sardaSouth African Riding for the Disabled (SARDA) is a local charity that provides therapy to special needs children by bringing them into contact with and assisting them with riding specially trained horses. The therapeutic benefits that children with physical and psychological disabilities gain from riding at SARDA Cape Town branch is made possible by 12 qualified volunteer instructors and an additional 120 volunteers who, among many other activities, help lead the horses and in many cases physically support the more severely disabled children on the horses.

Currently, disabled children, 75% of whom come from a PDI background, from 13 special needs schools attend SARDA and the carefully structured programmes allow every child up to 40 hours free-of-charge riding therapy a year.

People with disabilities benefit enormously from therapeutic riding in that over 200 muscles in the body are exercised - improving balance & posture and helping with the development of both fine and gross motor skills. These benefits are in addition to the various psychological benefits that are also gained from this riding, including an immediately visible improvement in self-esteem. Many animals exhibit a special bond with humans and it is the special non-judgmental relationship that horses in particular appear to have with special needs people that makes the riding at SARDA so valuable and special for these children.

SARDA receives no government grants or subsidies and relies entirely on donations and sponsorship, requiring approximately R40 000 per month to operate. The largest annual fund-raising event is the SARDA race day at Kenilworth Race Course in October. SARDA's vision is to create as many centres as possible in South Africa to be able to serve the many special needs people requiring assistance in our country.


For more information about SARDA, contact Ann-Margaret Berndt on 021 794 4393 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.