Festina Lente is this year’s Positive Strides equine charity at the RDS Dublin Horse Show

by NewsFour

It’s August and that means the Dublin Horse Show is back at the RDS from 9 – 13th August. In celebrating the positive impact that equestrianism has had on society in general, the RDS is once again bringing back ‘Positive Strides’ to the 2023 Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ RDS Dublin Horse Show. The initiative is sponsored by Mannon Farm and this year’s nominated charity is the Irish equine organisation, Festina Lente, who counts amongst its ambassadors Rachel Blackmore OBE and international showjumper Cian O’Connor.

Through demonstrations and panel discussions during the Show, Festine Lente will celebrate the impact that equestrianism has on everyday life and in particular for those that need that relationship more than others.

Festina Lente was set up in 1988 with just one borrowed horse and one pupil but quickly developed a worldwide reputation for its equestrian programmes. It provides services to people affected by disability, diverse learning abilities, selfesteem issues and those from socioeconomic disadvantaged backgrounds. In addition, it is a key provider of educational training programmes to adult learners wishing to deliver these programmes within their own geographical area in Ireland.

Festina Lente CEO Dr Jill Carey said, “From therapeutic riding which uses the natural movement of the horse for the physical improvement for people with a physical disability to equine assisted learning which uses the natural behaviour of the horse to help people develop their self and social awareness, the benefifits are immense.”

Pat Hanly, RDS Dublin Horse Show Director said “Last year we were overwhelmed with the public’s response to the Positive Strides initiative that highlighted the value of the human/horse relationship. This year we are hoping that we can shine a light on this incredible organisation which is at the forefront of equine therapy and an exemplar in the development of our interaction with the horse. Those of us that enjoy horses are only too aware of the positive impact horses can have on people’s mental and physical wellbeing and the Show is delighted to partner with Festina Lente in showcasing what it does so well.”

In the words of fourteen year old Rachel Doak from Wicklow who lives with cerebral palsy in her legs “On a horse you become one… The horse became part of me, my body, the horse was my legs giving me a freedom to be just ‘me’. Festina Lente is my second home”.

Throughout the 2023 Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup RDS Dublin Horse Show which takes place in the iconic RDS showgrounds in the heart of Dublin 4 from 9 – 13th August there will be a number of demonstrations on “How the movement of the Horse can improve our musculoskeletal health, How working with horses can improve our emotional well-being.” (Fri. 11th., Sat. 12th., and Sun 13th. in Ring 2 at 2.30pm. These will be followed by demonstrations by Jonty Evans and Para Equestrians.

There will also be a panel discussion on Fri 11th. on ‘How the Movement of the Horse Improves our Musculoskeletal Health’, and on Sat 12th. on ‘How engagement with horses improves mental well-being for Adults’, and Sun 13th. ‘How engagement with horses improves mental well-being for Young People’,
held in the RDS Library each day.

Festina Lente Stand is in the RDS Main Hall showcasing the work of Festina Lente, while Miniature Ponies are in the Kids Zone (behind the Grand Stand) throughout the fifive days. It promises to be a great family outing as usual.