For 40 years we have been riding high at Barrow Farm enabling people with special needs and disabilities to develop their abilities and enrich their lives through riding.

Adopt one of our very special ponies!

At this time of year many of us wrestle with the difficult question of what do we buy for family and friends at Christmas. By adopting a Barrow Farm pony, you can give a very special present to someone –and at the same time you will know that you are enabling local disabled riders to keep fit and have fun.

For just £25 you can give an adoption present which includes a gift certificate with a photo of the pony and later, an invitation to visit Barrow Farm where the adopted pony can be seen in his/her stable. We will ensure that the visit is conducted by one of our knowledgeable team members who can tell you more about your pony’s personality and the work s/he does with our special riders. You may even be able to see your pony working with a disabled rider. Our staff are extremely knowledgeable about all of the ponies on the yard and they will be pleased to tell you all about them.

For just £25 you can support the vital work of Barrow Farm Riding for the Disabled, giving a unique present and later enjoying a really informative and inspiring visit led by one of our expert team. We look forward to welcoming you.

For more information about all our ponies or if you are not sure which horse or pony you would like to adopt visit our ‘Meet the Ponies‘ page. For more details on how to adopt a pony click here.

Example certificate for Tango

Livvy and Taylor become RDA Group Coaches

We are very proud to announce that Livvy (Junior Coach) and Taylor (Apprentice) have both received their RDA Group Coach awards. To complete this they have to undertake an initial assessment, then complete at least 20 hours of coaching, which is followed by a second assessment. Many of you will recognise the RDA Essex County Coach (as she is one of our coaches, Kath Hatwell) who presented Livvy and Taylor with their certificates and badges on Wednesday.

Livvy and Taylor getting certificates

Cheque presented from Blackwater Leisure Charity Triathlon

A big thank you to all who took part in the Blackwater Leisure Charity Triathlon – you helped raise £2502.08 for Barrow Farm. We were nominated by Jack, one of the junior members of Blackwater Triathlon Club, to be one of the beneficiaries of this annual event. Jack and his sister Charlotte are in the same class as Sam one of our Saturday riders and it was this friendship that led Jack to nominate Barrow Farm as one of this year’s charities.

On Saturday Jack and Charlotte came to present the cheque to Barrow Farm and they got the opportunity to see Sam ride and learn more about how Barrow Farm provides the opportunity for disabled children and adults to take part in equestrian sport. We are very grateful for Jack and the Blackwater Triathlon Club’s support. A lot of hard work goes into putting on the charity triathlon and we would like to say a big thank you to all those involved in organising, marshalling and sponsoring the event.

Cheque from Blackwater Triathlon

Saturday’s are now full

If you are interested in riding please do get in touch but we must inform you that we currently have no availability for riding on a Saturday as all the places are now full. Please do contact us if you have any questions and for more details about our Admissions Policy see our Information for Riders page.

Of course as we have so many riders on a Saturday we are always looking for help. We ride from 9-1pm in the morning with each session starting on the hour. In the afternoon we have rides at 2pm, 3pm, 3.45pm and 4.30pm finishing at 5.15pm. Some of our helpers just come for two sessions others stay all day so there are lots of options. For more information about helping with the rides see our Volunteering page.

New pony profile added

The keen eyed amongst you will know that there are a few ponies missing from our Meet the Ponies section. The horses and ponies do not get added to the website until they have been with us a while – so that they have some stories to tell. Well today Tango’s profile has been added to the website.  So if you want to find out more about him why don’t you visit his page. Jaybee and Boycie’s pages will be coming soon.

Tango and Isabelle at Open Day

More fundraising news

Thank you so very much to everyone who came to the successful Fun Day on Sunday 9th October at Park Drive Health Club, Maldon raising £740 for us. There was lots going on including Go Karts, a bouncy castle, face painting, BBQ and a silent auction. Special thanks go to Linda, Natalie, Andrea, Viv and Sue for making it all happen. It looks like everybody had a good time!

Park Drive Fun Day

The Fun Walk Trust – May 2016

More than 2,000 people including a group from Barrow Farm attended the Fun Walk Trust sponsored walk and a record number of good causes benefitted including ourselves. The Fun Walk  takes place every year [usually in May] at Barleylands Farm, Cray’s Hill, to raise money for charities and projects. And the group from Barrow Farm had a great time doing the walk. The “bonus pot” is a unique feature of The Fun Walk and is donated by generous local businesses and individuals and is given to charities in proportion to how much money they raise in sponsorship.

We are pleased that for 2016 we raised £430 & with the ‘bonus pot’ of £228 = £658 in total

Thanks to all who attended our Gala Dinner on Friday

Thank you to everyone who attended the Gala Dinner to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Barrow Farm RDA. It was a lovely evening and special thanks has to go to Andrea and her team of organisers including Jo, Karen and Viv who put so much effort into making it a wonderful event. Thank you also has to go to everyone who donated raffle and auction prizes. And finally thank you to Alex and Andrea who told us what riding at Barrow Farm means to them as a rider and as a parent of a rider respectively. We raised approximately £7000 which of course helps to cover the costs (about £120,000 per year) of providing opportunities for disabled children and adults to take part in equestrian sport.

So a big thank you from all of us and now we just have to look forward to the next 40 years…..

East Region Dressage and Countryside Challenge

Well done to all our riders who took part at the East Region Countryside Challenge and Dressage competitions on Sunday 22nd May. All the riders, ponies, volunteers and staff were immaculately presented and did an amazing job representing Barrow Farm. The horses and ponies behaved themselves (apart from giving in to the temptation of eating the lush grass in the ring) and all the riders did fantastically. We came home with rosettes of all colours.

Louise and Lula at the apple trees
Louise and Piper Lou picking an apple to put in the bucket

In the Countryside Challenge juniors with a helper Molly came 4th on Oural, Elodie came 5th on Oural and Louise came 6th on Piper Lou. In the led juniors Charlotte came 1st on Piper Lou and Harry came 3rd on Oural. In the unled juniors Emma S did a fantastic job of rising to the challenge of doing the course off-lead and came 2nd on Piper Lou. In the seniors Kirstie did a great job coming 5th on Rafferty who found the temptation of the grass just a little too much but Kirstie managed to keep him going. In the Introduction to Dressage Charlotte came 1st in the led juniors (a big well done to Charlotte who won both her classes – having already won Countryside Challenge  – and she took home three trophies as well!). Kirstie came 4th in the led seniors. Charlotte and Emma S both on Piper Lou qualified for the National Championships at Hartpury in July.

Molly and Owly doing the bending
Molly carefully steering Oural around the obstacles

In the Dressage qualifiers, in the 1b class Claire and Rafferty came 1st, Emma H and Piper Lou came 2nd. In the PVI class Lucy came 2nd on Rafferty. In the Freestyle to music Claire and Rafferty came 1st, Lucy and Rafferty came 3rd and Emma H and Piper Lou came 4th. All three riders qualified to go to the National Championships at Hartpury.

Rafferty warming up for dressage
Rafferty and Lucy warming up for dressage with coach Sally

None of this could have happened without the dedication of the staff to train the horses and ponies, the commitment of the riders and parents for all the practice and attending on the day, our great team of volunteers who do a lot of running around on the day and to the Augustine Courtauld Trust who provided financial support to enable us to provide this opportunity to so many riders. And of course a big shout out to the three ponies and horses, for Rafferty and Oural this was their first year competing and Piper Lou had her busiest year and rose to the challenge of doing more off-lead than ever before. I think we can safely say everyone had a great day, there was lots of concentration but also lots of smiles so well done to all and now we are we can look forward to the 15-17th July!

Take a look at our Facebook page for a video compilation of the day.

Thank you for your support at Open Day

Thank you to everyone who came to visit us at our Open Day on Saturday 14th May. It was amazing to see so many people there and it provided a great atmosphere for our riders and our horses and ponies to showcase their skills. Highlights of the day included a rainbow themed musical ride with the riders dressed up as ‘Red and yellow and pink and green’ to follow the words of the song they were riding too.

Rainbow ride with Oural, Tawny and Starra

Emma demonstrated her freestyle to music dressage test that she will ride at the RDA regional dressage competition on the 22nd May. Emma had to show her versatility when the CD with her music on was not in her riding bag and she had to change music at the last minute – I didn’t even realise it was not the correct music!

Lula and Emma doing dressage

The ponies showed off their skills in a Grease themed ride with Liv and Taylor riding Tawny and Boycie. Tawny was presented with his rosette and trophy for being the Exmoor Star of 2015. For more about Tawny see his Pony Page.

Tawny and Boycie do Grease

Tawny, Boycie, Tango and Starra also demonstrated their long reining skills to a farming themed music which caused much amusement to the audience.

Tango, Boycie and Tawny long reining

The 2pm Friday ride did an excellent country music themed ride and there was also a musical ride by the staff and Isobel on the big horses that did not all go quite according to plan.

Rafferty, Jaybee, Louie and Owly at start of musical ride
Thank you to Taylor Kearney for use of her photo

There was birthday cake to celebrate Barrow Farm RDA’s 40th birthday, thank you very much to Julie for making it!

Anne cutting birthday cake

There was also presentations for some of our many volunteers. We could not offer riding to disabled adults and children without our dedicated team of volunteers. A range of volunteer certificates were given out from 1 – 20 years (the highest number it goes up to I believe). Volunteers don’t just help with the rides. Receiving their certificates below is John our longest serving trustee (for more information about our trustees see the Trustees page) who organised the car park on Open Day and Sue a long serving ride volunteer who did an amazing job in the kitchen. As usual a big thank you to all our volunteers who did so many things to keep us going.

John receiving long service certificateSue receiving long service certificate


To see the video highlights of the day please see our Facebook page. It was a great celebration of Riding High for 40 years!

Exam success

On Tuesday Clare and Sally went to East Park RDA in Newchapel, Surrey to take their RDA Coach exam. As they had already achieved UK Coaching Certificate Level 2 for them the exam focused on RDA structure, insurance and physiotherapy. In addition they had to assess a group coach doing a lesson and provide feedback. They have been revising and preparing since the autumn and all the hard work paid off as both Sally and Clare were successful.

Clare and Sally Coaching Certificate