Scotland’s biggest Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) group is fighting for survival due to a dispute with its landlord.
Bannockburn RDA — based at the Sauchieburn Centre, Stirling — is at the end of a one-mile drive, which has become impassable except by 4×4 vehicles due to potholes.
There are now legal proceedings between the group and landowner William Roddie regarding the costs of repairing the drive.
The group claims that after it made temporary repairs to the drive, “estate workers were seen removing them, making it unsafe”.
RDA coach Helen Kallow told H&H that numbers have dropped from 200 riders per week to 20, affecting income.
“If we can’t afford to keep the horses, we’ll have to fold,” she added. “We have facilities to train riders for the Special Olympics and Paralympics — which smaller groups can’t offer.”
Gemma Lumsdaine, 16, has ridden at Bannockburn since she was 3 and is aiming for the Paralympics. She has cerebral palsy and is classified as a grade Ia rider.
“I’ll push her wheelchair up and down the drive if my car can’t get through the potholes,” said her mother Sally.
Lyn Dumbleton, 29, has been selected for next year’s Special Olympics.
“That’s now under threat because where would Lyn train?” said her father Paul.
The RDA said the group has made an “extraordinary effort” to keep going.
H&H tried to contact Mr Roddie but had no response.
First published in the Horse & Hound on 15 May 2014.