Here at Beatlie School, we are lucky to have a good partnership with the RDA where our pupils have access to horse riding on a weekly basis throughout each school year.
Some of our pupils access horse riding at Ravelrig RDA in Balerno. One of the teachers at Beatlie is a volunteer coach there so most of the pupils know Pauline. The pupils have a block of lasting a term and usually have the opportunity to go twice during the school session. They travel by bus from school to Balerno on a Wednesday morning. There are usually 4 or 5 pupils attend each week and ride the RDA ponies and horses called Tonto, Toby, Buddie, Oreo or Teemo and Thumper. Usually the ponies and horses wear a sheepskin or a special sheepskin saddle for the pupil to sit on. A regular saddle blocks some of the movement from the pony to the pupil so it is more beneficial for the pupil to have a good Physio session while taking part in something they enjoy. The movement from the pony or horse challenges their balance more and they have to work hard to keep themselves in the middle. They also enjoy looking at the trees and into the gardens as they ride through the woods and past the houses. They have a great view from their vantage point! Each pupil has a member of staff from Beatlie walking beside them and have a RDA helper leading the pony or horse and some pupils have another RDA helper walking beside them on the other side.
The pupils learn to tolerate wearing a riding helmet and use their bodies to sit up straight on their pony. They also sometimes play games where they have to get a piece of the pony's grooming kit from a games post and take it to another games post. Sometimes they walk their pony or horse over poles on the ground or they choose which of the dressage markers to ride to. There is even one with a Bee on it so we call it the Beatlie Bee! Most of the pupils' favourite activity is to have a wee trot on their pony or horse as we see lots of smiles and hear some giggles as they are bounced a bit on the pony's back while the helpers run beside them with a firm hold.
After their horse riding the pupils sit at the table in the clubroom for their well deserved snack before heading back to school.