Della recently saw an ad in the local paper asking for 'sidewalker' volunteers at the Therapeutic Riding Association.
This is a local group, which initially started as a back yard pleasure riding session for three challenged high school students. Over the years the group of dedicated volunteers built up the association, and became a registered society in 1989.
They are members of CanTRA, Canadian Therapeutic Riding Association, and BCTRA, British Columbia Therapeutic Riding Association.
I have been involved with Driving for the Disabled, affiliated to the RDA, Riding for the disabled, in the UK, and was keen to help out here if possible.
An orientation session was organised for Tuesday 26th January. 18 new volunteers turned up for the session, which was a really good turn out. We were shown the routine, from when a client enters the barn, whilst they are riding and then to facilitate them leaving the arena.
It was very interesting, and everyone was very friendly.
Safety is paramount.
I learnt that the horse's movement provides the same sensory input as the movement of a normal human gait.
The act of riding improves strength in muscles, especially posture, and this improves balance and co-ordination.
Self - esteem is improved as well as confidence.
The rider can also feel a sense of independence with this exercise in the form of fun.
we learnt what our responsibilities would be as a volunteer and what to do when we met the rider.
Safety and barn rules were explained to us.
I left the barn looking forward to the coming week when I would be able to meet the riders.