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.

Barrow Farm is a specially equipped riding centre in at Highwood, near Chelmsford in Essex. We provide the opportunity for people with special needs and disabilities to ride. Barrow Farm is a registered charity. Why not take a look around our website and meet the wonderful team that makes it all possible; the coaches, ponies, riders, supporters and volunteers.

We are holding lots of events to celebrate our 40th anniversary, there is something for everyone whether you would just like to come and see what we do at our Open Day or whether your want to take part in the activity such as enjoying the dancing at the Barn Dance. For more information see the Events page.

Happy days musical ride
Riders at finish of ‘Happy Days’ musical ride

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

No riding in half term 24-28 October

We are in the final stages of refurbishment work here and next week the groundwork outside is being completed.  As the site will not be safe for riders there will be no riding during half-term from Monday 24th October to Friday 28th October.
We will still be riding on Saturday 22nd and 29th October and just to remind  you there is our fabulous Dog Show on the 30th. Hope to see some of you with your dogs to join in the fun.
Thank you very much for your patience whilst all our building work has been completed!

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

Fundraising News

Coffee and Cake Day

Thank you to everyone who made cakes for our end of term Coffee and Cake Day. We raised a respectable £91.

Coffee and cake day

A big thank you and congratulations to John

Thursday volunteer John ran the Brentwood Half Marathon on 20th March and raised over £1000 for Barrow Farm. A big thank you to John and all who supported him!John after the half marathon