28 Aug 2013

Riding into the future for The Brae

The Brae Riding for the DisabledThere’s a rumble as the engine kicks off, a whiff of gasoline in the air. As Bryan revs his motorcycle, a familiar wave of heat rushes up from the engine.

Bryan Allan has an extreme passion for racing motorcycles, both classic and modern. At the end of August he’ll be taking part in this year’s Manx GP & the Classic TT to raise money for charity.

Regarded by those in the know as one of the most physically and mentally demanding events in the world, they often attract the cream of international road racers.

This will be a breeze for Bryan who regularly competes in championships in the North and South of Ireland.

He will be setting off down Brae Hill to raise money for The Brae Riding for the Disabled, an independent charity member of the national Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA).

Providing therapeutic horse riding activities

Based in Dundee, The Brae offers horse riding sessions as a means of providing opportunities for disabled children and adults to boost their health and well being and to achieve their goals.

Fundraising for The Brae started about 16 years ago by a group of five people (three physiotherapists, an NHS volunteer manager and a college lecturer). After much blood, sweat and tears, they managed to raise £500,000 to build a purpose built riding centre, which opened in 2008.

Today the riding school has ten horses; one of the longest serving of whom is Trixie, a little dark bay Shetland pony (pictured with Bryan).

Mary Sneddon, The Brae centre manager, believes the school offers disabled riders the opportunity to benefit from significant physical and social therapy.

She said: “There is a wide range of benefits for disabled participants. They include improved balance, coordination, muscle tone, communication, social interaction and the opportunity to make new friends.”

Putting a smile on children’s and adult’s faces

By providing a wide range of volunteering opportunities to members of the public, The Brae provides volunteers the means of increasing their confidence whilst acquiring new skills.

Bryan has been volunteering with the Brae for about five months. He spends his time grooming the horses and taking them out for exercise. Bryan’s support is invaluable to The Brae. He conducts regular joinery and small maintenance jobs, along with checks on the quad. This additional work is crucial to the efficient running of the centre.

Bryan believes horse riding brings a lot of joy to the young riders.

He said: “The kids always have a smile on their faces. They have a nice connection with the horses, which is lovely to see.”

Supporting The Brae’s fundraising programme

The Brae Riding for the Disabled receives no government funding. To continue the provision of horse riding therapy for disabled adults and children, The Brae needs to raise £165,000 each year. This is done through applications to Trusts, including the Big Lottery, along with local fundraising and donations from local companies and personal donations.

As a result, the riding school has a relentless programme of events throughout the year, including coffee mornings, quizzes and individual supporter events.

Mary believes MyDonate will be particularly beneficial in supporting their programme of fundraising events and ensuring gift aid is claimed, raising an additional 20%, without any work required from the Centre.

She said: “We are planning to promote awareness of how MyDonate can help raise funds through various mediums, including website, Facebook, newsletters, and how it will claim back gift aid on our behalf- which is fabulous.”

Support Bryan’s mission

You can find more information about The Brae on their website

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