In 1999 Wirral Riding for the Disabled merged with the Chester Waverton Group and became Wirral and Chester Riding for the Disabled and in common with other groups became an Independent Member of the Federation in April 1999. Both groups started in 1969 at the very beginning of the now international movement.
We won the Queens Award for Voluntary Service in 2003.
In the year ending March 2017 we gave 3,717 rides with 219 riders from the Wirral and Chester area. They range in age from 5 upwards.
We operate from Wirral Riding Centre in Ness.
Our riders have many different problems. They may suffer from physical or mental disabilities and sometimes both in varying degrees. They come from Special Schools, Hospitals, Training Centres and Residential Homes and those out in the community are brought by parents, friends and carers. Sometimes we provide the only recreation they have.
Our task is to put in place practical facilities to enable them to enjoy the medically recognised advantages of riding. Many are in wheelchairs so that for just a short time each week they are just like their able bodied friends (sometimes more capable!). They can look down on us all, rather than permanently looking up. They can see over hedges. With the use of the horse's legs they can run. They are independent. You only have to watch the expression on their faces. They are always smiling and very rarely grumble.
As well as the usual rides we take six riders on what is now an almost annual holiday to the Clwyd Special Riding Centre for four days of hard work and lots of fun and good food. During the summer we also take other riders to Clwyd for a ride in the glorious countryside and a picnic lunch.
We have 120 helpers (and more would be welcome!). Everyone, including our administrators, is an unpaid volunteer. Our expenses, apart from insurance are virtually nil. All money goes to pay for the necessary special equipment for the safety and comfort of our riders and little extras to make life more fun and on the riding school fees which we receive at reduced rates.
We have to raise on average £30,000 per annum to cover expenditure. See the Donations & Legacies page to see how you can help.
Our riders deserve all the help we can give them; life is not always fair. We, the lucky ones, learn so much from them.
Prof. Derek Knottenbelt OBE BVM&S DVM&S DipECEIM MRCVS
Sonja Nixon (Ride Organiser)
Louise Buss (New Helper Contact / Holiday Organiser)
Jane Langdon (Treasurer)
Sheila Saner (Regional Chairman & Deputy Chairman of RDA UK)
Patsy Baker (County & Group Physiotherapist)