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Work Party from The Trade Remedies Investigations Directorate

Monday 22 July

On 22 July, we were very pleased to welcome a party of volunteers from The Trade Remedies Investigations Directorate which is a new part of the Department of International Trade that will investigate allegations that other countries have unfairly subsidised goods sold in the UK or dumped them post Brexit. The team is based in Reading and was created by the Government earlier this year. The visit to RDA was the first volunteering day staff have under taken together.

11 volunteers arrived before 9 am and worked very hard and efficiently. They enjoyed the challenges that had been set for them and very much appreciated the views and venue.

Jenny Whiteman and Danielle had many jobs to be tackled so the volunteers divided into small groups to carry out the following:

• rake the indoor school, which must have been hot work - it is now beautifully smooth and flat
• wash and sort the learning props for our lessons
• weed the garden and the small turnout area
• mend a downpipe and reinstate the guttering in the same turn out area
• mend the headcollar box and put it back in place on the fence
• sort the jodhpurs by size, which will ease the fitting out of new riders in September
• wash the grooming kits
• clear ragwort from the fields
• and finally, so that the “Countryside” paddock can be ‘topped’, all the movable obstacles were cleared and stored tidily, after the storage area had been cleaned and reorganised

Claire Bassett, Chief Executive, gave them a BBQ lunch and everyone left just before 3 pm, hot, dirty but happy that had achieved so much and feeling that they had helped us get things in order for the new term.

Grateful thanks from all at Newbury RDA for the team’s marvellous hard work on a hot sunny summer’s day.

Balmoral Class 2019

Scroll through the photographs to see Balmoral Class enjoy their riding


Saturday 13 July

Three of our riders qualified to attend the RDA Championships. This is a great opportunity for them to compete against riders from all over the country. In the past, when we have qualified for the Championships, we have competed on the Sunday of the three days of the event, however, because of other commitments we went on Saturday this year.

Ben, Eli and Isabelle arrived beautifully turned out but only two ponies turned up! This was because Bandit, who suffers from COPD which makes him wheeze and cough, was found to be doing just that when Danielle went to get him in on the morning of the show. So, he was ‘off sick’.

In the Countryside Challenge class with two helpers (leader and side-walker), Isabelle riding Ziggy came fifth with the very good score of 82.6%, despite Ziggy being a bit spooky to start off with.

In the second Countryside Challenge class (with a leader only), both Ben and Eli, who had trained on Bandit, had to share Genesis (Gen). At the Championships, the riders walk the course beforehand but the ponies are now allowed to! Ben rode first introducing Gen to the unknown course which gave Eli a bit of an advantage when he went into the arena later. Eli had NEVER ridden Gen before but he was thrilled to, at last, be able to ride a big horse!

When the results came out Ben was second with 80.5% and Eli was first with 85.5%. Being first in a class means that the combination of rider and horse are put forward for an overall award covering all the different Countryside Challenge classes on the day. Eli and Gen won the overall Championship Trophy with their score of 85.5% beating the seniors. Many congratulations to Eli and Gen, who really was a star.

These results only happen as a result of a great deal of effort. We are very grateful to all those involved for their commitment; particular thanks to Jane Allen, Jenny Whiteman and Cassilda Courtier-Dutton who spent so much time training the riders for both the Regional and National Shows and to all those who volunteered to help out at both events.

We are very grateful to Danielle for all her hard work turning out the ponies so beautifully and for her work training the ponies and to Danielle and her husband, Martin, who towed the ponies to Hartpury.

All the ponies competing at Hartpury were given gold plaques to put on their stable doors to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Riding for the Disabled Association.

A wonderful end to the year. Well done everyone!


After 7 years of wonderful service Bungle has deservedly retired to his owner’s farm. He has been the most able and beautifully mannered pony who, prior to becoming an RDA pony, had a most illustrious career as a show pony. Whilst with us he was a star at RDA competitions.

In lessons he never put a foot wrong, was very obedient enabling children to gain self- confidence and therefore improve their riding ability quickly. Not surprisingly he was a great favourite so had to have his riding limited, especially in his latter years.

He loved competitions, knew exactly how to behave and won many rosettes making his riders and their parents very proud. Bungle qualified for the National Championships twice and competed at the Regional Show on many occasions.

In 2017 at the National Championships at Hartpury, Bungle and his rider came first in their class and were overall champions in that category over the three days of competition with the amazing score of 93%. This was after a tyre blew out on the pony trailer driving to Hartpury from Newbury on Birdlip Hill. After the tyre was repaired with the ponies still on board, they arrived late. Sue Mack judging said if you can get here before the class finishes, they can compete. Poor Bungle had his tack thrown on in haste and rushed down to the ring with no warm up and won! A reflection on his wonderful temperament!

In 2018 Bungle qualified for Hartpury and was placed 3rd in his Countryside Challenge class with a score of 85%.

letter from a grandparent from one of his riders:

"First let me thank you for the sterling work that you do with the children. We were able to see our grandson from Winchcombe school on Friday. He loves riding and it has given him great confidence when he struggles in his everyday life. When he first started riding he took a particular liking to Bungle so I started to write short bedtime stories about the pony including him and his sister in the tale. These included Bungle Goes to the Dentist and Bungle Goes to Town "

Bungle was very much a summer pony and hated the rain! He always had a shelter in his paddock. He has had a busy life, giving much enjoyment to many children – we wish him well in his retirement. We are very grateful to the Goodenough family for lending us such a special pony.

The Berkshire County Training Day

13 June 2019

The Berkshire County Training Day was held at Wyld Court on Thursday 13th June. It was well attended and seemed to be enjoyed by the attendees despite it being a very cold and wet day.

We began with a session on writing lesson risk assessments and managing safety, identifying hazards laid out in the school, spotting the deliberate mistake in Gen's tack. Volunteer Lindsay arrived late with phone ringing in open sandals, lots of sparkling dangling jewellery, scarf and coat flapping. A spot of light entertainment which gave everyone a laugh.

Frances Lochrane spoke on charity law and the upkeep of horses in Goups, once they have finished their useful RDA life.

Our Regional Vet was scheduled to speak on the 'Care of the Elderly Horse' but was unable to come at the last minute owing to work commitments. Tony Bradley, a former Trustee of Newbury RDA, very kindly stepped in at the last minute to give us a very interesting and professional talk on grassland management. It was a very new subject to training days and the audience was fascinated; Tony has had a very interesting career in Estate Management.

Jane Allen finished off, demonstrating on Gen, on how to school and bring on RDA horses. Bandit and Ziggy came into the school to prepare them for crowds when they go to the National Championships next month.

Wellington RDA Regional Horse Show

19 May 2019

Jenny Whiteman reports that eight riders and three horse/ponies - Genesis, Bandit and Ziggy went to the RDA Regional Show at Wellington on Sunday 9 May and all came home proudly wearing rosettes. Seven riders entered the Countryside Challenge Competition and four riders the Dressage

The ponies had all been bathed and plaited and looked very smart thanks to Danielle's care. It was the first time that all three ponies had been to the Regional Show; they did very well but were a little nervous. Ziggy found the life size black and white pig from a butcher's shop on the countryside challenge course very scary! However, all three got through to the Nationals, which was very impressive since it was their first time.

Three riders qualified in the Countryside Challenge Competition for the Championships at Hartpury which is the biggest equine event for disabled riders in the world. To qualify for Hartpury, the riders have to come first or second in their class and get over 70%. Isabelle on Ziggy was second in her class, Ben on Genesis came second in his class and Eli on Bandit was third in her class and, because it was such a large class, the first three qualified so she is also going to the Championships. Chloe, Reighan, Rocco and Gabriel all did well and won rosettes but did not qualify this year.

Jodee riding Genesis did very well in the dressage test and came first in her class with 71% but, because there is not a class for led blind riders, she did not qualify for Hartpury which is a shame. Isabelle came 3rd, Chloe 5th and Ben 6th in their dressage classes so all won smart rosettes.

All the riders had a great day out!

big thank you to the volunteers who came to the Show to help, it was very kind of them to give up their Sunday. They said they very much enjoyed it and we certainly could not have done without them!

Vodafone Work Party – 16 May 2019

On Thursday 16 May a Volunteer Work Party from Vodafone, Newbury, gave up their time for a day to carry out much needed jobs for us.

The Volunteers worked really hard tidying up the Countryside Challenge, painting wood round the hazards so that we can now see where we are going (!), fixing fencing and cutting back some of the longer grass....with hand held hedge cutters, which must have been hard work and back breaking!

lot of weeding was done outside the stable block and all the doors were washed down so they now look wonderfully clean and bright again.

The cobwebs that could be reached in the indoor school were removed - this is a job that has not been done for a considerable time!

We are always so grateful to all Volunteer Work Parties. They do all the jobs that we are unable to do ourselves due to time constraints, so a big thank you to Helen May and her team – please come again!


On Sunday 24th March, Newbury RDA opened its doors to the public at Wyld Court Stables. Over 200 people came to look around the stables, meet the ponies and chat to the volunteers. It was a huge success, and everybody seemed to have a good time.

During the afternoon, there were riding displays by three of our riders, Jodee, Isabelle and Olivia. We were so fortunate with the weather. In spite of a cool breeze, it was warm enough for one of the riding displays to take place outside in one of the paddocks, in the sunshine.

It was especially enjoyable to see so many of the children who ride at the stables come with their families for the afternoon and to take part in the children’s activities, which included a treasure hunt and quiz.

Homemade cakes and tea were served throughout the afternoon.

A total of £483 was raised to go towards Newbury RDA funds.

The Trustees of Newbury RDA would like to thank Sally Sanderson and Jo Stevenson-Hamilton for masterminding the open afternoon; to Jane Allen and Cassilda Courtier-Dutton for putting on the indoor and outdoor riding displays respectively and to all those volunteers who helped to ensure that everyone had a happy and enjoyable afternoon.

Special thanks go to our Stable Manager, Danielle, who turned out all of the ponies beautifully, especially the three ponies used for the riding displays who were all neatly platted. The stable yard was spotless!

Our ponies in the February snow taking advantage of some delicious haylage and enjoying a sunny day.

29 January 2019 - Sarah Heynen, Chair Elect of Riding for the Disabled Association, visits Newbury RDA

On a very cold Tuesday in January we were pleased to welcome Sarah Heynen, the Chair Elect of Riding for the Disabled Association (to which we are affiliated) when she visited Newbury RDA. She attended 2 classes – here she is being shown how to mount by rider Isabelle and her Coach, Cassilda.

Sarah joins Riding for the Disabled Association from the commercial world where she sat on the UK Executive Board, as Vice President Marketing, for brands such as McVitie’s, Jacob’s and Godiva. She brings with her significant expertise in building brands, developing relevant growth strategies and in nurturing strong, long-lasting relationships with key stakeholders.

Sarah is an active supporter of fundraising events within her village and is set to become a weekly volunteer at the Cotswold RDA from January. With 2 horses of her own and a teenage daughter, she appreciates first-hand the therapeutic benefit horses can bring.

Sarah is very much looking forward to joining the team at Riding for the Disabled Association’s Head Office in Warwickshire at the end of March 2019

Monday 28 January 2019 - South Region training for the new Coach Passports introduced in 2018

On 28 January, 30 new coaches from all over the South Region: Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Hampshire, came for training at Newbury RDA.

Riding for the Disabled Association introduced a new training pathway in the Autumn. The training day was set up to assess and understand the new passport which requires all new coaches to carry out more training before becoming Group Coaches. A total of 8 modules have to be completed including practical and theory elements before being assessed.

Joint South Region Coaches, Felicity Smettem and Theresa Drake assisted by Suzanne Stratford and Jenny Whiteman (County Coaches), came to teach a Horse Care and Knowledge module followed by a Medical Therapy module taught by Nona Dane, the Regional Physiotherapist.

We learned about horse feeding and how to manage pasture; travelling with horses (the rules and regulations) and, using Newbury RDA ponies, we had to work out and assess which horse a rider should ride, taking in to account height, gait and build, to give them the best ride as well as how to judge the condition of the pony. We were taught about tacking up and special equipment that can be used in an RDA session.

Nona’s physiotherapy module was centred around why a rider should and shouldn’t ride, including working through riders’ medical conditions, that we normally see, using special assessment forms.

We went home full of new information and very cold!


Lucy Hanbury (right), Chairman of Newbury Riding for the Disabled, and (left) Harriet Capaldi, Managing Director of The Genesis Foundation, meeting our new piebald pony “Genesis”.      

The Genesis Foundation, which is based in London, attended the Riding for the Disabled Association (to which we are affiliated) Gala Awards 2018 and agreed to purchase a pony for Riding for the Disabled.    Harriet had lived very near Newbury Riding for the Disabled so chose us to benefit from their very generous donation.   As a result, ‘Gen’ was recently purchased and is proving to be very popular with the children who ride at Hampstead Norreys.

The Trustees of Newbury Riding for the Disabled wish to thank all those at The Genesis Foundation, who made the purchase of such a super pony possible.

First AidCourse - 29 November 2018

At the end of November 2018, Ian from Medi-K Training ran a full day’s FAA Level 3 Award in Emergency First Aid at Work (RQF), with Equestrian-Specific Supplement, course at Clare’s house in Compton.

7 people attended the course which was for new First Aiders or those who needed a refresher course. At first, there was some concern that those attending had to bring riding hats and back protectors, but they were able to practice on dummies wearing these, giving a more realistic approach.  Ian makes the course interesting and practical; and thus, thoroughly enjoyable.

It is essential that each of our 10 weekly RDA classes has at least one qualified First Aider in attendance. The qualification is valid for 3 years.

VODAFONE WORK PARTY – 1 November 2018

On Thursday 1 November, a large team of approximately 30 people from Vodafone, Newbury, came to help us with our endless list of jobs at Wyld Court.

The day started with a TORRENTIAL downpour of rain but, thankfully, it cleared quite quickly so that everyone could get on with the various jobs that were earmarked for each team of volunteers.

Our kitchen had a makeover with a fresh coat of paint which made a huge difference. Now the new units, fitted earlier in the term, look at home in their gleaming new surroundings.

All the props (toys, balls and all sorts of other items we use) were cleaned and sorted into their correct storage boxes.

The back garden, which was extremely overgrown, was cut back massively and now looks impressively neat and tide.

Stable doors and windows were cleaned and a small but knowledgeable team did some excellent fence repair work in the countryside challenge field and the field opposite the indoor school.

Last but not least, all the leaves were raked up again which seems like a fairly simple task but takes a lot of man hours to clear up what looks like not many leaves but fills barrow after barrow!

The rain managed to hold off after the morning deluge and many thanks go once again to all of the Vodafone volunteers for giving us their time and man power!

Rapid7 Work Party


We were lucky to have a fine sunny day for the volunteers from RAPID7 who returned to us for a second year running to execute various tasks for Newbury RDA on Thursday 18 October.

RAPID7 is an Internet Security Company based in Theale, who practice the SecOps by delivering shared visibility, analytics and automation that unites security, IT and DevOps teams.

The wonderful team of volunteers, including several from mainland Europe, came to Wyld Court to help with jobs that we never seem to have time to carry out – sweeping up the autumn fall of leaves which is a never-ending job, hedge cutting, strimming nettles, knocking in fence posts for the electric fencing, and so on.

The work the team carried out is hugely appreciated. It seemed to be a fun day out of the office for everyone and also an opportunity can carry out informal team building. Many thanks to you all.

We very much hope to see RAPID7 again next year.


Once again the sun shone on another successful Newbury RDA Gift Fair at Hillfields Farm, Lower Basildon.

The tremendous selection of 50 stallholders drew a good crowd throughout the day. The stalls ranged from fashion to jewellery, from pottery to kitchenware, from pies to fudge and lots more in between. A steady stream of shoppers maintained a happy buzz in both barns.

As ever the RDA cake stall was a popular stop before heading into the café area where homemade cakes and biscuits were a delicious precursor to the amazing lunch choices offered by Nicola Markham. Her homemade scotch eggs and sausage rolls along with her sublime salmon and salads always wow our diners. A small glass of wine never goes amiss either.

The overall monies raised from this year’s Fair matched those of last year at £13,500. This is almost a quarter of what is required to keep Newbury Riding for the Disabled’s stables, at Wyld Court, running so that disabled children can continue to receive therapy and enjoy themselves at this dedicated centre.

A huge thank you to Carolyn and Linda, their committee and all those who helped on the day, for all the hard work they put into the organisation of such a successful event again this year.

The date for next year’s Fair will be Thursday 26th September. If you already have your 2019 diaries please save the date now. You won’t want to miss it.

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