Interaction with horses and ponies can be a very positive experiences for those with learning disabilities or physical disabilities, so our club was delighted to give a donation to Cobbes Meadow, a member of the Riding for Disabled Association.
Cobbes Meadow is an independent local charity that, with the assistance of volunteers and qualified instructors, gives special horse riding and carriage driving opportunities to those with various types of disabilities. The children and adults that they help all have various levels of experience, abilities and needs, so Cobbes Meadow likes to be flexible in its approach, providing both indoor and outdoor opportunities as relevant. An outdoors environment can offer a calm, natural experience away from the enclosed space and lighting of the indoor riding school.
Cobbes Meadow aims "to offer a variety of multi-sensory experiences to all of their riders at the same time as offering therapeutic activities" - meaning that they wish to stimulate all of a rider's senses (i.e. sight, sound, smell and touch) during rides. They therefore plan to develop a new Sensory Ride, which will encourage the use of various riding skills (such as steering, maintaining position, half sitting, reaching and stretching) while giving both natural and man-made sensory experiences that encourage engagement with the world. These sensory activity stations further encourage the development of the senses - such as motor planning, communication and problem solving. Each station gives riders and their helpers a chance to engage in colourful, fun and interesting activities.
Cobbes Meadow, which is based in Chartham, Kent, is run entirely by volunteers and funded by donations. Therefore, on hearing of their Sensory Ride plan, our Community Service Committee was delighted to hand over a cheque for £120 via Maxine Blades, one of the Committee members. This will cover the cost of six large signs that will be part of the new Sensory Ride. We hope this ride will help Cobbes Meadow give even more great experiences to riders.
For more information about Cobbes Meadow click here.
You can read about their horses here.
Picture: (L) One of the fun, interactive activity stations that can help develop a sensory experience for riders (R) A young disabled man on 'Muppy' - one of the RDA ponies - with some of the adult helpers and trainers. Picture credit: Cobbes Meadow/RDA.
With thanks to Deborah Connolly for providing draft text.