A charity that helps people living with additional needs enjoy horse riding fears a shortage of volunteers may force it to close.
The Buchan branch of the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) has provided riding opportunities to vulnerable children and adults for more than 35 years.
Parents, families, teachers and carers can all see at first-hand the benefits of riding as a form of regular exercise.
The service is labour intensive, however, with as many as three helpers needed to enable one person to ride.
And now the group, based at Ladymire Equestrian Centre, just south of Ellon, is urgently appealing for volunteers to ensure sessions can continue to be run safely.
The group has said it is “struggling to provide the level of support needed to make the experience a safe and positive one for riders,” adding that the success of the service is entirely dependent on input from volunteers.
A training session is to take place on Thursday August 29, between 10.30am and noon, which the group hopes will attract new helpers.
Buchan RDA’s riding sessions take place in school hours during term time, and the group is hoping to hear from anyone interested in helping out, whether retired, working part-time, or shift or offshore workers.
While some previous experience of horses is useful, it is not essential.
A volunteer with the group said: “Being involved with RDA is a great way to keep fit.
“We reckon on walking about a mile every hour and trotting is totally optional for helpers.
“It is really rewarding to see riders grow in confidence and improve in so many ways.”
She added that Buchan RDA also welcomes input from anyone interested in fundraising for the charity.
“It’s not just about working with horses and riders,” she said.
“Any help in any way, shape or form can make a big difference.
“We hope that a fresh intake of volunteers will help secure the group’s future and see it go from strength-to-strength.”
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