I originally was looking for voluntary work as a part of my Duke of Edinburgh bronze award. I had to do this for 3 months to achieve my award. I knew I wanted to work with animals as I aspire to work with animals in the future.
I asked at the Riding for Disabled Association in Crosby in February 2016, I started going on a Tuesday night from 4-8:30. Since I have 9 years of experience with horses I knew most of what was required such as bring them in from the field, grooming, tacking the horses up, mucking out the stables, filling up haynets and making up feeds. New skills I learnt included how to deal with children/young adults with many different disabilities whether they be physical or learning also how to teach them to ride giving consideration to their own unique personalities.
As you can imagine this was pretty difficult as normal teaching methods wouldn’t work with a child with autism for example, so you would have to find out different ways to communicate effectively with them.
After a few weeks I got the opportunity to not only still be involved in all the riding lessons that occurred but also have my own rider who I taught. I taught him to ride and build his confidence again after having a scary fall earlier in the year. I showed him how to properly care for Rio the horse that was assigned to him.
In summer I was asked if I would be a groom for the horses at the RDA reginal competition where the Crosby centre was competing against the whole of the North West. I made sure the horses were properly looked after and made sure all the riders were well prepared. It was a long and tiring 18 hour day however well worth it as many of the riders got through to the finals.
I continued with RDA for 18 months until I had to unfortunately give it up as GCSEs were approaching and I had after school revision most nights. While I was there I feel like I became more understanding of disabled people and improved myself in ways that I wouldn’t have anywhere else.