Latest News

Latest News


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.

Minutes of Newbury Riding for the Disabled AGM

Tuesday 12th September 2017

At Dumworth Farm House, Aldworth

Present: Mary Iliffe (Interim Chairman), Jenny Whiteman (Trustee), Cassilda Courtier-Dutton (Trustee), Jane Rowe (Hon Treasurer), Clare Spencer (Trustee Elect), Elizabeth Leaver (Trustee Elect), Cathy Edwards, Jo Stevenson-Hamilton, Jane Allen, John Clarke, Lindsay Morris, Tony Bradley, Mandy Bradley, Ursula Codrington, Catherine Pratt, Helen Pratt, Sally Sanderson, Hilary Jones.

Apologies : Lucy Hanbury (Trustee Elect), Jan Herbert, Carolyn Whitehead

Minutes of the last AGM held on 15th June 2016 were approved and signed.

Chairman's Report

This year we have had Castle School classes on Monday morning and afternoon, Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday, Thursday and Friday mornings. This is a total number of 44 riders riding each week. Roses (Rosemary Parfitt) from Castle School and Ursula Codrington have worked hard to keep the classes full. They have a great enthusiasm for riding for which we are extremely grateful. They quickly regroup and reorganise these riders to keep them coming to their lessons.

We are also lucky to have a Priors Court Class on Tuesday morning, Theale Green Primary School class on Wednesday and Winchcombe Junior School class of riders on Friday afternoon. Sunday morning has a class of private riders.

We have an increasing number of private riders coming at various times before and after other school classes. They are cleverly organised by Cassilda Courtier-Dutton to fill spaces we never knew we had and reduce our very long waiting list. The Sunday class now has back riding which gives the more disabled rider a chance to sit on a horse in front of a physiotherapist. At the moment, the Physio is Elspeth Mc Donnell from South Region. It is incredible to see the riders’ enjoyment and progress, hopefully to become an independent rider. Thank you Cassilda for working so hard organising these lessons and Elspeth for coming from Guilford each week to take the back riding and Amanda Cooke for extending this class.

When I returned to be a trustee of NRDA in June 2016 I didn’t envisage becoming interim chairman in December. It is with great sadness Jo Prater, Carol Steljes and Nicola Markham resigned. We miss them all very much as trustees. However, it was good to return to NRDA to find all classes running well and the Coaches and Class organisers very much in charge of the daily running of their classes.

In May, the Thursday class won a 5th prize as characters from Alice in Wonderland in the Fancy dress competition at Windsor Horse Show. It’s always tense getting everyone dressed up and into the ring and you all did so well. Thank you to Ursula and all the Thursday morning class for working so hard and producing wonderful costumes.

The South Region Show was on 4th June. We had 5 entries for dressage and Countryside Challenge. The riders, Chloe, Sam, Luke, Layna and Isabelle all did very well and won many rosettes. Huge thanks to those who took them to the event, to Jenny Whiteman and Jane Allen who spent considerable time training the riders and to the Coaches and helpers who went to the event.

Two of the riders went on to the RDA National Championships at Hartpury College. They were entered for the Countryside Challenge. They both did extremely well. Chloe won 1st prize in her class and had the Championship trophy for the best overall score and Sam came fifth in his class. Thank you to all involved with this. I think i also have to thank the rider’s parents for all their involvement in these events. It makes it all possible. Also thank you to our Stable Manager, Cathy Edwards who turns the ponies out for the events and daily so beautifully and looks after them so well.

Those that went to the Tracker Training day came away so enthusiastic that some classes have already done 2 terms of Tracker assessments and the riders have received their end of year result rosettes. We will be continuing with this into 2018. Well done to Lindsay Morris who has worked hard to get this up and running and discovering the changes we may need to make to reach our goals, hopefully some of these will be implemented this term. Also, we need to thanks Lindsay for setting up the face book page for Newbury RDA and I hope some of you have had time to use it. We look forward to your ideas. I personally think we should keep it as impersonal as possible. We need to highlight what we do without exposing our riders and helpers individually.

Jane Rowe has worked away with Matthew Lett on the website and between them it has been modernised and kept up to date. Thank you both for all the constant work! We managed to balance the book last year with all your hard work running fundraising events. Running these events is never easy and always exhausting so thank you all however small a part you played. From the tack sale to 2 days of making tea at the Truck Festival ‘thank you’. I must particularly mention the NRDA Fair committee because it makes so much towards the annual running cost. We are all extremely grateful for all their hard work and commitment to this fun event. We look forward to the Fair on the 28th September. We must say a huge thank you to all our Volunteers, all the coaches, class organisers and helpers. They are vital to the smooth running of the stables and safety of our riders. We cannot thank them enough for the time they spend working for Newbury RDA. As we start this autumn term there are many things in the pipe line for you all to look out for especially the rearranging of classes. Castle School has had a big move round. Winchcombe Primary school has left and potentially two new classes of riders are starting. Some classes have only one coach so we hope to train some new coaches. There will be training days for helpers and coaches. All of this is exciting and will need energy and enthusiasm.

Treasurer’s Report

The detailed statement of Financial Activities for the year ended 31 December 2016 of Newbury RDA is being circulated for your information, and I report as follows:

For the year ending 2016:

Income was up on 2015 by £6,000 (£60,982)

Expenditure was up on 2015 by some £4,560 (£55,424)

The year ended with a surplus of £5,558 which was almost £2,000 more than 2015 During 2016, our main income came almost equally from a huge drive on Fundraising and from Donations (Charitable, Grants and Riding) however after expenses Donations won over by about £6,750! We received 11 donations and grants of over £1,000. We were particularly fortunate to benefit from the closure of Swiss Cottage RDA who donated their final surplus of £2,400 to us. The Trustees would particularly like to thank Elizabeth Leaver and her team for their wonderful donation of £3,500 which was the result of an extremely busy weekend providing beverages and cakes for Truck Festival goers.

A much deserved thank you goes to all those who ran such successful fundraising events during the year: the Autumn Fair continues to flourish reaching new heights each year. Special thanks go to Carol and Nigel Steljes for yet again hosting the event; the organisers Linda Benson and Carolyn Whitehead and to Nicola Markham (delicious food), Carolyn Davis (coffee/cakes) and Sally Sanderson (Advertising) and many others. In addition, thanks go to the organisers of the extremely enjoyable and well run Golf Day in June; War Horse Presentation in October and the Canine 1st Aid in October.

I must reiterate my comment of last year, that we cannot rely on Donations in this financial climate so in order to maintain the current level of income, we should be holding several fundraising events annually raising over £1,500 surplus on each event.


The Non-Domestic Rateable Values were reassessed in 2016. Ours increased from £1,600 to £5,100 (some 319%) but following completion of various paperwork the RV has been reduced to £4,300 (reducing the increase to 269%!). We have received Transitional, Discretionary and Mandatory reliefs bringing the amount payable to zero. Following completion of an online report and submission of papers to support our costs for the ‘project’ (vet’s and farrier’s costs) we received the 2nd of 3 annual payments of £3,876 being a grant from Greenham Common Trust – totalling £11,628. We will be able to reapply for a grant next year.

So far in this financial year, 2017, we have benefitted from 9 donations of over £1,000. Of particular note is a fund set up by Laura Stirling in memory of her mother Rosie who was a long-time instructor at Newbury RDA. Laura raised a phenomenal sum of £6,785.70 which has been split equally between Headway Oxfordshire and Newbury RDA. We have had two fundraising events this year, the Wine Bluff (£3,878) and Elizabeth Leaver’s Great British Cuppa Café at Truck 2017 (£1,900). The Autumn Fair is gearing up for another successful event (currently £2,430 surplus). Yesterday, we received a donation of £1,050 from Nvidia who provided an excellent work party in the summer and paid for all the equipment required for the day (including tools which we were able to retain)

To date for the Financial Year 2017:

• Income stands at £41,850

• Expenditure stands at £38,125 (Note: The payment of £2,500 for Rio is classified as an asset and is therefore not included in the figures. Ponies owned by RDA depreciate through the books at 10% pa.)

• We are running at a surplus of £3,725 for the financial year

The total amount in our 3 bank accounts is £134,298 of which £90,000 is a Designated Capital Fund, so we are in good health.

To reappoint an auditor or independent examiner of the Group

Independent Examiner Angus Burnet (Martin & Co) JR/MI

Election of Officers

Position Name Proposer/Seconder

Election of New Trustees Lucy Hanbury MI/JR Elizabeth Leaver MI/JW Clare Spencer MI/JW Chairman Lucy Hanbury MI/JR Deputy Chairman Elizabeth Leaver MI/JW Deputy Chairman Clare Spencer MI/JR Interim Secretary Mary Iliffe JR/CCD Treasurer Jane Rowe MI/Tony Bradley Safeguarding Officer Elizabeth Leaver MI/CCD Assistant Safeguarding Officer Mary Iliffe JR/JW Other Cassilda Courtier-Dutton MI/JR Jenny Whiteman MI/JR

Other Group Positions

Castle School Rep Roses Parfitt Castle School – Governor Ursula Codrington Leading Rein Elizabeth Leaver Interim Website Co-Ordinator Jane Rowe with Matthew Lett FaceBook Co-Ordinator Lindsay Morris

Any other Business

Castle School dates for your diary as a guide. Half term 23rdOctober until 27thOctober. End of term 19th December 2017. There is no school on 1st December at Castle School. Next term Castle School starts on Thursday 4th January 2018

Priors Court, Theale Primary, The Avenue School and Fir Trees/Trinity School dates are all very similar to those above but riding dates will be confirmed nearer the time.

Some people will be retiring from the Autumn Fair Committee after this year’s event. Linkie would like new volunteers to become involved as soon as possible. If anyone is interested please contact her on

The date of the next AGM is to be decided but it will be in May/June 2018

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!

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.