Five young riders from Fairlight Hall’s Riding for the Disabled Group, near Hastings, were winners at the recent RDA Regional Challenge Day.
And one rider also succeeded in qualifying for the RDA National Championships in Harpury, Gloucestershire in July.
They were competing against other riders from RDA groups from across Surrey, Kent and Sussex at East Grinstead’s Felbridge Show Ground, undertaking the Countryside Challenge with some classes acting as qualifiers for the Championships.
The Countryside Challenge follows a simulated course where the riders put their skills to the test by tackling obstacles and tasks they might find in the country. These include going through a gate, crossing a ‘road’, entering a farmyard, picking an apple from a tree and posting a letter. Although great fun, this also tests their steering, balance and confidence.
Juliette Nunn and Christopher Bigaignon both qualified for the Championships having come first and second respectively in their Senior Class.
Flinn Batehup won his Junior class and Katie Hartley and Joe Roud both won their Senior classes in the non-qualifying sections.
Kitty Scarboro was also a winner in the Junior section of the dressage.
The event was sponsored for the thirteenth year by local architects’ practice, Cowan Architects from East Grinstead.
Julia Hockin, a healthcare architect there, presented the prizes and said: “It’s always such a treat and an honour to participate in these inspiring events and meet such enthusiastic young people. The weather held for us and there were smiles all round”.
Lindsay Correa, Chairman of RDA across the South East praised the volunteers and organisers who had had to cope with last minute changes due to the weather to make the day work.
She said: “They are all an extraordinary team, and you only had to see the reactions from our riders to see that we absolutely achieved our aim of providing them and their families with a superb day”
There are 35 Riding for the Disabled groups across Surrey, Sussex and Kent with over 2,000 riders of all ages.
They come to enjoy the experience of riding, carriage driving, show jumping, dressage endurance and western style, with opportunities to learn a new skill, enter competitions or even take a holiday.
This can bring a new dimension to necessarily restricted lives, encourage independence and does much to improve a wide range of medical conditions.
Instructors work closely with physiotherapists and other health professionals to encourage every individual to aim for attainable goals - some modest, others far more ambitious.
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