Westmorland RDA Group holds a riding session for six to twelve year-olds on Monday afternoons from September to December and April to July at Holmescales Riding Centre near Old Hutton, Kendal. We have the use of the indoor and outdoor schools and, during good weather, we ride out on farm tracks and bridleways.

We have three half hour lessons offering therapeutic riding to eighteen children with varying physical and learning additional needs. The children gain many benefits from the sessions but most of all they have fun.

We run Stable days at Witherslack Equestrian Centre during the summer and take part in RDA Regional competitions.

The sessions are run by a team of dedicated volunteers who have an ongoing training programme to ensure the safety of the sessions. Our instructors are regularly assessed by the RDA Regional Instructor.

Summer stable days

With an army of volunteer helpers, parents and grandparents, we are able to offer two stable days at Witherslack Equestrian Centre during the summer holidays. We are made very welcome by Deana, John and their team and make good use of their newly refurbished classroom equipped with tables, chairs, books, a horse drawn onto the wall, in fact all things relating to horses and riding. But not forgetting the most important urn for all the cups of tea and coffee. Yes, we do consume a fair amount in between activities!

Many thanks go to everyone who takes the time out to enable these days to happen come rain or shine.

If you would like to join our wonderful team, please visit our Volunteering page.


Each week we give our eighteen riders the amazing opportunity to take part in an activity which brings many challenges and benefits.

There are significant physical effects from therapeutic riding. The warmth and three dimensional movement of the horse is transmitted through the rider’s body gradually making it more relaxed and supple, strengthening core stability, reducing spasms and allowing improved balance, posture and coordination.

Riding can also have strong recreational and psychological benefits: freedom of movement, increased confidence and self- esteem, taking control, decision making, building relationships and improving communication skills.

For those riders who are not actively learning to ride, the sensory input they are experiencing is equally valuable. What other activity stimulates so many of our senses? The most important effect is that our riders are having fun while all this is going on!

For these effects to happen the horse needs to be walking actively, engaging its hind quarters. This is why it is so important to allow the horse to warm up before we get the riders mounted and throughout the lesson to ensure that the horse does not switch off and shuffle around the school.

To ensure the riders are safe, have fun and gain all these beneficial effects we need a great team to support them. From fitting the hats to tacking up, leading and side-walking, coaching and all the other activities that go on behind the scenes. So thanks to everyone for turning up week after week. We couldn’t do it without you.

Evelyn Gavin Stott

Lead coach