Glass Onions Fundraiser

Two guitarists, a bass player and a drummer on a stage in front of a blue curtain with people dancing and more people sitting round tables watching them play

Thank you to everyone who came to our fundraising event with Glass Onion on Saturday 1st April. A great time was had by all and lots of money raised for Barrow Farm. Thank you to Janet for organising another fantastic event.

Wonderful donation

On Tuesday 21 March 2023 members of Witham and Maldon SWANS visited us and presented us with a wonderful £500 donation (photo of Trustee  Karen Lehner and Rosie Brewster from SWANS, along with Starra).  Members watched a lesson followed by refreshments and were very complimentary about the service we are able to offer our participants.  Providing riding and driving wouldn’t be possible without the continuing support of organisations like the SWANS.

Two women with grey hair, one with a crutch standing in front of a chestnut pony. Both women are holding on to a bank cheque.
Karen Lehner and Starra receiving a cheque from Rosie Brewster of the SWANS

Helping develop Advanced Coaches of the future

Volunteer coach and trustee, Isobel Gowers, has spent two days this week at RDA National in Warwickshire. After completing her Advanced Coach assessment last year Isobel had the chance to be a mentor for the next cohort of aspiring Advanced Coaches at the Princess Royal Coaching Academy. At Barrow Farm our coaches not only provide a great service to our riders and a drivers but also support the development of other coaches outside Barrow Farm. Isobel is doing this through being a mentor and Sally and Anne do this as Coach Developers, supporting coaches across the county and beyond. For more information about our talented staff and coaches see our Barrow Farm Staff page.

Eight people half turned to the camera so you can see their jackets that say RDA Mentor on the back.
Isobel (far right) and the other seven PRCA mentors

Garden revamp in memory of Charlotte Jessop

Our garden, now over 10 years old is getting a major make-over. Following the sad passing of young rider Charlie many people gave donations in her memory and we decided after consultation with her parents to make a sensory garden area for all to enjoy.

The Chelmsford Lions Club have offered to help with the revamp and fortunately for us Andrea Cooper, their President, is a garden designer and is currently finalizing the plan. The garden will include more wheelchair friendly surfaces, new rails for the ramp, seating, a child friendly water feature, sound making wooden features and toys and raised beds/planters containing fragrant and tactile plants and herbs. The trees and hedge have grown a lot since the garden was first planted and it is now in shade most of the day. We want to cut back the hedge and lower some of the trees which will allow us to grow more sun loving plants and make it more pleasant for everyone to sit in. We’ve already had a couple of sessions (thanks to a group from Good Gym), taking out the rockery, breaking up cracked concrete and removing plants for safekeeping.

We desperately need more physical help and donations of goods to complete this project before next summer, so if you can help or know someone or a company who can assist with the following please get in touch:

  • Removal or cutting back of several trees and hedges
  • Breaking up and removal of concrete
  • Laying of paving stones
  • Supply and laying resin area
  • Supply of sleepers or water troughs for raised beds.

Working party 29th January 2023

We are looking for volunteers to come and help with a garden clearing session on Sunday 29th January from 10am – 2pm. If you think you can help please email Lucy (Lucy@barrowfarmrda.org.uk)

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Tawny retires from ridden work

Sadly at the end of 2022 Tawny has had to be retired from his ridden work. He has been diagnosed as having arthritic front legs and has shown an increased tendency to trip more. He also has cataracts in both eyes and while not having any apparent difficulties it is felt that for him to keep giving rides would pose a risk to both riders and his wellbeing. He will be 28 this year, an old pony and has worked for us for 18 years.

A boy riding a pony, being led by a woman with short hair and a purple Barrow Farm polo shirt. The boy has two people walking alongside him and he is riding with no stirrups.
Tawny has brought joy to hundreds of riders over his 18 years service as a ridden pony.

He has just received an overdue RDA long service award. Lots of riders who started as young children will have ridden Tawny and have many fond memories.

Tawny a brown pony with a black mane is standing in his stable wearing his bridle. From the brow band is hanging down a long service award which is a piece of leather with a brass disc on it saying RDA long service award.
Tawny with his long service award

We plan for him to still have a role being used for theory sessions on the yard, and perhaps joining in with Tea with a Pony sessions. Still giving lots of pleasure to our participants, just in a different way.

He is still enjoying life, living with his friend Boycie.

Christmas tree success

For 8 years Barrow Farm has entered a Christmas tree in the Christmas Tree Festival at All Saints Church, Writtle. Some of you will remember, and might have even contributed to, our knitted Christmas tree that was voted as the most popular tree 7 years ago. Well Gill has done it again and once again the Barrow Farm tree won the popular vote. This year Gill’s creative flair involved building a tree made of riding boots. Each boot created a horse and then Gill added riders. The attention to detail was amazing. Some riders are riding without stirrups, some have coloured reins, some looped reins, some not holding reins and represent the diversity of our riders. Well done Gill and I cannot wait to see what you have plannned for next year!

Christmas tree made out of riding boots ridden by dolls with silver tinsel and red baubles.

Snowy days at Barrow Farm

The horses and ponies have been enjoying having their hay in the fields during the snowy weather. And the staff like it as the snow has covered up the mud and the horses come in nice and clean. Unfortunately we were closed on Monday as the carpark was treacherous but staff and volunteers have done a great job clearing the snow and we have been able to open on Tuesday and Wednesday (all riding in the indoor school). Please do make sure you take care in the snow and ice and wrap up warm.

Photo shows three horses in a field covered in snow eating hay. Rafferty is brown and white and at the front of the photo, with Louie a bay horse wearing a rug and barely visible behind him is Jaybee who is also bay but not wearing a rug.
Rafferty, Louie and Jaybee eating hay in the snow

Sally and Isobel are now RDA Advanced Coaches

Barrow Farm are very proud of our excellent staff and volunteer coaches. Sally and Isobel have been working towards their RDA Advanced Coach Certificate since 2019 and this autumn they have finally completed the assessments and have now qualified as RDA Advanced Coaches. The training and assessment not only aims to ensure that they are high performing in their own coaching , they also need to be able to support and develop other coaches and demonstrate biomechanical analysis of both the horse and rider.

Isobel and Sally standing with Nicco the pony

Would you like to give something back to your local community?

A boy wearing a riding har, riding a pony with a leader and two sidewalkers.

Do you have one or more hours free during the week?

Would you like to learn new skills, make new friends and do something really fantastic?  Would you like to volunteer at Barrow Farm Riding for the Disabled?

Everyone can help us – we welcome volunteers from all communities.

We have rides 6 days a week.  No previous experience is needed.  All volunteers receive training and support.

Please contact Lucy on 01277 822927 or by email: info@barrowfarmrda.org.uk

Congratulations to all our participants at the RDA Virtual National Championships

For the second year running RDA National has run a virtual National Championships. This provides a great opportunity for our riders and drivers to participate in a national competition without leaving the safety of familiar surroundings. This year we had participants competing in dressage, countryside challenge, show jumping, musical rides, carriage driving dressage and musical carriage drives. Well done to all the teams of riders, drivers, helpers and coaches that made this possible. I think we can safely say all that took part had great fun and plenty of rosettes were won too.