’ in a purpose built room built by a local construction company using donated materials and labour.
- Perry RDA, Shropshire Back in 2009 the Perry group took delivery of the very first interactive RDA Simulator. Perry also offers carriage driving and vaulting lessons.http://www.cavaliercentre.org/
- Wormwood Scrubs RDA, London Based in the centre of London, Wormwood Scrubs Pony Center recently unveiled a new ‘Therapy Stable Yard Classroom’ which is home to 2 Donkeys and a Dressage Simulator was officially opened by Clare Balding.http://www.wormwoodscrubsponycentre.org/
- Southfield RDA, Somerset Southfield is located in beautiful Dorset and will soon be making their simulator mobile in order to loan it to other groups in the UK.