South African Riding for the Disabled Association S.A.R.D.A. was established in Cape Town in 1973 by Belinda Sampson and Joy Finlay. Today there are additional branches at Sleepy Hollow in Cape Town and in Durban, Port Elizabeth, George and in Gauteng.
SARDA is affiliated to the RDA in the United Kingdom and the Federation for Disabled Riding International.
SARDA’s aim is to provide the opportunity of therapeutic and recreational horse riding for disabled people so that they benefit in all aspects of their mental, physical and social lives.
SARDA Cape Town practises its work according to the RDA principles which means teaching people living with disabilities to ride, done by qualified Riding for the Disabled instructors, who may or may not be therapists. The ultimate goal is that the RIDERS are taught to ride independently as possible. The riders benefit physically from the movement of the horse and from many other aspects of riding including psycho-social, self-esteem and competing with peers on equal footing.
SARDA at Sleepy Hollow practises Hippotherapy using Physio, Occupational or Speech Therapists in treating children and adults living with disabilities, using the horse as a treatment modality. The ultimate goal is to achieve therapeutic goals and aims. Hippotherapy literally means “treatment with the help of the horse” from the Greek word, “hippos” meaning horse.
SARDA exists as a result of teamwork with all instructors and helpers volunteering their time and knowledge.
SARDA encourages equestrians and therapists to learn about the RDA and Hippotherapy practises. Equine Assisted Therapy (ETASA) offer training in Hippotherapy, while SARDA offers training in the practice of RDA. If you are interested in becoming a teacher in either area of expertise, please see our SARDA Volunteers Page for more information. Alternatively, click on link provided to view the website of ETASA.