Today was the first session at the RDA where we were not working with the kids and we were actually going through our training session and we had received a certificate for completing our first grade of being a “sidewalker”. We learned a lot more about the service and how it was beneficial to the disabled in the country.
Actual facts about RDA:
RDA was inspired by Madam Liz Hartel who was a Danish polio sufferer in the 1940s who won a silver medal in the Olympics for dressage in 1952. RDA is now all around the world and provides free therapeutic riding to children and adults with disabilities (which could benefit them in the Paralympics). Riding the horses are known as “therapeutic riding”. The movement of the horse is therapeutic as it helps the riders balance, coordination, muscle tone, increased self-confidence, improved circulation, respiration, mobility and communication. ‘
Something new that I realized today is that RDA and UWC have very similar values. RDA’s values are having a sense of passion, professionalism, people and partnership and in other words, passion, self-awareness, collaboration and critical thinking.
Personally, I think that this service is one of the best services we’ve had yet because we are able to link so many of our subjects as well as personal experiences with this activity. An example would be some of my family friends who have children with similar disabilities like the children from the service. I’ve never actually properly interacted with them, mainly because they live so far away and I genuinely have very little time to spend with them. This service actually allows me to understand their disability through a different lens. Even though I am not necessarily with them, I am still able to understand them better through an experience which opens my eyes and makes me understand the disability. By learning about the disability in this service, when I meet my family friends I will actually be able to spend that time more effectively in comparison to when I didn’t know anything about the disability or how to deal with it. Another example would be that as a child, I grew up in an environment very similar to UWC’s while I was in India. I was raised around horses and other animals in a very vast green open space. However, I remember very little of that experience since I was only 4 years old. So I have taken this opportunity to use this service as a link between my childhood and my personal relationships.
Some other things we went through again today were the rules and regulations of being a sidewalker. Being a sidewalker is a leadership position as the sidewalker is taking full responsibility of the rider and must help and support the rider from doing anything rash around the arena:
- The sidewalker is responsible for the rider
- Sidewalker’s are required to stay with the rider until the session is over and the riders are with their carer
- Make sure to place the helmets onto the riders (don’t hurt them)
- It is important to wait for the instructor before telling the riders to do anything
- Practice stretching with the riders on the mats
- No walking behind the horse because it can be dangerous and it is a bad example for the rider