RDA Reflection 3 – 29th Nov 2019

The round of patients have ended their 10 week session cycle so this week we just went to RDA to learn more about RDA as an association and some of the common conditions of our riders. I think I really gained a lot more this experience, firstly through working with disabled children, this really developed my communication skills and sensitivity as to being very observant to how my rider reacts and also just being mindful of how I talk to them, how to phrase my sentences etc. Another thing that I was quite concerned with at first was being able to go every week on a Friday afternoon from 3-5:30, however, as I got into it, this was barely a problem as I was quite motivated to go to every session. It was evident that the riders really enjoyed each and every session which really gave me a sense of achievement. RDA has truly taught me a lot of communication and really opened up my eyes to therapeutic riding. I was really quite impressed by the effectiveness of animal therapy that I wasn’t really convinced by at the beginning. There was a patient with autism that I work with once and although he avoided eye contact with people, you could visibly see his interest in the horse and the cats on site. He was very gentle and you could really feel a sense of connection and care that perhaps we cannot understand as it is almost impossible to really empathise with them. In addition, each rider had visible physical improvements as well since their first session, as we have a debrief session at the end of each riding session, we could see how our feedback has changed during this few weeks and I found it quite impactful to me emotionally. Making me more aware of the marginalised population that is often hidden in the community around me.

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