Welcome

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.

What’s on

We have a range of events coming up, so please think about coming along to have some fun and support us.  For more information about what is on, see our Events page.

Coming up

Sunday 24th November – Fundraising Winter Lunch

Saturday 14th December – Christmas Carol Service

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Indoor and Outdoor School

Did you know that our indoor and outdoor school are available to hire by riders with their own horses? The cost is £15 an hour for 1 or 2 horses, £20 an hour for 3 or more horses.

Current availability for the indoor riding school is below, there is much more availability if you want to use the outdoor school.

Monday – 8:00-10:00am or 4:00-6:00pm

Wednesday – 5:00 to 7:30pm

Friday – After 6:00pm

Saturday – After 5:30pm

Sunday – Available all day

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Christmas Quiz

Have you seen our Christmas Quiz Sheet? They are only a £1 and provide hours of fine trying to solve the clues. You can pick up a sheet at Barrow Farm RDA Riding School, Ingatestone Saddlery in Margaretting, House and Jackson Vets in Blackmore and Blackmore Tea Room.

Christmas Quiz Sheet
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Thank you Hannah

Running a marathon is hard. I know as I have run three now, which is why we have to say a big thank you to Hannah Newton from Roxwell. Hannah ran Chelmsford Marathon on Sunday raising funds for us at the same time. It was a lovely day for running as it was cool (maybe a little too chilly at the start), dry and with very little wind. The marathon starts with a little loop in the city before coming out through Central and Admiral Parks to Writtle, Roxwell and Willingale. Although it is Essex it is quite an undulating course – definitely not flat. Hannah ran a fantastic time of 3:49:33 and has raised over £1500 to support riding for children and adults with disabilities at Barrow Farm. If you know Hannah and would still like to sponsor her amazing achievement take a look at her JustGiving page.

Many thanks Hannah and well done!

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Vella – Pony of the Month

Many of you will know Vella as she has been at Barrow Farm RDA for over two years now but did you know her full name is Vella-Tor and that her dad was a sports horse? To find out more about Vella why don’t you visit her page and don’t forget you can also adopt Vella or one of her friends. You can find more details on the Adopt-A-Pony page.

Vella, who is one of our four mares, is a very sweet and quiet pony. She likes her riders to be gentle too and responds to very light instructions from her riders to stop, go and turn. She is quite happy with side walkers and is equally happy doing props, such as post boxes and putting the ball in the bucket or doing dressage. She is quite fast and bouncy in trot, so better for the more experienced riders than those just starting trotting.

We think Vella’s great and so do her riders. She is currently undergoing additional training in the hope that she will be a future RDA competition horse, so watch this space to see how she gets on!

Charlotte holding Vella at the end of her lesson
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Coaches attend National Conference

Four of Barrow Farm’s coaches were invited to attend the RDA National Coaching Conference in Warwickshire on 13-14 October. Sally, Anne, Clare and Isobel attended a theory day covering topics including coaching the coach, when to call the vet as well as normal and abnormal development in children and how riding can help.

Sally, Clare and Anne sitting watching
Sally, Clare and Anne sitting watching the practical sessions at the RDA National Centre.

The second day was held at the new RDA National Centre and included sessions on keeping RDA horses and ponies sound through use of dynamic mobility exercises and polework. Followed by a session on biomechanics focusing on the effect of horse and rider on saddle straightness.

Demonstration of using of raised poles to help keep RDA ponies fit and well.

All the coaches at Barrow Farm RDA have undertaken comprehensive training to become RDA coaches but attending training events and conferences are important parts of their continuing development. This ensures that they are able to support our diverse range of riders, whatever their abilities, to maximise their potential and get as much as possible from riding.

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Thank you

A BIG THANK YOU to all those who attended the Curry Night on 28th March 2019. We raised £600. Thanks also to the staff of Baddow Tandoori for looking after us so well.

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Isobel’s Running and Cycling Challenge

Volunteer Coach and Trustee Isobel decided to challenge herself this year and raise money for us at the same time. Last year we asked if Isobel wanted to run the Big Half (a London based half-marathon) but she turned us down claiming ‘I run anyway, why would anyone want to sponsor for me for something I already do’. But Isobel had never run a marathon so this year she decided to run the Blackwater Marathon – follows the canal from Chelmsford to Maldon before heading a long the sea wall to Tollesbury. And two weeks later to cycle around the north coast of Scotland – a route called the North Coast 500. Most people drive this scenic route rather than cycle and there is 8153m (which is in excess of 26,000 feet) of climbing to complete on the route.

Isobel completed the Blackwater Marathon on 31st March in a time of 4 hours and 26 minutes and was the first lady from a field of 20 female runners. She starts her cycle on 16 April. She is cycling between 33 miles on the shortest days to 62 miles on the longest days. This she says will be the biggest challenge – she hasn’t cycled further than 30 miles in a training ride and she doesn’t just have to do it on one day but 10 days in a row!

If you would like to sponsor Isobel you can go to her JustGiving page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/isobel-gowers or leave a donation at Barrow Farm RDA.

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Opening of the John Adler Arena

As many of you will know over the summer holidays we had some work done to replace the old dusty black rubber floor in the outdoor manage with a brand new specialist sand floor. These improvements to the floor will make it far easier for riders to make use of the space and when they do it will be nicer for both horses and helpers.

The trustees and staff at Barrow Farm RDA felt that the renewal and reopening of the outdoor arena would be the perfect opportunity to honour the late John Adler, who as a trustee played a vital role in the success of the charity. So on Saturday 13 October the John Adler Arena was officially opened.

Cutting the ribbon to open the new arena

As well as the new surface our very talented trustee Jo had also repainted all the pictures and letters that go around the arena. The many groups and individuals who supported the project (that also purchased the equipment needed to maintain the arena) were invited to attend along with John’s family. Once the arena was open the 3.45 ride gave a demonstration of what it can be used for by completing a Countryside Challenge course of obstacles and then showing off their skills at trotting.

The 3.45 ride enjoying the refurbished arena

A big thank you to the following organisations that supported the refurbishment and maintenance of the John Adler Arena including Essex Communities Initiatives Fund, M&G Investment Fund, Baily Thomas Charitable Trust, Chelmsford Round Table, Billericay Round Table, Stapleford Abbotts Golf Club, South Woodham Ferrers Rotary, Chelmsford Inner Wheel, Tim Platts, Rotary of Chelmer Bridge, Chelmsford Lions, Chelmsford Lionesses, Witham Lions and Romford Lions.

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Mid-Essex RDA Show

On Sunday 7th October we took Jaybee, Tango and Boycie along with six riders to a small, local competition put on by volunteers from Mid-Essex RDA group. We knew this show would have a relaxed atmosphere so we took this opportunity to take Jaybee and Tango to their first RDA competition. We also gave riders who haven’t had the opportunity to compete this year the chance to go so it was a new look team of horses and riders. Considering it was October and it rained a lot the day before we were very lucky with the weather. It was a bit cool but sunny!

Noah on Boycie
Noah and his team of helpers in the handy pony

The ponies all behaved themselves impeccably and the riders did a fantastic job of looking stylish in the tack and turnout (Barrow Farm riders took place 1st to 5th – well done to all the staff for getting the ponies looking so good). In the handy pony competition Christopher and Boycie won the junior section and Holly and Jaybee the senior section.

Christopher holding his rosettes and trophy
Christopher with his rosettes, medals and trophy

The handy pony course was very similar to the Countryside Challenge course at regional and national competitions with obstacles like posting a letter and putting an apple in a bucket.

Holly is throwing the apple into the bucket riding Jaybee
Holly throwing the apply in the bucket

All the riders competed in handy pony and did an amazing job with lots of rosettes and this provided a great experience for Jaybee and Tango.

Oscar riding Boycie reaching over to post the letter.
Oscar posting the letter

In the afternoon came the dressage. We had just three riders in the walk and trot class. Jaybee was the star of the show and Emma won the junior class and Holly won the senior class.

Emma and Jaybee with Emma's rosettes and trophy
Emma and Jaybee were first in dressage and tack and turnout and second in handy pony

Tango also did a fantastic job and Isabelle came second in dressage, third in handy pony and third in tack and turnout.

Isabelle got yellow rosettes for third place
Isabelle and Tango with some of her rosettes

It just remains for me to say a big thank you to all the helpers who came to assist on the day especially Jack and Emily who did great jobs holding ponies and running back to the lorry for things. Thanks very much to Linda who let us use her lorry as the Barrow Farm RDA lorry had broken down and well done to all the staff and coaches for the work they do with the riders that enable them to have the chance to go out and compete.

More photos of the Tango, Jaybee and Boycie will be on their pages soon.

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RDA National Championships – Saturday

Following a very successful regional RDA qualifier we were all set to take six riders to the RDA National Championships in the middle of July. Unfortunately not everything went according to plan. First of all we had issues with the horsebox, which meant that we were unable to take our own and a big thank you to volunteer Pat and daughter Claire, along with their horse Murphy, who let us use ‘Murph’s box’. Secondly, in a reminder that horses can get injured as easily as us humans both Rafferty and Lula had soundness issues that meant a 9 hour round trip to Gloucestershire was not possible for them this year. Luckily Tawny the old pro was ready to step into the hole left by Lula, and Oural, in his first trip to the RDA National Championship would replace Rafferty in the Grade 1 dressage.

First up was Charlotte in her dressage. It was a bit different riding Tawny at 12.2 hh compared to Rafferty who is 16.2 hh but Charlotte rose to the challenge. Tawny who is safe as a pony comes decided he would not give Charlotte any help though and tried to cut corners wherever possible and also stopped for a toilet break! Charlotte was fantastic, whatever Tawny throw at her she made the corrections and demonstrated great resilience! Well done Charlotte not only did she show some expert riding she beat her score from last year too! Charlotte who is blind needs eight callers for dressage and four tappers for Countryside Challenge (more on that later). Her callers and tappers mean that Charlotte knows where she is within the arena and knows where the obstacles are in the Countryside Challenge.

Charlotte with her rosettes and some of her calling and tapping team

Next up was Andrew in the Countryside Challenge. For those of you who are not familiar with Countryside Challenge the riders have to complete a course of obstacles they might meet if they went for a walk in the country. They have to post a letter, steer around obstacles, walk under low branches, stop at the road to check for traffic, walk over a bridge and open a gate. Andrew did a very good job throughout the course but you have to be absolutely perfect to do well at the National Championships and Andrew came a very respectable 7th in a big class.

Tawny, Andrew and Clare at the gate
Andrew opening the gate

It was then time for tack and turn out. Clare did an amazing job plaiting Owly’s mane and tail and making sure that there was not a spec of dirt on him, the rest of the helper team ensured his tack was gleaming. But tack and turnout is not just about the pony, the riders have to be spotless too and wear show jackets rather than sweatshirts for this competition. Andrew did a fantastic job of looking smart, such a good job in fact he was 2nd in the junior class with Charlotte coming 10th.

Then it was time for more work for Tawny (he is a very hard working pony). This time it was Charlotte in the Countryside Challenge. Charlotte’s team of tappers use wooden sticks to tap the objects to help her locate them. This means Clare has to use very few verbal commands to help Charlotte meaning that she can demonstrate a high level of independence. Charlotte had wanted to do the Countryside Challenge off lead, which she did on Lula at the regional championships. Unfortunately the pull of grass and other green plants on the country side challenge would be too much for a greedy pony like Tawny. Needless to say Charlotte did a incredible job on a long lead rein, especially as Tawny had another toilet stop mid course. Her demonstration of independence was obvious to the judges and she didn’t only win the junior section, she was class champion with the highest score across both junior and senior sections. Well done Charlotte!

Charlotte concentrating on steering Tawny
Charlotte steering in the random bending

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