Riders show off in five-day ride

2017-10-17 06:01

The South African Riding for the Disabled Association (Sarda) in Brommersvlei Road, Constantia is again hosting the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) Countryside Challenge in Africa.

It started yesterday and will continue until Friday.

All of Sarda Cape Town’s 200 children and adults living with disabilities will be participating in it from 09:00 to noon and 14:00 to 17:00.

Sarda was established according to the principles of the British RDA and offers free therapeutic riding lessons to children and adults living with physical and learning disabilities.

Sarda was established in 1973 by Belinda Sampson and Joy Finlay to give children and adults living with disabilities the opportunity to take free therapeutic horse riding lessons. After its inception, Sarda Cape Town grew from five riders to 200 riders a week currently, as well as two satellite branches: Sleepy Hollow in Noordhoek and Sarda in Sedgefield.

The five-day event drew the attention of African Bank. It was so successful last year that the bank pledged to sponsor more than 200 children and adults at Sarda on an annual basis.

Brian Riley, CEO of African Bank, said at the official launch of the event in Constantia last year that he hoped the event would continue on an annual basis.

A former African Bank staff member, Stacey Baisitse, who has a 13-year-old nephew suffering from cerebral palsy, has witnessed first-hand the benefits of this kind of therapy and initiated the challenge to help support Sarda in some way. What started out as a small involvement has grown into a meaningful sponsorship of the five-day event.

Bee Lukey, spokesperson of Sarda, explains that the competition gives Sarda riders the opportunity to show off the skills they have learnt in their therapeutic riding classes in front of members of the public.

“The confidence that every rider develops through this therapy and the recognition achieved by participating in an event in front of an audience are a pinnacle of the hard work achieved at Sarda and spill into the lives of the communities the riders live in,” says Lukey.

Riley says they are happy to be associated with the event.

“Our community involvement through our Community Champion Awards speaks directly to the bank’s value of empathy and we were looking for initiatives that could really show our commitment to changing the communities around us. We already have a comprehensive CSI programme in place through our development trust and ad-hoc projects that are encouraged at branch level, but we wanted to include another leg. We challenged branches to join the executives in identifying projects that require financial rescue but fall outside of the bank’s geographical mandate.

“We applaud Sarda for the incredible work they do and encourage everyone to come and support these riders and witness the therapy in motion.”

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