RDA President HRH The Princess Royal hosts Mid West Big Ride

Gatcombe Park on 30 September 2017

What a treat to be in the beautiful surroundings of Gatcombe Park for this Big Ride. With a 2 and 5 km route passing through Gatcombe Woods and a longer 14 km route starting at Highgrove and finishing at Gatcombe, there were plenty of options for RDA riders, volunteers and supporters to enjoy this stunning countryside – there was something for everyone.

Lyncombe Lodge Group set off as a group to clock up 10 km with two of their coaches riding with their 3 accomplished RDA riders. Wellow RDA Group brought 8 ponies for their riders. They described how much they had enjoyed riding out in the countryside, particularly going through the woods with quite a number experiencing this for the first time. Several of their 17 volunteers explained that they could not have organised the day without their ‘linch pin volunteer Anne Allen who puts hours and hours into their group’. Julia a blind rider from Dauntsey Group was last to go on the shorter routes. With her own horse lame, luckily Julia was able to borrow a horse that had just finished the longer ride. Full marks to Caroline from Dauntsey Group who having ridden the 14 km route then walked and ran next to Julia on her horse.

Lots of volunteers organised by County Chairman Rachel Vaughan-Johns helped out as stewards and made sure the day went smoothly. Two Groups Summerhouse and Clavenham & Winford who could not bring riders had volunteers stewarding and Sarah Hadley came from RDA National Office. Three young volunteers from Wellow Group walked 6km as part of their YELA and to add funds to the Big Ride for the National Training Centre Project.

Volunteers stewarding at Gatcombe were pleased to have a chance to talk to the Princess Royal when she came past them on a morning ride, before the Princess returned later in the day to present rosettes and certificates to happy riders. We were delighted that multi medal winning para rider Anne Dunham came to chat to riders at the finish.

Lucy an RDA rider from Wellow Group was pleased to complete the longer 14 km route on her young horse, which settled beautifully as she took the lead alongside regional chairman Lizzie Blair. This group of 14 had a couple of experienced Beaufort Hunt members along to help keep us on the right tracks including Pammy Jane Farquhar and Jane Tuckwell who helps run Badminton Horse Trials. Talland RDA organiser Caroline Longsdon was on a lovely dun horse bought to hunt with grandchildren. Sam and deputy chairman Sheila Saner were lucky enough to be on horses leant by past RDA Chairman Jane Holderness Roddam, who later came to the finish to catch up with RDA friends. Volunteers from Hauserley Hollow Group and Saxon Group talked about how much they enjoy RDA and it was good to get a chance to congratulate Kady, coach of Darren RDA Rider of the Year.

A lot of planning went into organizing this successful Big Ride and we were very grateful to our President the Princess Royal and the teams at Gatcombe and Highgrove for making it possible.

Gatcombe riders happy rosettes

Page Last Updated: October 6, 2017