Latest News

Latest News

RDA National Championships – Isabelle and Ben enjoy success again

Having successfully qualified for the National Championships at the Regional Qualifier at Wellington in May, two of our riders with a team of supporters set off for Hartpury in Gloucestershire early on the 15th July. The RDA National Championships is the biggest competition for disabled riders in the world and competitors come from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. It was a long, hot day but very successful. Isabelle riding Bungle came third with 85% and Ben riding Ruby came fourth with 82.5% in their Countryside Challenge classes. They both rode beautifully, it takes a great deal of hard work and practice to reach these standards. Many congratulations to them both and to Bungle and Ruby who were very well behaved.

Newbury RDA visit to Castle School Fete on 9 June

After a break of many years, Castle School reinstated their Summer Fete which was held on Saturday 9 June. Volunteers from the Thursday class, Shirley Lyon, Penny Pattison and Jane Rowe, spent a very happy afternoon meeting current and past Castle School riders including a few who had completed their time at Castle School Post-16 (sixth form).

We ran a pin the tail on the PONY (rather a sleek looking racehorse) competition which was won by Jake from Pembroke Class. In addition, many came to groom our very sleepy “pony” lying down on our table, who was a great attraction and who enjoyed a thorough grooming over the afternoon.

We took the Newbury RDA display boards which had been updated to include photographs of our current ponies as well as some of those who have left us, showing what fun the children have when they come to ride at Wyld Court. These were of considerable interest to parents and children alike and gave us an opportunity to talk to them about our work.

There were several stalls including a wonderful raffle, plants, cosmetics, balloons being made into shapes, an assault course for the children and a wonderful school band accompanying the singing of several groups of pupils.

The Post-16 pupils who run Café 16, produced and served some deliciously mouth-watering food which we all sampled giving it a huge thumbs up in taste and quality. We are now looking forward to our end of term lunch there in July!

It was a delightful afternoon and we very much enjoyed being part of proceedings.

Berkshire County Training Day, 7th June.

Newbury RDA hosted the Berkshire County Training day at Wyld Court on 7 June. We were very fortunate to have two excellent trainers in Clive Milkins and Elspeth O'Donnell, attracting 60 attendees.

Clive, an RDA Fellow, now spends most of his time travelling internationally, training para riders. Sophie Christensen was his most famous pupil. He spends most of his time in America. We were very lucky that Clive was in England at the time and said he was very happy to come back to his ' RDA family'.

With the help of riders from the Thursday morning class, Clive demonstrated a very good exercise which could be used at any level and which kept the riders and helpers very focused! The riders were stretched but they had very clear instructions – one rider said that it was easy! It was lovely to see their very happy and proud faces reflecting their sense of achievement. Clive brought the best out of them. He kept the helpers on their toes too! The impeccably behaved and well turned out horses were a credit to Newbury RDA.

Elspeth is our Regional Physiotherapist and, although always busy, is very good at finding time to help us. She has recently given a back-riding course on Sunday morning to two of Newbury RDA’s little riders who were not able to sit on a horse on their own. Elspeth spoke about assessing the rider from the coach's point of view, very important but woefully neglected across the Region. Elspeth who is always very clear, explained how and why it was so important and suggested we spent the rider’s first lesson carrying out such an assessment before they get onto a horse. She listed conditions when it would be dangerous to the potential rider to ride and demonstrated the assessment procedure sitting on an armless chair, which coaches could easily carry out. We were given handouts.

In all, it was a very successful day and I would like to thank everyone who helped in so many ways. The feed-back was very positive.

Jenny Whiteman, Chair, Berkshire.


Penny “Shoe-Shine”

Penny, from the Thursday morning class, challenged herself to clean and polish all of the jodhpur boots sitting on our shelves at Wyld Court. Every week for the past 6 months she has taken home a few pairs of boots and rejuvenated them most magnificently – we believe she has probably polished about 50 pairs.

The boots are lent to our riders who keep them at home until they need to exchange them for a bigger size, so there is a good turnover of boots that need polishing! We would like to thank Penny for the enormous contribution she had made undertaking this seemingly never-ending task which must have used up a few tins of boot polish and a considerable amount of grease!

Thank you, Penny, you are a

MAGNIFICENT TRIUMPH for Ben at the Regional Show

Three riders competed to an extremely high standard at the Regional show held in the glorious sun at Wellington on Sunday 20 May.

Ben, Isabelle and Jodee competed in the same dressage class. Ben and Isabelle came first and second respectively and Jodee who has impaired sight, and who only recently started riding Ruby, had a very respectable score of 68.9%. Ben was personally congratulated on his test by the judge.

Ben and Isabelle (93.5%) competed and won each of their classes for the Countryside Challenge with Ben scoring 98.5% which is one of the highest scores ever recorded! He won a new trophy for the top mark at the show! Ben and Isabelle have both qualified for the Nationals (which run from 14 – 16 July) at Hartpury on Sunday 16 July.

Both Ruby and Bungle were stars, and Bungle looked in his teens after Cathy had prepared him so beautifully.

Congratulations to all of the riders; to Jane Allen for all the extra coaching and for bringing her pony, Ruby, to Wyld Court several times for the riders to practise on; Jenny Whiteman and all those who helped on the day: Carol, Cassilda, Hilary and Lindsay and chief photographer, Heather.

Sunday 13 May 2018 - Car Treasure Hunt and BBQ in aid of Newbury RDA

Sunday 13 May 2018 - Car Treasure Hunt and BBQ in aid of Newbury RDA

On Sunday 13 May, 26 intrepid teams set off from Newbury RDA on a car Treasure Hunt around the Berkshire Countryside. The course was devised by Sally and Mark Sanderson, Sally is the Class Organiser for the Tuesday afternoon class.

The teams had to complete over 40 clues over a distance of approximately 25 miles which took them through villages and across beautiful downland countryside to Brightwalton and back by a different route.

The teams returned to Wyld Court to enjoy a delicious barbecue in the spring sunshine which was attended by 80+ competitors and their friends.

The hardworking volunteers who organised the event were delighted by the total raised of over £1,200. A much needed boost to Newbury RDA funds.

Prizes were kindly donated by

Lord and Lady Lloyd-Webber
Casey Fields Farm Shop, Ashampstead (
West Berkshire Brewery, Yattendon (
Penwood Nurseries Ltd (
The Living Rainforest ( 
The Pot Kiln ( 
Caroline Herman of Reiki & Relaxation.

Newbury RDA would like to thank everyone who supported the Treasure Hunt and all the volunteers who helped to make it such a success.

First Aid Training

When working with horses at any level, whether on the ground or riding, accidents can occur. So, 12 coaches and volunteers presented themselves for First Aid top-up training on Tuesday 1 May, in Clare Spencer’s wonderful barn. Ian Patterson from Medi-K Training fairly put us through our paces, spending the morning going through initial response for a potentially injured rider, doing all the procedures leading up to and undertaking CPR. After a delicious lunch kindly provided by Clare, we covered various injuries which awoke some attendees’ best theatrical histrionics!

After an extremely intensive and informative day, and thanks to Ian’s comprehensive training, we all achieved our FAA Level 3 Award in Emergency First Aid at Work with an equestrian specific supplement.

Clare will be running more courses in the future for Newbury RDA and those nominated by adjoining RDA’s so please contact her to book your place on the next course:

Downe House Work Party - Sunday 22 April

On Sunday, 22 April, a party of girls from AGS house, Downe House School, gave up their Sunday morning to come up to the stables at Wyld Court to help out.

The girls were put to work emptying and cleaning water troughs - a wet and messy job. Thankfully the weather was good and they turned the task into a fun occasion whilst doing a great job.

We are grateful to Downe House for their continuing support of our charity, both in fundraising and also practical help.

19th October - Rapid 7 Work Party

A delightful team of about 16 people came to Wyld Court from an internet security firm called Rapid7, who are based locally, to offer their help for the day doing lots of jobs around the stables. Cathy had some outstanding jobs that finally got done, including digging a trench to run a length of water pipe so that the water troughs will now self fill. The Cross Country Challenge had a make over with repairs and painting done. All the metal gates that needed it had a fresh coat of paint and new headcollar box was made for the lower paddocks. One team spent all day clearing up the leaves under the trees around the drive. Another team tidied up the garden and path leading to the back door of the kitchen. Also all the props and poles had a wash.

All jobs were taken on in very good spirits by Rapid7 who kept saying it was so nice to be out in the fresh air and away from the office for the day! It transpires that Rapid7 are a global firm and on a certain date annually they shut all their offices around the world and all employees spend the day helping out a Charity of their choice.

We are extremely grateful to all those volunteers from Rapid7 for their valuable help.


The Fair took place on 28 September at the wonderful setting of Hillfields Farm owned by Carol and Nigel Steljes who have so generously hosted the event for the past 10 years.

With stands ranging from fabulous clothing, shoes and jewellery to household goods, smoked meats, fish and cards, toys and trinkets to hand made flowers – trade was brisk; the tea and coffee ladies were busy all day; and delicious lunches were served from midday.

Spencer Wilton, our guest speaker, gave a fascinating insight into the building of his international dressage career to becoming a world top ten rider this autumn.

Year on year the Fair has increased in size and, as a result, so have the funds raised which amount to 20% of Newbury RDA’s annual income. This is an enormous benefit to us and the riders, from local special needs schools, to whom we give therapy every week.

The Trustees are hugely grateful to Linda Benson and Carolyn Whitehead, and their hardworking committee, for organising the Fair over the last 10 years. Their eye to detail and the time it takes to recruit new stallholders, taking all year, is second to none.

Linda has announced that she has decided to stand down from the Committee. We really do appreciate all that she has contributed to the running of the Fair over the years. Anyone interested in joining the team should contact Carolyn Whitehead:

The 2018 Fair will be held on 27 September 2018 - details will be available in due course

Downe House Volunteer Party

A party of Downe House girls came to Wyld Court on Sunday, 24th September. They had a tour of the stables, visited the Indoor School and the paddocks. They kindly brought a bag of useful gifts with them including a small grooming kit which will be ideal for classroom sessions.

After their tour and an introductory talk the girls set to work with a will, poo picking and sweeping up leaves and sticks. When they had finished the yard and fields looked very tidy.

Newbury RDA has a close relationship with Downe House School and the girls have been great supporters over the years, they hold fundraising events and some of the older pupils volunteer to assist with classes. We look forward to the girls coming along to help with jobs around the stables and enjoy giving them an introduction to the work that Riding for Disabled undertakes.

First Aid Course Report

Clare Spencer organised and hosted an Equine based First Aid Course on 12th September 2017. It was the first time we had used Medi-K First Aid Training for Horse Riders. Ian Patterson instructed us on the day. He was absolutely excellent. He made the whole day fun but also extremely informative. We all learned a lot and passed our short quiz/test at the end of the day. If there are any RDA coaches or volunteers that need to get their First Aid up to date please inform Clare ( and she can add you to a list for any future courses.

TRUCK MUSIC FESTIVAL 21 – 23 July 2017

Elizabeth Leaver and her brilliant team of friends have run the Great British Cuppa Café at the TRUCK music festival for the past two years in aid of Newbury Riding for the Disabled. This year was the 20th Festival and Elizabeth says: “a very special thank you to the Binning Family who allow this unique event to happen on Hill Farm, Steventon!”

As you will see from the photos, the weather was a bit of a challenge but the Café raised another significant donation for us again this year. Many, many thanks to all those who helped over the weekend, including Nicola, Clare, Rachel and Ann from RDA; and to all those volunteers who baked such delicious looking cakes.

Did Elizabeth really say that it was “over until next year”?!

Thank you Elizabeth for all your hard work.

Chloe and Sam excel at the National Championships on 16 July.

The ponies had an adventurous journey to Hartpury, enduring a blow-out on the trailer on Birdlip Hill, but everyone arrived in one piece and immediately had to get Chloe and Bungle into the ring for their Countryside Challenge with Jane Allen leading and Catherine Pratt side walking.

Sam riding Murphy came 5th in their Countryside Challenge class with only leader, Jane, to help. In addition, they came 5th in the Best Turned Out class against much competition.

Chloe and Bungle came 1st in their Countryside Challenge class and also won the Class Championship.

Congratulations to everyone involved, particularly Cathy and Jan who turned the ponies out so beautifully; to Jane for all her hard work over the summer; to Catherine, the riders and their parents.

Well done!

Corporate Volunteer Day

On Friday 9 June, we were pleased to welcome a corporate group of volunteers from Nvidia.

Cassilda Courtier-Dutton and Martin Vile worked closely with Judi Lewis-Shallow from Nvidia for several months to set up the day.

The 56 volunteers came from all over the south, from as far afield as Bristol, London and Cambridge but mainly from Reading. They were split into 4 groups headed by RDA Volunteers John Burroughs, Lotte Stewart, Cassilda Courtier-Dutton and Martin Vile. The teams quickly got to work carrying out tasks including: repairs to the field shelters, painting of fencing, gates, stables and walls and ceiling of the WC; gardening, ragwort pulling and general clearing and tidying of the site; cleaning tack and students’ riding boots; reorganising the tack room. The volunteers were fed and watered throughout the 6-hour day by the hardworking Judi and everyone enjoyed a delicious lunch which was a welcome break.

Newbury RDA is extremely grateful to the volunteers who worked so hard, efficiently and cheerfully turning their hands to all sorts of tasks which will greatly improve our working environment particularly for the children and ponies.

The Group very much appreciates the generous grant donated by Nvidia to purchase all the materials and equipment required in order for the jobs to be undertaken.

Grateful thanks to all at Nvidia for their support to enable completion of works that we have been unable to tackle ourselves and to the RDA team for co-ordinating a hugely successful day.

RDA Regional Show at Wellington on 4 June.

Chloe, Layna, Luke, Isabelle and Sam competed at the RDA Regional show on the last day of half term on Bungle, Murphy and Boris. They had a busy day riding dressage tests and doing the Countryside Challenge (which is a bit like a handy pony competition). Many thanks are due to Jane Allen and Jenny Whiteman who spent many afternoons with the riders going through their tests and this resulted in the children coming home with lots of rosettes and happy smiles on their faces. Cathy, as always, produced the ponies to a high standard - they were gleaming.

Chloe and Sam riding Bungle and Murphy have qualified for, and will be competing at, the RDA Championships on 16 July at Hartpury - good luck!

Yattendon Fete Tombola - 30 May

The Children’s Tombola at Yattendon Fete raised a wonderful £120 for Newbury RDA. Many thanks to Sue Bertie, Georgie Woods and Mary Iliffe for organising and running the stall at this very popular Bank Holiday event.

Balmoral Class has a fabulous day out at Windsor Horse Show

The children from Balmoral Class and all the volunteers from the Thursday morning RDA class dressed up as characters from Alice in Wonderland for the Windsor Lions RDA Fancy Dress Class at Windsor Horse Show on 11 May. Ethan on Murphy and Emily on Bungle were cheered on by their friends who were delighted with their fifth place. The Mad Hatter’s hat and Queen of Hearts’ crown were made by our very talented coach, Ursula. Everyone else pitched in to make up all the other outfits.

We had a huge picnic afterwards, which Cathy and Jan joined after settling the ponies, during which the children spent most of the time glued to the activities in the ring which ranged from Disabled Driving to racehorses retrained at Polo Ponies.

30th April - Cathy and Amanda’s Tack Sale - a great success

10+ stalls, a friendly and relaxed atmosphere and excellent snacks contributed to the success of the Tack Sale at Wyld Court on 30 April. Many thanks to Cathy, Amanda and the Sunday morning volunteers for arranging everything. The proceeds more than covered the cost of a new hot water hose/shower for the horses.

11th March - Wine Bluff Fundraiser in March

Almost £4,000 raised on 11 March by the Thursday class who ran an informative and thoroughly enjoyable Wine Bluff, Silent Auction and picnic evening at Hampstead Norreys village hall. A terrific result - thank you to everyone who took part and well done to all those involved.