Children win riding gongs for disabled

Oxford Mail: Evelyn Bracey speaks with eight-year-old Fitzwaryn School pupil, Brendon Frankum Evelyn Bracey speaks with eight-year-old Fitzwaryn School pupil, Brendon Frankum

DISABLED children from Wantage are cantering towards success after receiving awards for horse riding.

Seven riders from the Wantage group of Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) have been awarded their grade one certificates.

The youngsters, aged between five and six, today received their first awards on Tuesday from the charity in a special ceremony during their lesson.

It means that they have shown that they can ride with confidence, and have learned the basics in horse management.

The young jockeys performed for an external examiner, who judged their riding and knowledge of horses.

To receive the award, the children had to show they could confidently ride with independence, as well as being able to identify points on the horses and riding equipment.

Horse riding teacher Evelyn Bracey, who lives near Wantage, said: “Even if they ride with a leader, they need to show they can control the horse.”

The children, from Fitzwaryn School, have a range of physical and learning disabilities.

They have weekly lessons with the charity, where they learn to trot and canter with support from volunteers.

Mrs Bracey said: “Riding helps these children get physical exercise, which helps their upper body strength and balance.

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“As well as that, they feel more confident, and it can help with behavioural problems.”

The 61-year-old said that she has been involved with RDA for more than 20 years.

She said: “It’s just great teaching the kids. When a child has a serious disability and you see that smile, you think: ‘Yeah, that’s really lovely’.

“You get a real buzz.”

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