Riding for Disabled charity to celebrate 50 years in the saddle

Mia Russell enjoys a visit to the Borders RDA centre at Monteviot.
Mia Russell enjoys a visit to the Borders RDA centre at Monteviot.

A Borders charity has been helping disabled people get into the saddle for just short of 50 years, and it is set to celebrate that milestone anniversary next month.

The Borders branch of the Riding for the Disabled Association has been improving the lives of disabled Borderers of all ages since 1968.

Margaret Lupton.

Margaret Lupton.

From humble beginnings, the group has expanded and grown over the years to now regularly welcome around 50 riders each week to its base at Monteviot, near Ancrum.

The stables there, built in 1996, boast state-of-the-art facilities thanks to a series of grants, fundraising activities and public donations over the years. Almost £200,000 was spent on an indoor arena 20 years ago, and the charity more recently added a purpose-built warm room with a log-burner and kitchen area for volunteers, riders, guardians and parents to use.

The group’s chairwoman, Susie Elliot, said: “We rely entirely on donations, and 100% goes to the charity. Many children and adults have benefited through riding and interacting with horses, achieving personal goals, core strength, balance, confidence, and self-esteem, as well as forming lifelong friendships, both human and equine.”

The charity also welcomes schoolchildren, sent as part of their curriculum, while the benefits it offers have been recognised by physiotherapists and occupational therapists.

The group has also enjoyed competition success over the years, with a number of its riders having competed at national championships.

Susie added: “This is all made possible by our band of dedicated volunteers, who are all trained to provide an excellent experience to 50 riders every week.”

Now it is inviting those volunteers, users and supporters who have been involved in the charity over the years, to join it for an anniversary celebration on Saturday, September 15, at Monteviot.

Donations to mark the occasion can be made online at www.justgiving.com/bordersrda. Anyone wishing to attend the celebrations next month can email rda50th@gmail.com or call 07951 403084.