One of the joys of being around horses is getting out in the fresh air, and what better way to enjoy the great outdoors than in a horse-drawn carriage. Carriage driving has been a core part of RDA life for over 40 years, offering disabled people the chance to learn the skill of driving and explore idyllic country lanes and tracks at a comfortable pace.
At competition level, RDA carriage driving is a fast-paced race against the clock, in and out of cones and gates, testing the speed, agility and balance of both pony and driver.
Ponies like Sweetpea here give a huge amount of pleasure to RDA’s carriage drivers. They are specially trained to pull the carriage and most work to simple voice commands such as “walk on”, “trot on”, and “whoa” to slow down. Across RDA there are around 1,440 people with disabilities who take part in carriage driving.
Driving delivers a wide range of benefits for people with disabilities of all kinds, particularly where that disability restricts mobility. Driving has been shown to improve co-ordination, muscle strength, balance and overall wellbeing. In addition, there are those familiar benefits that all drivers will acknowledge: making friends, learning a new skill, boosting self-confidence and having fun!