Groom vacancy at Clwyd Special Riding Centre

Clwyd Special Riding Centre provides people with additional needs the opportunity to ride, carriage drive or equestrian vault to benefit their health and wellbeing. We currently require a –


£13,936 per annum 40 hours per week to include evening and weekend work.

You will be required to hold a minimum of a Level 2 in Horse Care and Riding or equivalent proven skills and experience.  You must be confident in producing horses to a high standard and demonstrate an understanding of and be committed to the work of CSRC.

With the above post there is a requirement to undertake evening stable checks for 2/3 nights per week.  Accommodation is available for these nights or full week occupation if required.

Closing date:  12 noon Monday 23 January 2017

Invitation to interview will be sent via email on Tuesday 24 January 2017

Interviews will be held on Monday 30 January 2017

Start date:  Negotiable

For application forms please contact CSRC on 01352 770446 or email:

Page Last Updated: January 9, 2017

Tagg selling off last hats

As part of their stock clearance, Tagg Equestrian are selling off the last of their hats. The price is £10.95 per hat and £8.50 post for each order. Contact 0191 2650032 or 01636 636135.

Page Last Updated: November 30, 2016

BEF Chief Executive and RDA Honorary Treasurer to ride Mongolian Derby for RDA

British Equestrian Federation Chief Executive Clare Salmon and her husband Neil Goldie-Scot – who has recently been appointed as Honorary Treasurer for RDA – have announced that they are to ride in the Mongolian Derby in 2017 to raise money for RDA.

The announcement was made during Clare Salmon’s speech to delegates at RDA’s AGM, where she discussed the ‘Future of Equestrianism’. Clare has been in post at the BEF since July and the news of her support for RDA was warmly welcomed by attendees from RDA groups around the UK. In rounding up her presentation she joked about ‘lending’ RDA her husband – a reference to his recent appointment to the RDA Board of Trustees as Honorary Treasurer. Neil Goldie-Scot will officially take up the position from December.

“We are thrilled to be taking on the challenge of the Mongolian Derby to raise funds for RDA – it’s going to be a touch uncomfortable racing 1000km over 8 days on small, rather feral Mongolian ponies; sleeping under the stars; with dubious hygiene and possibly unspeakable food, but it’s nothing like the challenges many disabled people overcome on a day to day basis. We hope to raise some funds to bring the redeeming power of horses to a wider audience, and help to enhance the lives of disabled people and their carers as a result.”

During her presentation to the RDA’s 47th AGM, Clare described some of the challenges and untapped opportunities that exist to widen the profile and appeal of equestrian activities in the UK. Key elements of this will involve making more of the health and social benefits, and promoting some of the underrepresented horse sports such as vaulting and carriage driving – all of which was music to the ears of the AGM delegates.

“We were pleased to welcome Clare to our AGM,” said RDA Chief Executive Ed Bracher. “It was a great opportunity to introduce her to our members, and to give Clare the chance to set out her thoughts on the BEF’s future role. The announcement about the Mongolian Derby was a brilliant surprise and we are grateful for the support and commitment that she and Neil are already showing towards RDA.”


BEF Chief Executive Clare Salmon addresses AGM delegates

Page Last Updated: November 22, 2016

Princess Anne awarded for 30 years as RDA President

Milestone celebrated at charity AGM, chaired by Her Royal Highness

Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) has presented The Princess Royal with a certificate to mark her 30 years as the charity’s President. The celebration took place at the end of RDA’s AGM, which was chaired by Her Royal Highness. The presentation was the culmination of a day of highlights, including talks from BEF Chief Executive Clare Salmon and World Horse Welfare’s Roly Owers.

Having presented many certificates to long-serving volunteers during her Presidency, including several ‘President’s Awards’ at this year’s AGM, The Princess was surprised to receive an award herself. She has been involved with RDA since the charity was founded in 1969 and became President in 1986.

“Naturally, we will be holding a big celebration when we reach our 50th anniversary, but we didn’t want this milestone in our President’s long association with RDA to go un-marked,” said RDA Chief Executive, Ed Bracher.

In a lively day of talks and presentations, delegates from RDA groups across the UK came together at Cheltenham racecourse for RDA’s 47th AGM. BEF Chief Executive Clare Salmon talked about the future of equestrianism in UK, while World Horse Welfare Chief Executive Roly Owers discussed the most pressing equine welfare concerns. Delegates heard from British Blind Sport’s Alaina MacGregor, RDA’s Jen Wathan and RDA rider Megan Pritchard about a project to encourage more visually impaired people into riding.

Julie Elliston from RDA National Office and Donna Jenkins of Stratford RDA talked about new groups and how existing groups can grow. Caroline Ward, Communications Manager at RDA National Office talked about the new project to build a National Training Centre, and RDA Chief Executive Ed Bracher completed the morning’s presentations by looking at the charity’s future strategy.


  • Loriners Education Award: North Pembrokeshire & Cardiganshire RDA
  • Susan Dudley-Smith Award: Jenny Harris
  • National FE Lecturer of the Year: Mike Butcher FRDA
  • President’s Awards: Margaret Morgan, Sue Downer
  • Honorary Life Vice-Presidents: Mark Farmar, Patrick Riley, Susie Elliot
  • Birt Spooner Cup: Patrick Riley


The Princess Royal with members of North Pembrokeshire & Cardiganshire RDA

Page Last Updated: November 18, 2016

Grants for RDA Groups – apply now!

Does your RDA Group need funding for  new equipment, a new project or larger horse?  Then apply now for a grant from RDA UK.  Hurry, closing date is 4 November 2016.  ALL established RDA Groups in ALL locations of the UK are eligible to apply.  Good luck!

Page Last Updated: October 25, 2016

RDA launches project to build a National Training Centre

Project Patrons HRH The Princess Royal and Sophie Christiansen OBE to front fundraising appeal

Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) has launched a project to build a National Training Centre in Warwickshire. The Centre – to be built at Lowlands EC, near Warwick – will bring together, train and inspire the charity’s volunteers and coaches from around the UK.

The development of a National Training Centre is an exciting and robust response to some of the challenges and opportunities faced by RDA as it reaches its 50th anniversary. In recent years the charity has developed the range of activities it offers as well as the areas of training offered to volunteers (including equine welfare, safeguarding, disability awareness and volunteer management). In addition, RDA’s coaches and volunteers are supporting ever more complex forms of disability, especially in the areas of multi-disability, learning disabilities and mental health problems.

Project Patron and RDA President HRH The Princess Royal said: “As RDA looks forward to the next 50 years, this project to build a National training Centre will draw on all the experience and strength of community at Lowlands to create a vital and inspirational focal point for learning of which we can all be proud.

“RDA has built a world class reputation on the strength of its expertise, coaching and horsemanship. These are strengths that must remain at the heart of everything we do in the coming years. The Lowlands project will ensure we can maintain our high standards and develop our training programmes to ensure the best possible experience for RDA’s riders and carriage drivers long into the future.”

The Centre will be home to the four existing RDA groups that currently operate there; stables and grazing for 20 horses; indoor and outdoor arenas; training and conference facilities; some overnight accommodation and offices. As a working yard with indoor and outdoor arenas and classrooms, the Centre will provide the ideal environment for hosting practical training sessions; workshops and demonstrations as well as events and competitions. The focus of training will be putting riders’ and drivers’ needs first, and this message will be at the heart of everything that happens at Lowlands.

“As someone whose life was transformed by learning to ride with RDA, I am delighted to be able to support this project to create a National Training Centre,” said Project Patron and Paralympian Sophie Christiansen OBE. “I was lucky enough to be taught by a series of inspirational coaches, without whom I would never have discovered a talent for riding.

“RDA could see my potential as a young athlete and supported me every step of the way to the Paralympics. But achievement does not have to be a gold medal. It could be teaching a rider to sit up straight so they can go on to live independently or to be able to communicate to others to help on the journey to employment. Coaches can change lives.”

RDA needs to raise £900,000 to help develop the site at Lowlands EC and is looking for individual and corporate donors. To register your interest in the project, to donate money or to offer equipment or expertise, please contact Sal Atkinson at RDA UK on 01926 405975 or email

Page Last Updated: October 17, 2016

A night of celebration at RDA Gala Awards 2016

In a spirit-elevating celebration, the fourth RDA Gala Awards dinner once again recognised the outstanding achievements and dedication of RDA participants, volunteers, supporters and horses.

Host Clare Balding (just back from Rio) was joined by ITV News presenter Alastair Stewart and commentator Jonathan Agnew at Draper’s Hall, London. Also joining them (together with their well-deserved medals) were members of the GB Paraequestrian team: Natasha Baker, Sophie Christiansen and Anne Dunham.

The annual Gala Awards celebrates the efforts of all who help to make the RDA charity so special.

This year’s RDA award winners are:

RDA Group Brilliant Idea (sponsored by Automotive Insulation Ltd): Cobbes Meadow RDA for wheeled steps.

Business Partnership (sponsored by British Equestrian Trade Association): Cowan Architects for ongoing, innovative support for RDA South East

Most Improved Participant (sponsored by Childs Farm): Katherine Swan of Bradbourne RDA

Horse or Pony of the Year (sponsored by SnuggyHoods): Mickey from The Brae RDA

Young Volunteer of the Year (sponsored by The Leadership Whisperers): Matt Dalley of Scropton RDA

Volunteer of the Year (sponsored by Godolphin): Charlotte Court of Kitty Barron RDA.


Sam Smedley is a volunteer with Cobbes Meadow RDA Driving Group. His wife, Ros, has a prosthetic leg and was finding it increasingly difficulty to use the mounting block to get into the carriages. Sam set about inventing a solution – wheeled steps with handrails.

Ros was involved in the design process. The steps fit either side of the front wheel of the carriage, with chocks placed at the back wheel of the carriage on the same side when the steps are in place. The three shallow steps have handrails, and volunteers can stand at either side and behind the driver attempting to mount. The steps are sturdy and durable, and the open design means assistance can be given to move a foot or steady a wobble. There is enough room on the top step for the driver to get their feet into the correct position before they step across into the carriage. The steps are light and can be manoeuvred over grass to sand/rubber fibre mix.

The group’s drivers found them easier to use than the mounting block; the only difference is that drivers dismount the carriage facing forwards, as this can be done safely using the handrails.
The steps have cut the time it takes for each driver to get into the carriage, made it safer for volunteers helping the drivers to mount and dismount, and have improved the drivers’ confidence.

The Group has used the steps for approximately 10 months, and nicknamed them ‘Sam’s Super Steps’.

Cowan Architect’s vision is to improve the quality of life across disabilities, including sponsoring the group’s regional events: Regional Challenge Day, Hickstead Dressage and Indoor Carriage Driving.

David Cowan and his management team attend all the group’s events, award rosettes, and help each individual feel proud of his or her achievement. The company’s staff also provides major assistance to regional volunteers. When the region was in need of a PR Officer, Cowan’s introduced Marketing Manager, Joanna Sale, who now volunteers as Regional Publicity Officer. David Cowan also funded Sophie Christiansen’s expenses in speaking at the RDA’s annual conference

As an expert in accessibility design, David Cowan has made a keynote speech at the RDA Supra Regional Conference, and contributed vital information on improving the accessibility of group centres; and

the company’s Managing Director Phill Mumford joined the group’s fundraising panel at the regional conference

In 2016, Cowan Architects added extended sponsorship to fund training for volunteers; offered safeguarding and fundraising training to volunteers;

provided special training by Guide Dogs for the Blind on working with visually impaired participants; designed and provided framed certificates of participation for all competing groups.


Katherine was studying for her ‘A’ levels in 2012, when she had a car accident just before her 18th birthday. She survived the accident, but with brain damage. While Katherine was in rehab near Bradbourne, her mother called to ask if she could ride, having ridden before the accident.

When Katherine arrived, she was in a wheelchair and rode for no more than ten minutes, with two sidewalkers and a leader. Over following three and half years, Katherine got stronger and improved slowly, always progressing. She began riding for longer, with the sidewalkers walking further away until there was just a leader and a coach nearby.

In 2013, Katherine rode her first dressage test at the Regional competition; she had three helpers with her in the arena.

In 2015, she rode an escorted test, and in 2016, rode her first independent test at a Bradbourne competition.

At the 2016 Southeast Region Dressage competition, Katherine competed as a 1a rider and scored an impressive 64.41%. She rode independently in an arena with spectators, flowers and judges in a box. She performed every movement and saluted the judges at the end, all the time completely unassisted.

Katherine works incredibly hard, going to the gym, learning to walk independently. She progressed from wheelchair to scooter and now walks in on the arm of her mother. She has enrolled in a college course in Art, which is what she was planning after her A-levels. Katherine’s family, and especially her mother, has supported her in every way, encouraging her, pushing her, and watching every lesson.

Katherine’s riding position is beautiful; her disabilities all but disappear despite their restrictions on the ground. The group is unbelievably proud of Katherine, her strength of purpose, her determination and her ambition.

Mickey is a very special horse who loves his job. Mickey provides horse riding, carriage driving and hippotherapy lessons to a wide range of clients, and is also trained in back riding.
In November 2015, Mickey began his training to become The Brae group’s first vaulting horse; he now provides his third block of vaulting lessons – an extraordinary achievement in just eight months.

Without Mickey’s hard work and enthusiasm to learn, it would not have been possible for the vaulters to benefit greatly from their lessons. Vaulting has improved the lives of the clients, making a huge impact on their self-confidence, balance, motor skills, flexibility and co-ordination. The sessions allow the team of vaulters to work in a group and give the vital communication skills to be able to work together, particularly when two vaulters are on Mickey together.

Volunteers also benefit massively from Mickey’s extraordinary achievements, excelling in confidence, self-esteem, patience, determination and communication skills. They also built up trust and now have a very special relationship with Mickey. Volunteers who had never seen or heard of equestrian vaulting before, had the chance to learn and ‘have a go’ while teaching Mickey. Seeing vaulters grinning from ear to ear when they are up on Mickey and seeing what these clients gain from just one session makes it all worthwhile. Mickey also helps teach new volunteers the various skills mandatory for the green card.

The Brae is constantly fundraising to raise much-needed funds to keep the centre running and Mickey is a huge help. From posing for photos, to going for adventures in the horse box (including a visit to a local primary School, along with his tie and school bag), Mickey loves every minute of it.

With his relaxed, kind and caring nature, he is loved by many riders, vaulters, carriage drivers, volunteers, staff, visitors and the other horses, of course. Mickey is truly a horse in a million and deserves to be recognised for all his hard work he does and has done for the past four years at The Brae.


Matt is a rider and volunteer, who helps at his group; for his region and for the national organisation. Inspired initially by the other volunteers at his group, he has always been keen to help out whenever and however he can. As a boy, physical jobs weren’t always easy but as he got older he found his computer skills were an asset to the group. Running their website and social media channels, he works hard to promote the group, its activities and the achievements of its participants.

Matt’s group work got noticed regionally, and his regional work got noticed nationally.  And before long he had a list of volunteer roles to his name:
Group volunteer
Regional Participant Rep
RDA UK participant committee member

Unable to ride at this year’s National Championship, Matt instead volunteered over 4 days, setting up, stewarding, providing invaluable support to the communications team and running the social media for the event.

By his own admission, volunteering has been as life changing for Matt as riding has. He has shared his great story to help promote RDA and volunteering. He has talked about what he does at the RDA UK AGM, at the RDA Supporters Reception and in interview to the print and broadcast media.

He achieves all this with a consistently positive attitude and unwavering enthusiasm.

His achievements are remarkable in themselves, but made even more so when you consider that he was born with a congenital brain condition, leading to muscle weakness and co-ordination problems, he is autistic, has adhd, some learning difficulties and is a profoundly deaf sign language user.

His citation reads:
“He overcomes all these obstacles to become a volunteer with RDA and embodies the slogan ‘It’s what you can do that counts’!”


Charlotte volunteered at the Kitty Barron RDA Group for some years, prior to becoming a Group Coach in early 2012.

The Group started more than 50 years ago, supported and organised by the Barron family throughout. However, following Chris Barron’s death as a result of an accident in early 2015, the Group suspended activities.

In those adverse circumstances, (and notwithstanding having a baby on the morning of Chris’ funeral), Charlotte provided the initiative, drive, enthusiasm and hard work to bring about the Group’s resumption in September 2015.
By that time, Charlotte’s input had enabled the Committee to be reinforced; new helpers recruited; new ponies secured; the indoor school repaired and resurfaced; and the toilet and kitchen facilities refurbished.

In 2016, one of the group’s aims was to get transport to enable participation of riders with the group’s ponies at competitions. The active, lively and happy Group provides an excellent service, and Charlotte had recruited a trainee coach. At the time when the group suspended activities, it was feared that it might close down permanently with the consequent loss of services. It is entirely due to Charlotte that the group has ‘risen from the ashes’ to become a Group that Gloucestershire is, and I am sure Chris and his family would be, proud of.

Page Last Updated: September 30, 2016


Clwyd Special Riding Centre provides people with additional needs the opportunity to ride, carriage drive, or equestrian vault to benefit their health and wellbeing. The Centre has 24 horses and ponies and a new Centre for Equine Learning and Therapy. CSRC requires the following:-

Volunteer Coordinator

£17,500 pro rata 25 hours per week

The Volunteer Coordinator will be required to recruit and coordinate an effective team of volunteers ensuring that Clwyd Special Riding Centre maintains its high standard of service provision.

Closing date: 12 noon Monday 23 September 2016

Invitation to interview will be sent via email Monday 26 September 2016

Interviews will be held on Monday 3 October 2016

Start date: Monday 31 October 2016

For application forms please contact CSRC on 01352 770446 or email:

Page Last Updated: September 15, 2016

2-for-1 tickets for Clare Balding Theatre events

Special offer for RDA supporters to celebrate the launch of Clare’s new book

Ahead of Clare Balding’s appearance at the RDA Gala Awards, where she will be signing copies of her new book, we are delighted to be able to offer 2-for-1 tickets at her live theatre events over the Autumn.

Clare will be celebrating the publication of her very first children’s book THE RACEHORSE WHO WOULDN’T GALLOP at three events in Salisbury, Guildford and Exeter. She’ll be fresh from our TV screens having presented the Olympics and Paralympics in Rio.

Clare will be appearing at Salisbury Playhouse, Yvonne Arnaud and Northcott Theatre for three fantastic events for all the family, including some foyer entertainment. THE RACEHORSE WHO WOULDN’T GALLOP is partly inspired by Clare’s own childhood, so you can expect some fantastic growing-up anecdotes and to hear about her infectious love of animals.

A heart-warming story with a great girl-power message”, Jacqueline Wilson

To claim your 2-for-1 tickets, simply use the codes below either when you book online or when you call the box office.

Salisbury: CLARE

Exeter: RACEHORSE241

For Guildford simply call the Box Office now on 01483 44 00 00 to book.

Please note: Offer on the ticket price only, the price of the book is not included in the offer.

Page Last Updated: September 15, 2016

RDA Trading – new job opportunity

Looking for a new challenge?  RDA is recruiting a part time Trading Co-ordinator responsible for growing sales and income from the RDA online shop and at events. This is an exciting and varied role based at RDA National Office, Warwick. Ideal candidates will have creative flair, enthusiasm and enjoy working as part of an energetic, professional team.
To find out more download the RDA Trading Co-ordinator Job Description.  Visit the RDA online shop at

To apply please email a full CV and covering letter, describing why you would be suitable for this role to Sal Atkinson email  Direct Dial Tel 01926 405 975

Page Last Updated: August 15, 2016