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Breadalbane and District Riding for the Disabled Association Seek Volunteers

The Breadalbane and District Riding for the Disabled Association, who will be celebrating their 30th anniversary in September, are looking for volunteers to help them continue their great work.

They provide sessions once a week for disabled children recommended from the local schools, to come along, ride ponies and learn about their care. With the children able to earn grades and certificates to show their progress.

Helen McDade the deputy chair explains “it’s about enjoyment first and foremost, it is about helping them gain skills, but it’s very much about introducing them to something that most of them have not done at all before, and them gaining confidence and they just love the interaction with the ponies.

“Even ones who are scared at the beginning. The group has had children come who maybe wouldn’t even go near a pony the first few weeks. But they came back and came back and once they got on, they got on the pony and with the help and support of the volunteers and the careers who bring them, they just start to love it.”

Volunteers play a vital role in the running and provision of these sessions. They don’t need experience with ponies as there is a lot of ways to help, from setting up, putting jump equipment and blocks out, to helping the children into their protective gear, leading the ponies, and walking alongside.

There are also other ways to help with fundraising at the thrift shop in Aberfeldy or at the show, being a member of the board or even helping to run and maintain the associations social media pages.

It’s not just the children who can work towards a grade, but the volunteers can develop and gain coaching courses, Helen McDade the deputy chair of the association, has done this while being involved and is now one of the two qualified coaches, while others are training.

On the 19th of September 2022 the club will celebrate its 30th anniversary after being set up in 1992, at Tomtayewen farm near Aberfeldy, by Commander David and Mrs Liz Lines and Breadalbane Academy staff members Wayne Barratt and Ann Towns.In 2012 it moved to its current home at Knockdarroch, near Pitlochry.

During the celebrations rosettes will be given out for long services with Chair of the association and coach Jennifer Valentine having been the from the start.  

If anyone is interesting in volunteering in any capacity, they can contact Jennifer Valentine on 01796 474444 or at valentinejennifer95@gmail.com.

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