Kesteven RDA wins Enterprise Award

The Annual business awards represent a marvellous opportunity to celebrate the success and innovation of the best companies in Grantham. Each year competition is fierce and standards grow as more and more companies take the chance to showcase their achievements. This year a new category was announced which gave charities and not for profit enterprises in the Grantham area an opportunity to enter.

Kesteven RDA was delighted to make the short list and four trustees attended the Black tie event enjoying a champagne drinks reception and four-course meal followed by the ceremony which will took place on the evening of Wednesday 2nd April at the luxury corporate hospitality marquee in the grounds of Belton House.

The atmosphere in the marquee was electric as winners and runners up took centre stage to receive their awards. Kesteven RDA representatives waited with baited breath for their category to be announced. It was a huge surprise and greeted with much excitement when Darren Point from Total Networking announced “ …….and the winner is Kesteven Rideability.”

All the trustees went forward to collect the award and Founder Karen Thompson spoke about how thrilled they were to win the award and commented on the commitment of the volunteers within the group.

She said “This is to recognise the hard work of all the volunteers who have been part of this amazing enterprise for the past 25 years. The work and dedication of the volunteers is truly inspiring – without their commitment the charity would not function. Many of the volunteers participate in order to give something back to the community. This award will give them a huge pat on the back and thank them for all their hard work.”

Runners-up in the category were Inspire+ and Grantham Disabled Children’s Society.


Page Last Updated: April 9, 2014

RDA Holidays – supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery

Book your RDA 2014 holiday now through your RDA Group.  This year RDA registered Riders and Carriage Drivers have more venues than ever to choose from including the new
RDA Recommended Venues.  

Taking place all over the country between April and September RDA Holidays are a great way to meet like-minded people, enjoy the outdoors and have fun.

More details can be found in the RDA Holiday Brochure 2014 and on our
website RDA Holidays



Page Last Updated: February 20, 2014

Dunfermline RDA becomes Shiresmill Therapy Riding Centre

Dunfermline RDA will now be known as Shiresmill Therapy Riding Centre, Shiresmill, (where the arena is situated). This change has been made to reflect more accurately the Group’s activities. The Group will retain its full membership of RDA UK and will always have this noted on any fundraising or publicity material.

The Groups said of the name change: “We feel this change of name is relevant to the times and to our aims for the future development of our centre including our exciting new project – a 5 acre Sensory Park which now has all basic fencing and gates installed. This will be unique to Scotland and, hopefully, will attract many groups and expertise to the centre. This change has been welcomed by parents, current riders and schools involved.”

In addition, the Group hopes to encourage new volunteers: “We are always keen to welcome new volunteers with or without experience of horses as we can only grow in proportion to the volunteer base. We also require help with fundraising events (including a used stamp collection, old clothes collection), ground maintenance, gardening and general secretarial work. The centre is open Monday – Saturday, 0930-1300 hours. If you would like to help please contact our Secretary at – or Tel 01383 882700.”

Page Last Updated: February 11, 2014

Instructor vacancy at Conquest Centre

The Conquest Centre in Taunton, Somerset has a vacancy for an Instructor. Visit their website for more details:

Page Last Updated: January 31, 2014

Publicity Opportunity for all RDA Groups

RDA National Office is pleased to announce that it is now able to offer all Groups the opportunity of publicity by featuring them on the RDA National web site. [Read more…]

Page Last Updated: February 29, 2016

Bannockburn celebrates!

Bannockburn RDA is delighted that Sara Smith has been nominated for Coach of the Year at the HorseScotland Awards. Sara took a team to the Special Olympics this year and they returned with Gold and Silver medals. In addition to this Sara supports a number of riders and they made this nomination to recognise her commitment and encouragement. This is a well deserved Award and all at Bannockburn RDA wish Sara many congratulations!

For more information, contact Gillie Drapper on 01360 860 243.


Page Last Updated: December 18, 2013

New book to boost funds for Somerset Levels

Somerset Levels Carriage Driving Group has published a beautifully illustrated book called Reflections from The Somerset Levels – a series of stories and memories from drivers and volunteers.

The idea for the book came about after carriage driver Ann Turner told her story to a regional newspaper. “From the depths of despair” was the headline, but she sees her story in a much more positive light “Upwards and onwards” describes her story of first cancer then a broken back left her disabled from the chest down but now with a special seat able to compete and beat able bodied carriage drivers in open competition. Group founder members, Philippa and Martin Willey and retired architect and landscape architect Stephen Harte devised a concept to capture the motives and enjoyment of carriage driving in an illustrated book.


The book features a foreword by eight-times Champion Jockey Peter Scudamore , who says of the contributors: “These are not writers but people born to put horse to carriage, or who have learned to love the effort and experience. The SLRDA is a wonderful charity that, as well as allowing disabled people to continue to be involved with horses, helps with self-confidence and most importantly offers a great deal of fun.”

Sales of book from the SLRDA website £10 + £3 P & P or in various outlets in Wells and Glastonbury and shortly in Frome price £10.

For more details, please contact Philippa 01749 673097

Page Last Updated: December 10, 2013

A bit of Christmas cheer from Avon Centre RDA

Struggling to get into the Christmas spirit? Watch the Avon Centre’s brilliant mockumentary, In the Stables, here:

Page Last Updated: December 4, 2013

New Equipment for Yorkshire Wolds RDA thanks to Charitable Trust

Youngsters at the Yorkshire Wolds RDA have been trying out a range of new equipment bought with funds from the Neil Hudgell Trust.

The Trust has given £878.88 to the charity, which operates from The Chesney Riding Stables near Driffield in East Yorkshire. The funds have been used to buy interactive games to encourage the development of balance and horseback skills, a new sound system so the youngsters can ride along to music, learning and creating routines, and some riding gear including boots and helmets.

Peter Greenhough, Chairman of Yorkshire Wolds Riding for the Disabled, said: “This funding is very welcome and will make an enormous difference to the youngsters and the volunteers. The new equipment means we’ll be able to increase the range of activities for the children which will give them a real boost and help to improve their riding.”

The Yorkshire Wolds RDA was established in 1975 and works exclusively with children from Kings Mill School in Driffield. In any one year up to 50 children can be involved in sessions.

Jo Hudgell, who heads The Neil Hudgell Trust, visited the stables to meet the young riders and the volunteers and to see the new equipment in use.

Jo said: “It’s wonderful to see these young people gaining so much from riding and clearly enjoying themselves. The dedication and enthusiasm of all those involved in Yorkshire Wolds Riding for the Disabled Association is marvellous. I am delighted that the Trust has been asked to support this very good cause.”

The Yorkshire Wolds RDA is among twenty three community projects sharing more than £16,000 from the latest round of funding from The Neil Hudgell Trust. So far, the Trust has given grants totalling more than £75,000 to over 80 organisations since it was established in April 2012.

The Trust was set up to mark the 15th anniversary of Neil Hudgell Solicitors, specialists in compensation claims for personal injury, medical negligence and professional negligence. The firm, which employs 100 staff, serves clients in England and Wales from offices in Hull and Leeds.

The Neil Hudgell Trust can give up to £60,000 a year, in grants worth up to £1,000 each, to good causes in Yorkshire which support local communities and promote sports, health, wellbeing and educational aspiration. The Trust is administered by the Hull and East Yorkshire Community Foundation.

Applications for funding are always welcome; more information is available from

Page Last Updated: July 31, 2015

RDA Gala Awards winners announced


RDA Group Brilliant Idea of the Year – sponsored by Automotive Insulation Ltd
Kesteven RDA

RDA Business Partnership of the Year – sponsored by BETA
Severn Trent Water

RDA Most Improved Participant of the Year- sponsored by Childs Farm
Paul Conway of The Unicorn Centre

RDA Horse or Pony of the Year – sponsored by Connected Thinking
Denby from Wenlo and Ashmount RDA Groups

RDA Vet of the Year – sponsored by Merial Animal Health
Winner to be announced on the night. Shortlisted nominations are:

Nick Hart of The Royal Vet College
Tom Miller of Stokesley Vet Practice
Judy Scrine of Mayes and Scrine Vet Practice

RDA Volunteer of the Year – sponsored by Nationwide Uniforms
Jane Gladstone from Nottingham RDA

The Dame Emma-Jane Brown Award for the RDA Pony in recognition of extraordinary service to disabled riders
Winner to be announced on the night

All winners are attending the dinner on 2 October 2013, at Plaisterers’ Hall, London with special guest Clare Balding OBE

Page Last Updated: September 20, 2013

RDA Volunteers are invited to the ACPTR Workshop and Conference

RDA  volunteers are  invited to The ACPTR (Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Therapeutic Riding) workshop on 26/27 September, and the conference on 28/29 September 2013, at Muirfield Riding Therapy, North Berwick, Scotland. More information and the booking form can be found here
ACPTR Conference 2013

Page Last Updated: August 9, 2013

Royal Day for Argyll RDA Driving Group

HRH The Princess Royal, President of Riding for the Disabled, enjoyed an equestrian day out in glorious sunshine at Benderloch, near Oban, on Tuesday 9 July, visiting the Argyll RDA Driving Group and watching a training session at the group’s new arena, built last year.

Eleven year-old Jessica Turnbull of Dunoon received her first carriage driving lesson under the watchful eye of Her Royal Highness. (Jessica suffers from a rare genetic disorder that affects her speech, balance and development. She rides regularly with the Woodside RDA Group.)

“It was fun,” said Jessica. “I was nervous before we started, but then it was okay. I felt special meeting a princess.”

Three other drivers (all regulars at the Driving Group) demonstrated their carriage driving skills: Donald MacDonald, Davina Plank and Lorraine Smart. They were accompanied by RDA Whips Vivienne Price and Penny Dixon.

Princess Anne presented rosettes to all the RDA drivers, and to their two horses Red and Bramble.

Jane Isaac, Organiser of the Argyll RDA Driving Group, said they were delighted to receive a royal visit, which they felt recognised the strength of local support for the group. “We’re in a fairly remote area, but in the eight years since we started we now have 14 regular members driving in our twice-weekly sessions, supported by five RDA Whips and a team of 12 wonderful helpers.” The Group also travels away regularly to Scottish competitions and the annual Carriage Driving summer holiday.

Her Royal Highness also presented Carriage Driving Achievement Badges to 24 members of the Lettershuna Pony Club Centre and the North Argyll Pony Club. Joyce Buick was presented with her Stable Management Certificate from North Highland College, and Claire MacPherson received a Saltire Award for her 200 hours of voluntary work with the RDA Driving Group.

Group organiser Jane Isaac, previously a Pony Club District Commissioner and organiser of the BE Inveraray event, as well as currently serving as President of the local Branch of the Pony Club and RDA County Chairman, is keen to promote the integration of equine sports in the region.

“We don’t have enough people or money to be exclusive in a rural area. Our local Pony Club members are our future helpers and Whips, and often their parents become involved in the Driving Group as well. We wouldn’t exist without our very committed Trustees and all our hardworking volunteers.”

Page Last Updated: July 17, 2013

Queen’s Award for Volunteering goes to Kent RDA Group

Buckingham Palace has announced that Cobbes Meadow Group RDA is one of three organisations in Kent to have been awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. RDA rider Jo Link and volunteer Christine Sladden were asked to contribute their views on what Cobbes Meadow means to them. This is a very prestigious award and we thank Catherine McCully and Caroline Loder-Simmonds, who helped with some of the details on the form, and in particular Roddy Loder-Simmonds for making the application.

Page Last Updated: June 11, 2013

Gloria Hunniford joins Bradbourne 50th birthday celebrations

By Gilly Roper

The sun shone at the at 50th birthday party of the Bradbourne Group . Gloria Hunniford opened the clubhouse by unveiling a plaque thanking those who gave so generously to the project. She spoke in praise of the work done by RDA and the courage of our riders and drivers.

Jonny Clark, one of our early rider,s proposed a toast to the group and Judi Singer, our Regional Chairman cut the birthday cake ably assisted by Group Chairman Peter Felgate.

Many friends, helpers, supporters, riders and drivers attended, including our previous Regional Chairman and the current Regional Holiday Rep.

Excellent refreshments were served in the new clubhouse and the marquee provided an excellent setting for meeting old and new friends.

Before leaving Gloria Hunniford was introduced to some our riders who had been showing their skills throughout the day.

This celebration would not have been possible if the idea of disabled people riding horses had not occurred to Peter Felgate all those years ago and others had been keen to work to make it a reality. Gilly Roper organized a fantastic party and has received numerous thank you letters .

We now eagerly look forward to our centenary!


Page Last Updated: May 20, 2013

Avon Centre Badminton Fun Ride

Wednesday 8 May

A chance to ride up close to the famous badminton Horse Trial fences and obstacles. In aid of Avon Riding Centre.

Read all about it here: 2013 Badminton Fun Ride (2)

Page Last Updated: April 30, 2013

BEF launches capital funding rounds 2013-14

Are you a centre or club looking to improve your riding establishment in order to enhance participation?

The British Equestrian Federation has today launched its 2013-2014 Capital Funding round, providing an opportunity for centres and clubs to apply for £1 for £1 match funding to upgrade riding establishments, increase capacity and accessibility or improve centre facilities – ie. changing rooms, toilets, social areas.

Bids submitted should be for no less than £1,000 and no more than £25,000, whilst the preferred bid level is between £10,000 and £15,000. Grants will be awarded to those projects that can clearly deliver increased participation for equestrianism and have a positive and sustainable impact in their local community.

Projects which are awarded funding will need to demonstrate the funded project is able to be completed by 14th March 2014.

If you are interested in applying for funding, expressions of interest (Stage 1) should be received by the British Equestrian Federation by Friday 10th May 2013.

All applicants will be notified by Friday 17th May 2013 whether their expression of interest has been successful or not. Successful applicants will then be required to submit a full application (Stage 2) by Friday 14th June 2013; notification will be given to successful applicants after this second stage by Friday 28th June.

For application forms and further information please visit or

Page Last Updated: April 15, 2013

Maisemore RDA – fab at 40

Volunteers and riders past and present got together to celebrate the 40th birthday of Maisemore RDA. . Founded in 1972, the Group started out at Rectory Farm, Maisemore. Today, the Group enjoys the wonderful facilities of the Equine Centre at Hartpury College.

During the celebration lunch, Maisemore Chairman, Pat Milson spoke about the history and development of the group over the past 40 years. Congratulations to everyone involved at maisemore. Hears to another 40 years!

Page Last Updated: January 10, 2013

Countrywide Grants awarded

In January 2013 twenty one RDA Groups benefited from grants totalling £14,100, made possible by the generosity of Countrywide Farmers. Here is how the grants were awarded:

RDA Group





ACPTR Training for physiotherapist

Loppington House


toe aids and hats



tack + equipment




Shacks Barn & Buck


equipment for indoor area

Eastbourne area



Stella Hancock


harness for new driving horse

Ingfield Manor


equipment for new riders






hats, saddle, stirrup leathers



ACPTR physio training + equipment



training equipmment

Helen Atkin


materials & equipment for new shed



Building stables

Dial Wood


surface improvement



vaulting barrel



general activities equipment



driving cones and markers



site hut

Mount Pleasant





waistband amplifier

Page Last Updated: December 1, 2015

Kenya trek raises £51,000 for RDA

22 RDA Volunteers raised a total of £51,000 for RDA Groups across the UK by taking part in a gruelling trek through Kenya’s Rift Valley. Taking in extinct volcanoes, steep canyons and dramatic gorges, the team trekked for up to 8 hours a day in extreme heat. Day three of the trek saw the bravest of the team making the terrifying abseil down Hell’s Gate Gorge.

Well done to everyone who took part and thanks for raising so much for RDA Groups.

Page Last Updated: November 27, 2012

Tyne & Wear RDA receives £25,000 from Kavli Trust

The Kavli Trust, owner of Primula, has donated £25,000 to Tyne and Wear RDA based at Washington Riding Centre, fully funding two brand new blocks of stables.

The new livery stables will house up to eight new horses and enable the Washington Riding Centre to generate a sustainable and long-term source of income, allowing further self-funded developments and upgrades to take place at the school.

Eileen Curley from Washington Riding Centre said of the donation: “We are overwhelmed by the generosity and support of the management and staff of Kavli Ltd. This will make a tremendous difference to our centre. We now have the opportunity to introduce new horses into the centre and increase employment prospects for our trainees. There will definitely be long-term benefits for our centre and those who ride with us.

“We cannot thank Kavli enough for all they have done and we wish them all every success in the future.”

Paul Lewney, Managing Director at Kavli UK said: “It is a great honour to make donations on behalf of The Kavli Trust, especially as this will make such a difference to the local community who make use of the facilities.

“We are particularly proud that we have been able to make a donation that will enable the Washington Riding Centre to create a new, independent and sustainable source of income that will benefit its members for years to come.”

Opened in 1977 by Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal, Washington Riding Centre offers horse riding lessons and stable management training for children and adults with a range of physical disabilities and learning difficulties.

The Washington Riding Centre was nominated for the donation by Kavli UK employee, Maureen Brown. On the £25,000 donation, Maureen commented: “My husband and I have worked and volunteered with the Washington Riding Centre for many years and we are thrilled that the school has benefited from this generous donation by The Kavli Trust. I retire in March after 29 happy years at Kavli. It feels like a wonderful legacy that a company I have loved working for has been able to support such a worthwhile charity, so close to my heart.”

Owned by The Kavli Trust, profits from the commercial operations of Kavli Group are used to support scientific, cultural and humanitarian causes around the world.

Page Last Updated: November 19, 2012

RDA Chief Executive presents four-year plan for charity at AGM

RDA Chief Executive, Ed Bracher, presented the charity’s 4-year strategic plan is his address to the RDA AGM. You can download the accompanying presentation here: AGM 2012 – EdBracher-for website

Page Last Updated: November 19, 2012

Conquest Centre urgent appeal for volunteers

Can you help? read their appeal here:

Page Last Updated: November 14, 2012

Multiple awards for Bannockburn RDA

Bannockburn RDA is celebrating after receiving 3 awards for its work.


Bannockburn Group RDA won the Club of the Year Award at the horsescotland awards. This award is made to a club which has made an outstanding contribution to the development of equestrianism at a local, regional or national level.

Provost Award 2012

The Group was delighted to receive a Provost Award 2012 in the Voluntary category. These awards took place on Friday 26th October in Stirling Castle.

Bannockburn RDA was proud to see rider Owen Keeble return from Athens Special Olympics with one gold medal and two silvers. Staff member Lynne Blore won Centre FM local hero award in recognition of her work with the Centre’s vaulting team and Centre Manager Sara Smith was recognised for her personal fundraising efforts, which included a triathlon this year.

Overall the Award also recognises our many volunteers without whom the Centre could not operate.

Volunteer of the Year Award

Stirling volunteer Peter Cowie has won the Regional Volunteer of the Year Award for RDA. Peter has been volunteering with the Bannockburn Group for nearly four years and volunteers for around 25 hours per week, turning his hand to most maintenance jobs and generally supporting the Centre’s work. Carol Simpson, Development Manager for the group said “ our volunteers are vital to the running of the Centre and we are delighted to see Peter’s contribution recognised”.

Page Last Updated: November 12, 2012

Telegraph Grants

The 2011 Telegraph Christmas Charity Appeal enabled RDA to offer £100,000 direct to Groups in the form of grants. Here is a list of how the grants were awarded in 2012:

 RDA Group

Grant awarded


Ackworth Group, West Yorkshire


Planning and legal costs for building a new indoor school to increase activity

Avon Centre, Bristol


Purchase of land adjacent to the centre to allow continued use and  expansion

Ceffyl Du, Gwent


Carriage Driving equipment and training for new RDA whips to increase provision of driving

Chiverton Group, Cornwall


Towards the costs of a new building to allow further expansion of the Group

Cotswold Group, Cheltenham


Purchase of a new pony to enable more riders to take part

Friends of Beechley Stables, Liverpool


Funding towards a new weight bearing horse to allow new, older riders

Horse Rangers RDA, Hampton Court


Supporting a new project to bring in young school children on a specific programme

Kettering & District, Northants


Funding towards a new weight bearing horse to increase supply

Lambourn Group, Berkshire


Purchase of a new horse to allow expansion

Omagh RDA, Co Tyrone


Towards the costs of expanding the indoor arena and providing additional facilities for more riders

Ravelrig, Edinburgh


Support for the planning and costs associated with developing a new indoor school to increase capacity at the centre

Samber Group, Surrey


Purchase of a new horse to allow expansion

Somerset Levels, Somerset


Volunteer recruitment video in partnership with RDA National

TRADISSAR, Hampshire


Purchase of equipment

Wakefield Group, S Yorkshire


Towards the costs of a new surface, to allow increased use of the indoor school

Wear Valley, Co Durham


Towards the costs of a new driving track, to allow expansion of the Group’s activities into carriage driving

Woodchurch Group, Kent


Support and training for 2 new Carriage Driving whips to increase provision of driving

Page Last Updated: December 1, 2015

South East Region Indoor Driving Trial

The annual RDA South East Region’s Indoor Driving Trial took place at Sands Farm, Warnham on October 11th. Unfortunately the weather was miserable but it didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the drivers. [Read more…]

Page Last Updated: October 22, 2012