Don’t let a disability stop you from taking the reins

Posted on: 9th February, 2015

Category: Health & Lifestyle

Contributor: West Cork People

Qualified Therapeutic Riding Coach, Sandra Schmidt, is dedicating some of her free time to giving free carriage driving lessons to disabled people. Based in Bantry, Sandra has acquired a special wheelchair carriage on loan from the Riding for the Disabled Association Ireland (RDAI).

“In my work as a therapeutic riding coach, I see how an activity, particularly one that is outdoors, can help and empower someone with a disability.

“The gentle rocking motion in the carriage as you drive down a quiet country road is really relaxing for the person and being outdoors in a natural environment with natural noises and sensations eases stress levels.

“Sitting up straight and holding the reins is excellent for improving fine motor skills and co-ordination. Posture and balance is also enhanced. There is also a lot of brain work involved; you have to consider where you want to go and how to turn the horse,” explains Sandra.

“A person’s self-confidence and motivation to learn can be greatly benefitted by doing an activity like this in a safe and supportive environment.”

There will be four volunteers on hand for each riding session. Anyone interested in participating or in helping out can contact Sandra on 087 9389867.

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