Members of the Riding for the Disabled Association Ireland meet Irish Show Jumping Aga Khan squad on eve of the Dublin Horse Show at the RDS

  • 8 August 2017, 17:49

With just one day to go before the start of the 2017 Dublin Horse Show at the RDS, members of the Irish Show Jumping Aga Khan squad (sponsored by The Underwriting Exchange and Devenish) and team manager Rodrigo Pessoa, were today joined by members of the Riding for the Disabled Association Ireland (RDAI) at the RDS Simmonscourt Arena to raise awareness of the work carried out by RDAI and the services they offer.

Cian O’Connor, Chef d’Equipe Rodrigo Pessoa and Bertram Allen meet Oisin O’Connell, age 7, from Clashmore, Co Waterford, in attendance as Members of the Irish Show Jumping Aga Khan squad support the Riding for the Disabled Association Ireland at RDS Simmonscourt arena in Ballsbridge, Dublin. (Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile)¬†

Speaking at the event, Frankie Griffin from the Riding for the Disabled Association Ireland said:

“We were very kindly invited here today by Horse Sport Ireland and Taylor Vard who put this all together and our riders were so excited. They are well aware of our Show Jumpers. Our riders will ride about once a week. We are trying to raise awareness of the work we do in the RDAI and to stress that we are a 100% voluntary organization. No one gets paid in our organisation which I think is important to get across. We are always very welcome to get a few bob. Most of our groups raise their own money for tack or an outing to keep things ticking over. The Equestrian Centres very kindly let us ride their horses on the days that they are not open.”

When asked where people can get more information on the services involved or for people who would like to help out Frankie added,

“We have a very good website www.rdai.org and we are always looking for volunteers. You don’t have to be involved in horses to help out as we have a very good training system and our instructors are upgraded every two years. We will be doing a demonstration on Saturday here at the Dublin Horse Show in Ring 1 at 1pm for anyone coming to the show.”

Bertram Allen takes a selfie of he and team-mate Cian O’Connor and new Chef d’Equipe Rodrigo Pessoa with, from left, Oisin O’Connell, age 7, from Clashmore, Co Waterford, Lynn Frain, from Mullingar, Co Westmeath, Niamh Carolan, from Navan, Co Meath, Stephen Power, from Dungarvin, Co Waterford, and Gemma Haire, age 17, from Inistioge, Co Kilkenny, in attendance as Members of the Irish Show Jumping Aga Khan squad support the Riding for the Disabled Association Ireland at RDS Simmonscourt arena in Ballsbridge, Dublin. Photo by Cody Glenn/Sportsfile

London Olympic Bronze Meddalist Cian O’Connor said:

“We are delighted to support in anyway we can. The kids are all excited for their big day on Saturday and we wish them all the very best.”

Cian O’Connor pictured with Lynn Frain, from Mullingar, Co Westmeath, in attendance as Members of the Irish Show Jumping Aga Khan squad support the Riding for the Disabled Association Ireland at RDS Simmonscourt arena in Ballsbridge, Dublin. Photo by Cody Glenn/Sportsfile

One of the organizers of the event, Taylor Vard from Horse Sport Ireland’s Show Jumping High Performance committee said:

“We looked into various different charities and there are so many good ones out there, but the one we felt was the best fit for us was the Riding for the Disabled Association because of the horse connection. We understand what is involved in working with horses and the time that’s put in. We felt this was something we could help raise awareness of – not only for the kids that are involved with the Riding For The Disabled but also for the helpers and the carers that have to put in the long hours. Today is a busy day at the Dublin Horse Show with the trot-up and preparations. We really appreciate the effort our riders made to attend.”

Ireland’s top-ranking international rider Bertram Allen added:

“It was lovely to meet the kids today and you can see how much it means to them. We are delighted to help in any way to raise awareness of the fantastic work done by the RDAI.”

Irish Chef d’Equipe Rodrigo Pessoa meets Gemma Haire, age 17, from Inistioge, Co Kilkenny, in attendance as Members of the Irish Show Jumping Aga Khan squad support the Riding for the Disabled Association Ireland at RDS Simmonscourt arena in Ballsbridge, Dublin. Photo by Cody Glenn/Sportsfile¬†

About the Riding for the Disabled Association Ireland
The Riding for the Disabled Association Ireland (RDAI) is an Irish voluntary organisation which offers the opportunity of therapeutic and recreational Riding or Carriage Driving to any person with a physical or intellectual disability. More than 50 groups nationally provide weekly lessons, free of charge, to almost 700 disabled people.

Groups meet in working hours, using local equestrian centres with good wheelchair access and the availability of suitable horses and ponies, for the teaching of a sport on horseback to a disabled person. Each group has its own committee, which comprises of group organiser, riding instructor, therapist (where available), and a number of voluntary helpers.

The organisation just would not exist without its volunteers. RDAI values the tremendous voluntary commitment of over 600 people who help run the groups each week.

The aim of RDAI is to improve the general health and wellbeing, and broaden the social horizons of people with special needs in a fun and safe environment, thus empowering them to reach their maximum potential.

It has been scientifically proven that children and vulnerable adults who work closely with RDAI horses and volunteers benefit by improved fitness, mobility, balance and coordination, as well as self-esteem and social skills.

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