Riding for disabled sessions at risk

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HORSE riding sessions for hundreds of disabled people at a Leeds centre are under threat due to a lack of volunteers.

Several Riding for the Disabled (RDA) sessions at Middleton Park Equestrian Centre, in Middleton Grove, Leeds, have had to be cancelled in recent weeks due to a fall in volunteers.

The school has had a strong RDA element for more than 20 years, currently providing around 250 disabled people in the region with subsidised horse riding lessons.

The RDA lessons, which run seven days a week, can be used to benefit people with conditions ranging from mild learning difficulties to severe mental and physical disabilities.

The centre’s RDA co-ordinator Cathy Cook said: “If we don’t have enough volunteers in to run a session we do have to cancel that session.

“Riders have even got here and we have had to turn them away as we have not had the man power to do it.”

She said there are currently around 20 volunteers, who work varying times at the centre, but to run group sessions up to 10 people including a qualified instructor are needed to lead horses and to help riders all at once.