South Bucks RDA Newsletter May 2017

Welcome to our Spring 2017 newsletter

It is a busy time for us here at South Bucks RDA with preparations for the Regional and National Championships. All qualifying rounds of the Countryside Challenge have now taken place and we are only a couple of weeks away from the RDA Regional Show at Wellington. Good luck to all taking part this year and we will report on how we get on in our next newsletter.

Thank you to the Mead family

You may remember from our last newsletter a story about a lovely lady called Glenis who was very poorly and had a lifelong dream to ride a horse. Charlie Girl rose to the occasion and made Glenis’ dream come true before she sadly passed away in February.

Mead Fam & CG
At her funeral, the family kindly requested donations to South Bucks RDA in place of floral tributes and they raised an amazing £606.72.

The family recently came to meet Charlie Girl and to present a cheque. I would also like to say a special thank you to little Gabriella who raided her moneybox, sorted through her pennies and made her very own donation. Many thanks to everyone for their kindness and generosity – it was a pleasure to meet you all.

Lucy Gavrilovic, BHSI, Training Day for volunteers
learning about work on the ground with horses
We have received the following thank you from one of our volunteers, Karen Brown. It’s great to get feedback and to hear that our volunteers find value in the Training Days that we hold.

Thanks to South Bucks RDA Group for arranging another very informative and interactive day with Lucy Gavrilovic, BHSI, for volunteers.

Riders, non-riders and lapsed riders all had the opportunity to ride the mechanical horse and gain positive feedback to help us all with our core strength, which is vital to our everyday activities, riding or not.

We moved on to the indoor school where Romilly, on Harley, demonstrated in walk how to improve on the ‘first scale of training’ i.e. rhythm! Harley’s walk progressed rapidly under Lucy’s instruction, and the difference between the start of the lesson and the end was markedly obvious to us all. Lucy ran through the five scales of training which includes impulsion, acceptance of the bit, suppleness, straightness, all leading to the final tier… collection. A rider’s dream!

Two of Helen’s riders, Jess and Susie, then went on to continue this theme in walk and trot.

The afternoon finished with Helen demonstrating on Mable, leaving us all feeling that the day was of great value, for many varied reasons.

So, rider, non-rider or volunteer, on or off the ground, I thoroughly recommend these special one-off sessions if you are available. So thanks to everyone involved in making these events happen, and I hope you are inspired to come and try something a little bit different.

The next events will be emailed to volunteers by Gina and put on the noticeboard.

News from our Wednesday classes

The children from Coteford Junior School have had a busy time working on their riding skills and preparing for their first Proficiency Test. Congratulations to Daniel, Hurmat and Luca who all started riding last September and have each achieved their Grade 1 Proficiency Test in Riding and Horse Care. They are now working towards their Grade 2 this Summer.

At the same time our riders from Arbour Vale School have been working towards personal Endeavour Awards. These Awards are given when a rider achieves a personal goal and each term we create goals appropriate to the needs of individual riders. These goals have included: being able to sit quietly on a chair on arrival, mount and dismount safely when asked, keep calm, listen and obey instructions, Attempt verbal commands when prompted, show understanding and response to ‘Signing Cards’ and Pony Bonding to overcome a fear of animals, and the ability to walk toward and pat a pony on its neck. Congratulations to Brian, Inaaya, Jameel, Mohammed and Tommy who each achieved their goals.

Creative Writing Competition

The first ever RDA themed Creative Writing Competition was launched by RDA National Office and was open to RDA participants of all ages and abilities. There were three Classes: Write a Poem, Write a Letter or Write a Short Story and entrants were asked to use their imagination and writing skills to live their dreams.
Ruby wins with: The Horse Who Could Only Trot
Adam, Daniel, Harrison, Harry, Hurmat, Liliana, Luca, Ollie, Rachel and Ruby all took up the challenge and there were some lovely adventure stories, poems and letters, all staring their favourite RDA ponies.

On the gallery there is a booklet containing the entries for you to enjoy and see how the children’s imaginations have been put to good use. Ahead of the judging, some examples of the entries were printed in the Spring 2017 RDA National Magazine.

Well done Rachel and Luca who both had their poems published. We have now heard that Ruby has beaten 38 other entries to win her section with a very entertaining short story entitled The Horse who could only Trot.

Congratulations to Ruby who has been invited to receive her award at a special presentation ceremony which will take place at the RDA National Championships in July. In the meantime, all entrants will receive a personal acknowledgement of their work and a special commemorative rosette for their effort. We are so proud of you all!

Musical Drill Ride
Last term Adam, Harrison, Harry, Liliana, Rachel and Ruby had fun and worked hard learning the movements to show their skills for a DVD Musical Drill Ride, which we have entered into the RDA National Competition to be judged at the Regional Show in June.

The Title of our DVD is Teamwork 2017 and is designed to show how a Drill Ride can be used as an educational tool to improve important life skills such as focus,
co-ordination, accuracy, observation and awareness of others, quick thinking and decision making.

Rules of the competition stated that it should not be a professional production, to be filmed in one take and with no editing. However, without the support of our regular helpers who came to give extra support, and our long-suffering Cameraman Ed
(who came each week to film our progress), we could not have created this DVD. We are indebted to him for his expertise with the camera, creating and timing the sections of music, and his ability to bring it all together to enable our six riders to enter this DVD into the RDA Regional Show.

Countryside Challenge League
Shera demonstrating how far she could lean to open the gate
The riders have been taking part in the Countryside Challenge either to qualify for the Regionals or just for fun!
Archie recieving his rosette
Congratulations to Pav, Joe, Lucca, Amaya, Shera, Harrison, Rachel, Olivia and Hannah who have qualified to compete this year.

Fundraising with Shakespeare

Wednesday volunteer Meriel is a member of the Chiltern Shakespeare Company and each year at the end of the production they donate any leftover proceeds to charity.

Meriel did a fantastic job in promoting South Bucks RDA and managed to secure their support at this year’s production of Much Ado About Nothing at the Open Air Theatre at Hall Barn, Beaconsfield.

Thank you to everyone who has offered to give up some of their time to sell programmes at the performances. The more we sell, the more we raise, so it is very much appreciated. Maybe you fancy attending the performance yourself? Details below:

Does Shakespeare Make You Shudder?
Surely not when the Chiltern Shakespeare Company is going to donate the surplus funds from their June production of Much Ado About Nothing to South Bucks RDA!

This may be thousands rather than hundreds!

Bad memories of school Shakespeare lessons? Chiltern Shakespeare was formed over 30 years ago to counter this – they bring the plays to life! Give it a go.

The play is staged in the glorious parkland of the Hall Barn Estate in Old Beaconsfield. You may recognise the house as you pass it on your way to the venue – it’s featured in many TV and film productions.
Picnics in Hall Barn Grounds before Shakepeare's Much Ado About Nothing
Although it’s billed as open air theatre, the auditorium is protected by a marquee, so in the unlikely event of rain, it’s only the actors who get wet!

Chiltern Shakespeare is a highly-respected amateur company, featuring a number of classically-trained actors. Expect a fast and furious romp of verbal sparring, masqued balls, mistaken identities, and, naturally, a happy ending.

Performances are on 14th-17th and 21st-24th June at 8pm, with additional matinees on 17th and 24th at 2pm. BSL signed performances on 16th evening and on 17th matinee. There’s limited wheelchair access (please contact the Box Office) and a hearing loop.

The grounds are open two hours before each performance for people wishing to picnic and there’s a licensed refreshment marquee too, plus ample parking including disabled spaces. Voluntary donations are being collected by Beaconsfield and High Wycombe Lions, and are all going to SBRDA.

Please come along and support – every additional ticket, every programme, every cuppa, and (scrummy) cake (or even, better, a glass of Pimms!) sold will swell the coffers of SBRDA. And if you’d like to be a helper – a programme seller, cuppa vendor etc, please let Gina know.

Tickets from £14 (concessions available for some performances). There are flyers available in the gallery at SBRDA .

Book online at or call the Box Office on 01494 573559 (9am-6pm Mon-Sat).

Charlie Girl in the limelight again!

Saturday rider, Bryony, wrote a beautiful letter to Charlie Girl’s owner:

Dear Jo,

I ride Charlie Girl most Saturday mornings. I wanted to write to you so I could tell you how she is.

Charlie Girl is one of my favourite horses to ride at RDA because she calms me down and doesn’t mind when I have a seizure.

She is very responsive when I ride her. I like learning new things with her because I feel I can trust her. She makes me feel proud when I ride her and I feel that she has helped me accomplish lots of techniques. Charlie Girl makes me want to have my own horse when I’m older.

Best Wishes,

It’s lovely to read that our horses and ponies bring such pleasure and happiness to people’s lives. They really are amazing creatures, especially Charlie Girl who was donated to us several years ago when her para-rider owner, Jo Jackson, emigrated to New Zealand.

Showing Success – Jess and Jamie

At Easter, Jess Phillips and Jamie Winduss competed at their first Bronze Level British Dressage Para Competition.

They both warmed up fantastically well and demonstrated their ability to keep calm and composed, even with able-bodied riders warming up around them. Robin behaved very well and performed his best for both riders.

Well done to both of you, you are a credit to South Bucks RDA.

Parents’ Perspective

Joe is a typical 13 year old boy; he loves spending time on his PS4 (other gaming machines are also available), he’s mad on super cars and hates going to school. Joe was born with muscle tone deficiency and suffered with speech and language delay. He is currently waiting for diagnosis for the Autistic Spectrum and suffers with anxiety.

“Joe has been riding with South Bucks RDA for about eight years now and has had some competition success during this time, he absolutely loves his horseriding and as a parent I have seen a vast improvement in Joe in many different areas over the years: his muscle tone has improved, he’s much stronger and much more confident, the list goes on and is a credit to all at South Bucks RDA.”

“Joe’s anxiety is a major problem and concern for him as a young lad, us as parents, his family in general and his school. At the beginning of this year Emma, one of the instructors and a familiar face around the yard, asked if Joe would be prepared to take part in a trial working alongside horses at the yard.”

“Emma has known Joe for years and was well aware that he suffered with anxiety. Joe was more than happy to take part and so the first session took place in the indoor arena on a Sunday afternoon several weeks ago.”

“Emma started by getting Joe to groom her own horse, Shane. Joe then walked Shane around the arena on a lead rope using his own body language to tune into him so that the two of them worked in complete harmony and Shane did exactly what Joe wanted him to do with the two of them completely relaxed with one another. It was quite amazing to watch! I was then invited into the arena and took Shane around on the lead rope under Joe’s instruction. Again I was amazed with the results. Joe then balanced some cones on Shane’s back and walked him round to see how long they stayed there for.”

Joe learning to lead
“Joe has since taken part in a further two sessions with Emma, working with Shane and Forrester. They have walked around the woods and worked around the Countryside Challenge course set out in the outdoor arena with great results – we are only three sessions in and have already seen a marked difference.”

“It’s all about Joe thinking positively and communicating this to the horse he is leading and not being anxious about what might happen. If he is confident and happy in what he’s doing, his horse will sense this and feel confident and happy to respond to what Joe needs them to do. This has worked well for Joe and we use some of the skills he has learnt in positive thinking every morning before he goes into school which helps to reduce his anxiety and build his confidence – making the school experience a better one for him.”

“Anxiety is a horrible thing for anyone to have to deal with and for me personally I hate seeing it in a child. Emma and Helen are working hard to put this into action and promote it, and as the parent of a child suffering with anxiety I wish them the best of luck. It’s certainly working well for Joe and if anybody wants any further information on this I’m sure that Emma or Helen will be more than happy to talk about it, I certainly am. I may not be able to explain the technical side of it but I’m more than happy to talk about our experience and what it’s done for Joe – my contact details are at the yard.”

Slough Sponsored Walk

A huge thank you to those who took part in the Slough Sponsored Walk to raise funds for South Bucks RDA.
Teagan walked to raise funds for SBRDA
The final total raised is still to be confirmed, but so far looks to be more than £2,000 which will go towards paying for the replacement fencing that has recently been done to help keep our horses and ponies safe in the field.

Teagan with her completion certificate – Well done!

SBRDA volunteers are priceless!

South Bucks RDA cannot
Our work could not be done without their commitment, enthusiasm and energy.
put a price on the volunteers who attend week in, week out to help us with the horses and ponies and to run our classes safely.
We have an amazing team of helpers,
some who can count their length of service in decades not years!
Your support in what we do is humbling and we would like to say a big THANK YOU to each and every one of you!

Weekend Rider Absences

Please can we remind all parents and riders that if they are going to be absent from riding to put it in the diary which is situated on the desk on the gallery.

If for any reason you are unable to ride on the day, please ring the office as soon as you can on 01753 662796 or text 07776 188518 to let us know. We sometimes can be short of volunteers and their time could be used elsewhere instead of getting a horse ready for an absent rider. Please DO NOT email as it may not be picked up over the weekend. Thank you.

Best Wishes to Hana!

We will temporarily be saying goodbye to Hana at the end of the month, as she is going off to start her well-earned maternity leave. We are sure you will all join us in wishing both Hana, Pete and “bump” all the very best. We can’t wait to meet him and will hopefully be able to introduce the new arrival to you all via our next newsletter!

Reminder – Our JustGiving Page is now closed!

Please note that with immediate effect, our JustGiving account is no longer active.

We have moved over to BT MyDonate as their service is free to use, therefore saving us money immediately! The link to our “BT My Donate” page is

Easy fundraising update

A huge thank you to everyone who has signed up and is shopping via Easy Fundraising. So far you have helped raise a staggering £692.77.

With just a few extra clicks of your mouse you have helped raise an incredible amount of money – just think how much more we could raise if we could get even more people on board.

Are you booking your holiday soon? Please book via Easy Fundraising as collectively this could earn us hundreds of pounds in free donations without costing you a penny.

Please find out more and sign up by visiting, search for South Bucks Riding for the Disabled and sign up today. Pass these details onto your friends and family too, as this is a fantastic way to raise funds without putting your hands in your pockets or even having to leave the house!

If you are unsure of anything, please give Gina a call or drop her an email: Let’s not lose out on free money!

Dates for your Diary

RDA Regional Show (Wellington) – Sunday 4th June 2017
RDA National Championships (Hartpury) – 14th to 16th July 2017