Carriage Driving has been a part of RDA since 1975 and is particularly useful for people who are unable to ride due to their disability or prefer a different kind of challenge. Many of the benefits of riding are also relevant to carriage driving; it helps to improve coordination and balance and gives the disabled driver a wonderful sense of freedom being out in the open air with a pony.
The ponies used are all assessed for safety and suitability, as are the volunteers (RDA Whips) who sit beside them in the carriage with a second set of reins so that they can give assistance where needed. The carriages are especially designed to carry wheelchairs if necessary. Every time a disabled driver is taken out they are accompanied by at least two volunteers.
Drivers can progress in the same way as the riders, many, due to their disability, just go for pleasure drives around the countryside and if they are unable to hold the reins the RDA Whip sitting beside them will do the driving. Often it is the only time these participants are able to go out in the open air.
Other participants are taught to drive and are encouraged to compete in RDA competitions and open shows where there is a suitable class for them. Classes include showing, dressage, cones and obstacle driving. There are also grade tests that can be taken.
Some drivers progress out of RDA and attend training days and go on to compete internationally.
Find out how you can take part in a wide variety of RDA activities, including therapy and socialising.
Learn how dressage can help RDA riders, including improving balance, control, mobility and memory.
Find your nearest RDA South East region group, including contact details and the number of spaces available.