Horsley, Bookham & Leatherhead Riding for the Disabled Association (HB&L RDA) – the life-changing charity that provides therapeutic horse-riding sessions for children and young adults with disabilities – has introduced a new event that will, for the first time, provide fulfilling and enriching experiences with horses to local people living with dementia or other similar conditions.
The first ‘Tea with a Pony’ was held on 30 June when HB&L RDA welcomed residents of The Beeches care home in Leatherhead to their new facility at Badgers Farm, Effingham. Residents and their carers enjoyed tea and cake and, helped by the charity’s trained volunteers, met some of the charity’s special ponies. The non-ridden sensory and therapeutic session has been developed for adults affected by dementia, Alzheimer’s and also for people recovering from a stroke.
PHOTO CREDIT: Thank you to Jump into Focus Photography who kindly donated their time and services to capture these magical moments.
For more than 40 years, HB&L RDA has delivered transformative riding sessions for younger people with disabilities, and witnessing the benefits, the charity wanted to extend its services to support older people living in its local community.
Commenting, Sheri Johnson, Chair of Horsley, Bookham & Leatherhead RDA, said:
“Bringing ‘Tea with a Pony’ to our charity was the next step for us reaching more of our local community to provide support in both ridden and non-ridden experiences. We currently have over 90 riders join us each week to receive the physical and emotional benefits of riding. ‘Tea with a Pony’ brings the mental and emotional benefit to people who cannot ride but can still benefit from being around these intuitive and loving creatures.”
“Our first ‘Tea with a Pony’ was a great success. The ladies from Beeches Care home thoroughly spoilt Elvis with carrots and loads of strokes and kisses. It was wonderful to see the impact the ponies had to reignite some old memories and feelings from their past. Seeing the difference these ponies have on these ladies was incredibly fulfilling. Everyone had such a nice time, we can’t wait to do another one.”
Michelle, The Beeches care home manager, said:
"Everyone said what a wonderful time they had, one of our residents said it was lovely being back in a farm environment again and watching another resident sing to the pony was beautiful."
HB&L RDA is reliant upon volunteers to deliver its service. With a long waiting list, the charity is encouraging members of the public to consider volunteering which will allow many more young people living with a disability in the local community – and, through ‘Tea with a Pony’, people living with dementia or similar conditions – to benefit. To find out more: hblrda.co.uk/volunteering
For further information about HB&L RDA: hblrda.co.uk