Rinding for the Disabled, (RDA) at Southern Equestrian Centre


SEC (12 of 18)


We have a riding school and livery stables in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. It has been operating for 12 years, and up to now we have taught conventional, classic English style riding for people who want to ride competitively or just for fun.

There are two of us teaching, Aileen Johnstone is a qualified instructor, she qualified in Kent, England. I am qualified as a Veterinary Nurse, I received this qualification at Onderstepoort Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, South Africa. Although we currently teach classical English riding, we would really like to get involved with Therapeutic Riding, as we feel there is a great need for this in Zimbabwe. Both of us have been involved with Riding for the Disabled at a centre in Harare which used to offer this service many years ago, and in Pretoria, so we understand what is required and how it works.

SEC (9 of 18)


Currently we teach five orphans from the Sandra Jones Centre in Bulawayo. This is the maximum amount we can carry ourselves, but we would love to get the funding for more orphans, as well as the mentally and physically challenged children. We have enclosed a couple of photos of these children riding, and a letter we received from the Sandra Jones Centre. We really would like to help more such children. They really benefit from this type of therapy and interaction with animals.

King George VI Rehabilitation Centre in Bulawayo is currently working with us, and brings 6 children to us, twice a week = 24 sessions a month.  We can take 6 children at a time, currently, but we could repeat this number up to four times a day. The children benefit tremendously and of course there is the added relief to their families and carers as the therapy takes effect.

SEC (14 of 18)


Riding is a very therapeutic sport, the interaction with another being which is not human, gives such confidence to both mentally and physically challenged children, and the difference you see in these children is amazing, in as short a time as six weeks. (Actually we had our first session with the KGVI kids yesterday, and it was truly amazing to see the difference in them in just half an hour. The spasmed muscles of these children suffering from cerebral palsy were significantly relaxed after just ten minutes on the horse, and the smiles on their faces were pure joy to look at.) The movement of the horse simulates the movement of a human pelvis when we are walking, and so there is a gentle exercise and movement of the child’s muscles which they are physically unable to achieve on their own. We exercise their core muscles and develop hand eye co ordination, using a variety of exercises. We will be working closely in conjunction with the therapists at King George.

SEC (15 of 18)


As far as we know no other riding establishment in Zimbabwe offers this service, and it is a service which is sorely needed in any community, and one which would benefit our Bulawayo community greatly. We have also approached the Riverside Stimulation Centre to ask them to work with us as well.

Please would you consider this extremely worthwhile project, there are so many children in Bulawayo who would benefit from this form of therapy. It is truly amazing to see the change, physically, mentally and emotionally in the children enrolled in the program. Their confidence also literally grows as we watch. We are really looking forward to contributing to the children’s well being, and the community, in this way.


Our funding breakdown is noted at the end of this letter. The total funding required for the programme for one year is $11,550.

Note A: $15 per child x 20 children per week x 36 weeks = $10,800

Our costs per child per lesson is $15. This takes into account part of the costs of the ponies upkeep, the extra staff required per child, as well as supplying juice and a snack after the sessions.

This will cover the cost of the ponies, as I’m sure you know they are expensive animals to keep. We will rely on volunteers to support the children on either side of the pony as we work with them. Our staff lead the 6 ponies, so there are three helpers per rider, as well as Aileen and myself supervising and guiding.

Note B: Fuel for KGVI is worked out at 40c per km, x 26 km (13km each way), 36 weeks x 2 x per week, = $748.80, rounded off to $750 for a year.

$10,800 + $750 =  Total funding required: $11,550.

Many thanks, please feel free to ask questions about this enterprise. We have enclosed photos and supporting letters.


Jill BurgessSEC (13 of 18)

If you would like to donate please contact info@reachouttohorses.com for more information!


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