2022 Achievements and Successes

Riding

A boy wearing a red coat and a riding hat, riding a grey pony and placing an orange beaker in a tray.
Activities during a riding lesson
  • Being back to pre-pandemic numbers 
  • Holding two in-house competitions – 32 attended the countryside challenge day and 16 the dressage day  
  • 81 riders achieved grade tests at various levels 
  • Endurance certificates for 34 riders 
  • Taking part and winning in several classes at the Virtual National Championships
  • Holding five Pony Days despite the heat, with 21 riders and the help of 38 volunteers
  • Training three Activity Leaders to help us do more theory sessions

“Riding makes me happy.  Mum said that Wednesday is the only day I wake up smiling.”

Two boys and three girls some wearing jodphurs and riding boots standing holding their rosettes and score sheets, two adults who had judged the competition are standing with them.
Riders celebrating with their rosettes after the Countryside Challenge competition

Driving

  • Increasing our driving numbers to 17 (4 children and 13 adults) each week 
  • A driving holiday to Ashfields Equestrian Centre for six drivers
  • Three drivers took part in the National Virtual Dressage competition and one was 3rd in the UK 
  • Eight drivers received Endurance Driving certificates and ten did grade tests 
  • Two drivers competed nationally with their musical drives 
Black and white pony pulling a carriage holding two people trotting through a water obstacle.
Summer trotting through the water at Ashfields

“I cannot say enough how much I enjoyed the driving holiday experience having two drives each day and the chance to also be more hands on with the ponies.”

Tea with a pony for adults with dementia

  • A new activity for us 
  • 17 afternoons arranged, sadly only 11 attended due to ill health and staff shortages at the homes
  • 41 adults had a wonderful new experience
  • An opportunity for less mobile volunteers to help 
A lady in a wheelchair greeting a palomino pony over the stable door, assisted by a member of Barrow Farm staff and a gentleman pushing the wheelchair.
Saying hello to the ponies during tea with a pony

“One lady gently stroked each of the horses and ponies in turn, with such a lovely smile on her face. Robbed of her speech by a stroke, her body language spoke for her.”

Volunteers

  • We currently have 124 active volunteers 
  • 21 new volunteers recruited this autumn
  • Training sessions arranged for 98 volunteers covering horse behaviour, disabilities, how to help on a ride, dementia and carriage driving

“I enjoyed the coming together of a group of volunteers to learn more and hopefully improve the experience for the riders.  It’s nice to learn and then have social.” 

Coaches

Two of our coaches gained their Advanced Coaching certificate.  This was a new pathway replacing RDA’s old Senior Coach and only five coaches in the UK successfully achieved the new Advanced Coach Award in 2022 so we are very proud.

A massive thank you to everyone who supported us during 2022 and helped us give so many disabled children and adults such wonderful experiences.