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.

Latest News

November Lockdown Update: Unfortunately under the guidance for the current lockdown all RDA groups in England have had to close until 2nd December. We will be in touch but hope that we will be able restart all our Covid secure sessions after this date. Again once we can reopen we will continue to work to ensure that we can welcome back as many riders as possible and will continue to offer stable management and sensory sessions where riding cannot be undertaken safely within Covid secure procedures. Please note we are unable to take new riders at this time.

Arena Hire: Unfortunately following publication of guidance by Sport England and the British Equestrian Federation on 6 November we are unable to offer arena hire during the November lockdown.

Coming up

Unfortunately due to Covid-19 precautions we are currently not able to run fundraising events. Please consider supporting us by sponsoring one of our hardworking ponies.



Christmas Quiz Sheet

Holly wreath

It is just £1 to buy

Try to solve 30 ‘number, phrases and facts, the theme includes Christmas, horsey trivia and 2020!

1st prize of £25 plus ‘sponsor a pony’ of your choice

2nd prize ‘sponsor a pony’ of your choice

To get a quiz sheet just download it here and donate £1 via JustGiving!

Please tell your family and friends, have fun and help raise funds for our charity.

Details of where to post or email your answers are on the quiz sheet.

The closing date is 31 December 2020

Anne receives President’s Award

Anne’s dedication to RDA has been recognised this year as a recipient of the President’s Award. The President’s Award is the most prestigious award presented by RDA National and is given for exceptional dedication at either national or local level. Anne has been involved in RDA for over 40 years and has gone above and beyond both for the group and through volunteer roles at County and Regional level, as well as getting involved in many national initiatives.

Anne holding her President's Award certificate

Fun Walk

A big thanks to Simon, Mel (behind the camera) and Toby the dog for raising £200 sponsorship plus Gift Aid at this year’s 5K Fun Walk.  This year was different with everyone arranging their own walk with social distancing and our group was joined by supporters of REACH Hippotherapy at Gloucester Park, Basildon on 13 September.  Many thanks to volunteer Linda Poole (pictured) for organising.  Well done everyone.

Linda, Simon and Toby the dog at the Fun Walk in Gloucester Park, Basildon

Re-opening Phase 1

We are pleased to be able to tell you that following a lot of hard work by trustees and staff we have been given the go-ahead to start a phased re-opening. We have worked tirelessly to put in place appropriate hygiene measures and to look at how we can begin offering activities safely within government guidelines.

Phase 1 has involved running a pilot with a small number of riders who need minimal assistance. Where assistance is required for mounting we have had to train family members to provide this due to social distancing requirements. We have now welcomed back three riders, with a few more due to start over the next week. These early riders have been invaluable in working out what works and what doesn’t, this is very much a project in progress.

We are currently planning some ideas for non-riding activities for riders and volunteers to get involved in that can be undertaken within current social distancing guidelines for those unable to get back to riding yet. Look out for an email coming soon, if you have not already received it.

Please note that we are not able to take on any new riders at present as it is not possible to do a rider review under current social distancing guidance and our priority is to get our current riders back on board. Can we take this opportunity to thank all our riders, drivers, their families and carers, our volunteers and all our supporters for your continued patience and support in this difficult time.

Help Feed the Horses Quiz Sheet

Please help our fundraising by having a go at our “horsey-themed” quiz of 30 questions. The quiz sheet can be downloaded below. There is a mauve “Donate with JustGiving link button on the right hand side and we ask for a minimum of £2 for the quiz sheet.

Help Feed the Horses Quiz Sheet

1st Prize – £20 plus a Barrow Farm horse/pony sponsorship of your choice.

In addition, there will be a 2nd Prize of A Barrow Farm horse/pony sponsorship of your your choice. Your completed Quiz Sheet can be sent in or emailed to us to be in with a chance of a prize, details are on the Quiz Sheet.

Closing date for Quiz entries – 31st May 2020

Fundraising Run

Stephen King is President of the The Rotary Club of Chelmsford Rivermead, to mark his year as President and in the absence of normal fundraising activities due to the Covid19 Lockdown he has chosen to take on the challenge of running – possibly walking at times🤷‍♂️ – 10 miles on Sunday 17th May (This being the date of the now postponed Baddow Races 2020) that was planned to raise funds for Barrow Farm Riding for the Disabled. Please do support him.

To donate and see Stephen’s latest updates please go to his JustGiving page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/stephen-king49

A Lockdown Poem by Volunteer Jo

Our first poem, from Saturday volunteer Jo, thank you Jo, we are sure you speak for many of our volunteers.

I am living in unprecedented times,
I don’t know what will happen,
I am in lockdown and can’t go out or mix with all my friends.
I can’t see all my family which is very hard to bare.
But what I miss so very much is volunteering for Barrow Farm.
I miss the riders smiling faces,
I miss the horses dance, to our wonderful musical rides, it really is a laugh.
I miss our lessons with the coaches,
Where the riders learn a lot,
I miss the silly games we play, where I always try and cheat.
I hope that this will soon be over and we all are safe and able,
Then we can all get back to helping Barrow Farm and the Riding for the Disabled.

Difficult times but the sun is shining

We just thought we would update you on how we are all doing at Barrow Farm RDA. With reduced ride income (many thanks to those of you who continued to pay) and no opportunity to hold fundraising events we have had to tighten our belts. Luckily it is spring and the mares (Penny, Lula, Vella and Millie) have been able to be turned out, reducing the amount of mucking out needed in the morning. The ponies and horses still need caring for and luckily our fantastic staff are coming in on a skeleton rota (only two staff in per day) to ensure their welfare needs are met. We are still exercising the horses as appropriate for their needs but only undertaking low risk activities such as riding in the school and doing lead work. Working with horses will always carry an innate risk so we are ensuring as far as possible that staff are unlikely to be injured and therefore not going to burden the NHS at this difficult time.

Rafferty, Jaybee and Owly all looking at the camera with the text: We are missing you.

We have been busy though. Anne has been doing daily identify pony quizzes on Facebook and we have some more quizzes and activities planned so that you can think about riding even if you cannot join us. Over the next few weeks the Pony pages on the website will be updated, so take a look to find out more about your favourite horses and ponies.

If you have any riding or driving inspired stories we would love to hear from you and with your permission we would love to share these on the website and Facebook. This is one we have received this week.

Coloured in image of horse and rider going over a jump.

Thank you for your continued support and if anyone does have any spare change, where we are not able to socialise, maybe the money you would have spent on a takeaway coffee or a haircut, please consider making a donation to make sure Barrow Farm RDA is still able to offer riding and driving once social distancing measures allow. You can donate at our JustGiving campaign to help pay for our ponies keep or you might like to consider sponsoring one of horses or ponies for £25.

Keep well and safe, with best wishes from the trustees and staff at Barrow Farm RDA.

COVID-19 Update

Following advice from RDA National, Barrow Farm RDA is closing from today, 17 March 2020 until further notice. We will endeavour to inform all volunteers and riders but it would be appreciated if you could pass this information on. Please all look after yourselves and your loved ones. We will provide further information as it becomes available.