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Forres, Nairn and District Riding for the Disabled promotes Scottish Disability Sport Week

By Garry McCartney

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Forres, Nairn and District Riding for the Disabled Association. Picture: Daniel Forsyth
Forres, Nairn and District Riding for the Disabled Association. Picture: Daniel Forsyth

A LOCAL group took part in a national event highlighting activities for people with disabilities.

During its session on Monday (November 27), Forres, Nairn and District Riding for the Disabled (RDA) celebrated the inaugural Scottish Disability Sport Week - a week of events designed to highlight the impact physical activity can have on those with disabilities.

Incoming chairwoman of Forres, Nairn and District RDA Emma Gregg agrees that everyone can participate in physical activity or sport in a way that suits them.

She said: “The campaign highlights opportunities available across the country and we are very pleased to highlight the benefits of physical activity for those with disabilities.

"Safe and managed contact with animals brings real benefits to children with physical, medical, sensory, learning and autism issues. Physical benefits include improved movement, core strength, balance, flexibility and suppleness.

"Riders with learning disabilities, developmental delays, and conditions such as Down’s Syndrome, show increased confidence, communication skills, self-esteem and a general sense of wellbeing. Children with autism-related conditions become calmer and less anxious.”

Forres, Nairn and District RDA provides free, weekly, term time therapeutic riding sessions and ground-based horse care.

Up to 32 children at a time attend sessions, selected by staff at schools to benefit from contact with specially trained ponies, coached by RDA UK instructors and supported by volunteers. Many activities allow children to succeed in ways they cannot in school.

Forres RDA does not charge riders or schools despite each session costing just under £700 per week. The group does not receive any external funding and covers its expenditure through active fundraising.

Kyla Mantilla Ross on her pony Wiz.
Kyla Mantilla Ross on her pony Wiz.

Ms Gregg said: “We see what a difference we make. The children look forward to riding, they smile and they make us smile! Indoor sessions are equally valid to promote the different ways in which those with disabilities benefit from contact with ponies - for example, attendees learn grooming and pony management.

"Scottish Disability Sport Week is about demonstrating the benefits of physical activity. Local girl Kyla Mantilla Ross excelled in dressage during 2022, winning every RDA championship in the UK for her grade, and has since gone on to compete as a senior. She is a shining example of what is possible.”

For more information visit https://www.facebook.com/p/RDA-Forres-Nairn-Group-100064655442963/

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