On Friday, 3 August, SARDA celebrated a momentous day – the official opening of its undercover arena. “This is a very emotional day,” said Tracy Cumming. “This has been a big dream of mine for so long.”
“The roof offers so many wonderful experiences – from the sound of rain on the roof to seeing the horses outside,” said Fiona Muhl, SARDA chairperson.
SARDA aims to improve the quality of life for children with special needs through, physical, cognitive, social and emotional benefits associated with therapeutic horse riding, and the effects are astonishing.
One boy, who relied on a walker to get around, gained confidence after his sessions on the ponies and eventually abandoned it entirely.
Horse riding therapy is beneficial in so many ways, from teaching awareness of the body to building core strength and continuing cognitive learning. These lessons are often more effective than in the classroom, as the sessions are fun and non-threatening.
Fiona, Tracy and their team of volunteers work with a range of children, from those with autism to muscular dystrophy and other disabilities. The transformation when these children are relaxed on the ponies is astonishing. Muscles relax, smiles appear and those who are unable to talk suddenly find their voices.
This is a group of people who are transforming lives – for no monetary return. If you’d like to get involved or to find out more, visit www.sardadurban.org.za