Two disability organisations have signed a memorandum of understanding to promote and develop the sport of equestrian for people with learning disabilities.
Special Olympics Great Britain, which provides sports training and competition for children and adults with learning disabilities, and the Riding Association for the Disabled (RDA), the national governing body of equestrian for disabled people in the UK, have signed the deal to work together to promote equestrianism and increase opportunities in the sport for people with a learning disability.
The RDA currently has 500 member groups and more than 30,000 riders and carriage drivers – of whom more than half are people with learning disabilities. Special Olympics GB has 8,000 athletes in 135 groups throughout England, Scotland and Wales and a comparatively fledgling equestrian programme with 136 riders.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for us to expand our equestrian programme and align ourselves with the RDA,” said Special Olympics GB’s chief executive Karen Wallin. “Both organisations cater to all ability-levels and encourage and empower individuals with disabilities to be the best that they can be.”
Ed Bracher, chief executive of the RDA, added: “Special Olympics fits brilliantly into our current strategic plan to ensure that we offer the greatest possible number of opportunities to our participants to compete against other riders at all levels. This dynamic partnership will help to create a far-reaching pathway for our riders to compete in international competitions. It makes good horse sense!”
Special Olympics riders are banded into divisions based on ability level, age and gender to create a fair competition based on ability not disability.