A riding charity for disabled people is raising funds for a mechanical horse, which can help riders build confidence before moving to a real horse.

Barnfield Riding for the Disabled - a small group that works with Barnfield Riding School near Richmond Park, have already raised £13,000 towards the £45,000 cost.

Chrissie Hill, RDA's Treasurer said: “The addtional service [mechanical horse] is actually an additional fundraiser, where riders could use the horse to improve, gain confidence or just a fun way to excercise. 

“We are a standalone charity that runs alongside the stables as there is no funding from the national Riding for the Disabled, or any government body.

"Only a small number of stables offer RDA as they need affiliation with the  main RDA, additional staff, or as with most, volunteers to help supporting the children and leading the horses." 

The charity believes that whilst some of their students can ride horses – those living with more severe conditions require additional support and it is believed that a simulator would be ideal in delivering this.

In the past, Barnfield RDA have held market fairs in a bid to raise money however, it now believes that crowdfunding could be a more effective way to achieve its goals.

The mechanical horse will support students by improving strength, balance, co-ordination and muscle development.

It will also improve calmness and concentration as well as help students to develop the ability to safely move onto riding actual horses.

Ms Hill continued:“The [mechanical] horse will be a great simulator for autistic children it makes them calmer whilst improving the student's balance and confidence.

“When a child – who is wheelchair bound sits on a horse and looks down at you, it is the most satisfactory feeling as you can feel and see his joy and confidence grow.”

For more information and to donate visit: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/mechanical-horse-to-bring-joy-to-disabled-children