January 2016 Newsletter

Points of Light Award

Not all of you will know this, but Di Redfern, our group Chairperson, has been honoured by the Prime Minister with a ‘Points of Light’ award. The award recognises her hard work with the RDA both locally and nationally, and with Para Dressage internationally.
Di has hosted SBRDA at her home for 45 years and has volunteered with the group for 50+ years. She works unstintingly many hours a week in a voluntary capacity with the group, with RDA National and behind the scenes with the Paralympic riders. Di has enabled many disabled people to fulfil their potential and become more independent, learning skills through riding opportunities. Through her contacts many wonderful horses have been loaned to the group.

Di Redfern with Rio

Di Redfern with Rio









New Horses

Several of our horses are reaching a stage in their lives where they have to reduce the amount of work they do. We have been very fortunate in the past few months to have three new equines given to us on loan




Bluebell, a 15.2hh dark bay mare, has been loaned to the group by Jane Holderness Roddam, former Chairman of RDA National, for the older independent riders who are interested in dressage. Bluebell used to event, but has taken several years off competing while having two foals. She will be a good schoolmistress.







Red Robin

Red Robin

In November Red Robin, a 14.2hh bay gelding, joined us from Oaklands College. He is being loaned to us by Sarah Moreland. He is trained to a high level and has a great deal to teach some of our up and coming young riders. He will be used for class rides and independent riders.








Benji is a 13.3hh piebald cob with a flowing mane and tail. He is being loaned to the group by Sam Lewes. He is just 7 and has not done a great deal, but he is a sturdily built pony who will be a great small weight carrying pony for class lessons.



Pony Day, November Half-Term

Three riders working towards independence joined in a pony morning in November. They had fun learning how to catch their pony, groom them and then ride them, as well as learning about stable duties. We will be holding more of these days in the school holidays, so keep a lookout on the notice board and our Facebook page

learning to groom

learning to groom

learning to pick out the pony's feet

learning to pick out the pony’s feet

learning to take rugs off

learning to take rugs off










Did you know?

In winter horses grow a thick coat to help keep them warm, but often this coat is too thick if they are working. Ponies with thick coats will sweat a lot when working, then as they cool down will stay wet and get too cold, even with a rug on. To help them we clip off some of the hair so that they do not overheat. This also helps them dry more quickly and keeps their skin healthy.


Anya sporting a blanket clip

Anya sporting a blanket clip

Libby sporting a trace clip

Libby sporting a trace clip




Scottie sporting a full clip

Scottie sporting a full clip

The amount of hair that is clipped off and the style depends on the amount of work that the ponies do and how much they sweat. Once clipped, the horse wears warmer rugs in winter to make sure they are snug in the field.

Please make an effort to come 10 minutes early for your rides. This gives you time to sort out hats, last-minute visits to the loo, and the necessary stretches to make it easier to mount. If you know you are going to be late, please ring in: 01753 662796.


Thank you to the group of Saturday helpers who have been having sales of clothing, books and other items since the summer – they have raised another £200 for the group.

Congratulations to Robyn Taylor, who braved the cold waters of the Firth of Forth to raise an amazing £574.57 for the group.

Anyone who pledged sponsorship for Robyn can give their donations to Gina in the office.
Can you think of any other fundraising activities for the group? We always need to raise funds, so

if you have any ideas or are willing to organise an event please see Gina.

Quiz night:

We are preparing a family quiz night in April. Keep your eyes open for a date. Details will be posted on the notice boards and Facebook page

Riding Donations

Over the past few years the cost of keeping our horses and ponies has risen dramatically, as has the cost of water, electricity, telephone etc. Donations from outside have continued to fall, due to the general economic climate. Because of this, the trustees have decided that in September 2016 we will have to ask weekend riders to increase the basic donation they make towards riding to £10 per group session; for weekday rides it will be £9 per session. There will be a saving for those paying annually. Private lessons will be increased to £32 for Juniors and £40 for those over 16 years. Ride cards for Juniors will be £135, and for over-16s it will be £175 for 5 rides.


We encourage everyone as part of their learning to take part in competitions to their level of riding:

Level 1:

We will be holding our qualifiers for the countryside challenge element of the Regional Show the week of 23rd April. Every member of South Bucks RDA is entitled to enter and seek selection. There is no cost to riders other than effort. We will build a countryside challenge course in the outside arena, and each rider will complete the course during their ride time. Rosettes will be given to all placed individuals.

Level 2: The Regional Show, Sunday 5th June, Wellington Riding
This is an exciting opportunity to show your skills. Up to six ponies will be attending from South Bucks, depending on the number of helpers available. All competitors will be required to contribute to the cost of the horsebox hire. There will be classes for dressage, countryside challenge and show jumping. Please contact Helen Burt if you wish to be considered for a dressage or show jumping place; these will be given on merit.
Level 3: National Championships, 15th-17th July, Hartpury

Those who are placed first or second in their class at the regional show and obtain a score of more than 60% will qualify for a place at the Championships. Those who qualify will need to contribute towards transporting their pony and stabling at Hartpury.
Arts and Crafts, 5th June

These competitions are great for those who cannot compete on the named days and who like making things. The picture, collage or sculpture needs to be ready for judging at the regional show.

Paint Me a Picture – Individual or group of up to four (Maximum size A1)

Paintings & Drawings – Individual (Relevant to RDA)

Collages & Montages – Individual & Group (Relevant to RDA)

Sculpture – Individual & Group (Relevant to RDA)
Please contact Gina for more details.

Musical Rides:

This video competition is for riders who will find it difficult to travel. Each ride is for a group of 4 to 6 riders; it can tell a story or be a drill ride in costume. Talk to your instructor about this. These must be submitted by 20th May, just before the Regional Show.

Photographic competition:

This is available to all RDA members. Please see the national RDA website for details.

Supporting the Group

The RDA has a great moto:

“It’s what you can do that counts”.

So can you put your talents forward to help the group?

Thank you to the volunteers who have pulled together and put in extra hours on Saturdays to keep the riding sessions going.

Several key volunteers have recently moved out of the district, too far away to continue volunteering with us. While groups in Scotland and Northumberland will be getting some very well trained volunteers, we are in need!
Do you know anyone who would be interested in becoming a volunteer? We are very short of help on Saturdays at the moment. If you know someone who would be interested, ask them to come along and see what we do, and pick up a volunteer application form.
We are also looking for:

  •  people to help fundraise by organising events, from a coffee morning to a gala evening
  •  help with general maintenance – painting, mending shelters, clearing ditches etc.
  •  help with publicityDates for the Diary:25-26 Feb (full): Instructors’ CPD day at Merristwood – apply directly to RDA national 28 Feb, 9-1.30: South Region Training day, South Bucks RDA, Fulmer
    15 March: National Showjumping Training Day 2016 at Little Brook Equestrian
    23 April: Countryside Challenge week

    5 June: Regional Show, Wellington riding 15-17 July: National Championships, Hartpury ? April: Quiz night (date to be announced) TBC: Gala fundraising evening
    4 Dec: Christmas carol service

    Remember to visit our website, www.southbucksrda.org, and our Facebook page, //www.facebook.com/SouthBucksRDA/