We have named Riding for the Disabled (RDA) as our official charity for 2019, in celebration of the association’s 50th anniversary.
The charity was founded in 1969 after disabled riding groups had already sprung up around the UK due to increasing recognition of the therapeutic benefits of riding for children and adults with disabilities. Today RDA horses and ponies benefit the lives of over 25,000 disabled people, supported by 18,000 volunteers and qualified coaches at nearly 500 RDA centres across the UK.
Plans are already in place, with the local RDA branch hoping to stage a carriage driving display on the Friday of Saracen Horse Feeds Houghton International. It will also be hosting the dog agility course at both events, with volunteers available to chat to spectators about the important work they do.
Rosie O’Grady, Chairwoman of the Trustees at The Magpie Centre-West Norfolk RDA, commented on the announcement: “We are really grateful that RDA has been chosen as the official charity for the Barefoot Retreats Burnham Market and Saracen Horse Feeds Houghton International Horse Trials in this celebratory year for us.
“At The Magpie Centre-West Norfolk RDA we provide 130 riding and carriage driving lessons a week to people of all ages. All the money raised will help us continue to give these life changing lessons to people with disabilities in the West Norfolk area.”
Event Director Alec Lochore added: “This is a fantastic charity which makes a huge difference to countless families up and down the country. Great Britain is a world leader in equestrian sport for those with disabilities, thanks in large part to the opportunites provided by RDA. I very much hope that the charity is well supported and look forward to welcoming the members and volunteers to our events.”
Competition entries are now open for Barefoot Retreats Burnham Market International so it won’t be long before we know which of the world’s top athletes will be heading to Norfolk in April.
Barefoot Retreats Burnham Market International takes place from Friday 12 – Sunday 14 April at Sussex Farm, while Saracen Horse Feeds Houghton International (incorporating FEI Nations Cup) runs from Thursday 23 – Sunday 26 May in Houghton Hall’s stunning deer park.
For more information on the work of RDA, visit https://www.rda.org.uk.