Meet some of the people at Ravelrig Riding for the Disabled
Barbara Johnstone, MBE – Trustee and Treasurer
I became involved initially with Riding for the Disabled when we took the family pony to Gogarburn Hospital to join in the activities of the Hospital’s RDA Group. The family and pony were embraced into the activities of the Group – weekly riding sessions, RDA competitions and a one-off event called Horseman Sunday – a religious open air service in the Queen’s Park, rows and rows of horses and ponies, the Minister in full clergy regalia only to disrobe at the end of the service to reveal full riding gear. I guess Gogarburn was responsible for me getting the bug.
Some thirty years ago I later worked at Barnardo’s Ravelrig and was allowed to stable and graze the family horse within the old Victorian stable block and grounds and when the children resident within Barnardo’s showed an interest in riding, a couple of horse owners decided to set up a Riding for the Disabled Group and, as they say, the rest is history.
In all my working life I never worked so hard or felt so pressurised as I do volunteering with Ravelrig but I wouldn’t have it any other way – I love it, what a buzz! I can honestly say I enjoy all aspects – caring for the ponies, meeting with riders and their parents, organising events and fundraising, supporting and training volunteers and working with corporate and community work parties. While I maintain my qualification, coaching is not something I particularly enjoy now, but maintain it to take over in the absence of the regular coach.