About Cranleigh RDA Group
Cranleigh RDA is a local charity based at Casi’s Farm in Rowly on the outskirts of Cranleigh. Our aim is to provide children and adults with special needs the opportunity to ride for therapy, achievement and enjoyment and so to improve their health and well-being and make a difference to their lives.
Children and adults who have a wide variety of physical and/or learning disabilities come to ride weekly during the term time, either as individuals or in a group from a school or care home. Through the year, over 250 people with special needs will use our facilities. 240 volunteers working as RDA trained coaches or session helpers run the sessions which take place, morning, afternoon and evening.
The Benefits of Riding
For many riders the sheer enjoyment of being on a horse is the highlight of their week. While they are having fun they are improving their muscle tone, posture, balance and co-ordination. The warmth and three-dimensional movement of the horse is transmitted through the rider's body, gradually making it more relaxed and supple, reducing spasticity and promoting flexibility and strength. The movement of the pelvis influences the lumbar region and is transferred up the spine, encouraging control of the trunk and head. Riding a horse makes mobility possible. From the elevated position in the saddle, riders literally see more of the world.
There are also less tangible benefits such as improved confidence and self-esteem and a sense of achievement. Riding can help growth in areas such as communicating, relating to others, co-operation and being a team player. We do a lot more than just plod round in circles! Sessions are focused on acquiring skills where this is possible. We play games, have competitions, and gymkhana days, and ride out in to the adjoining countryside whenever we can, even do a bit of modest show jumping! Every year some riders compete at the South East RDA Regional dressage day at Hickstead.
A Costly Business
Our costs are kept as low as possible by a huge volunteer input on diverse fronts and we have only one very hard working paid member of staff and limited part time relief for her. But, horses are not cheap to keep. Vets bills, worming, vaccinations, farriers, tack, feed, electricity, water and disposal of manure – the expense is relentless. Our riders make a modest donation of £7 towards their ride which gives us about half of the money we need each year to run. After that, we rely on donations and fund raising events to make ends meet and keep running.
Riding High – Our Current Major Fundraising Campaign
The future of our whole operation is in jeopardy because the main barn housing our stable and social block is not fit for purpose in the long term. We need to raise £560,000 to build a brand new, safer, stronger replacement building with better facilities, to see our enterprise into the future. We have the planning permission and we very much hope to be able to build in the summer of 2017 when we shall be celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the start of our group in Cranleigh. To date we have raised a whopping £350,000 – but we need more to make our plan possible.
We are a local charity, making a difference to the lives of people with special needs in your very own community. And your help really will be invaluable to us and facilitate our determination to go on providing our service for at least another fifty years!
For more information visit our website: www.cranleighrdagroup.co.uk