Volunteer Award for Karen

We are truly indebted to our volunteers without which Barrow Farm RDA would not exist.  We are very proud that one of our volunteers, Karen Lehner, received a Commendation at Chelmsford Community Voluntary Services’ Awards for Voluntary Service.  The Mayor of Chelmsford presented Awards and Commendations for Outstanding Voluntary Contribution to local people at a ceremony held in the Mayor’s Parlour on 10 May 2024.  The Mayor, Cllr Linda Mascot, explained that Commendations aren’t presented every year but that in appreciation and recognition of an exceptional contribution made to volunteering it was awarded to Karen for her work with Barrow Farm RDA.  Karen has volunteered for nearly 20 years and as well as volunteering with rides and carriage driving, has organised events, given talks, lead the fundraising subgroup and was paramount in our successful application for National Lottery Community Funding.

A woman wearing a mayors chain presenting a framed certificate to Karen in her Barrow Farm top.

Helping Hands

A red tractor cutting the hedge in a field with people working in the field behind
Cutting back the hedges in the front field

On Saturday 2 September we were very pleased to welcome a huge volunteer team from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to help with maintenance around the Barrow Farm site. The Church calls this large service project for charitable or worthy cause ‘Helping Hands’. The volunteer group were all ages and from an area from Ipswich to Wanstead and from Cambridge to the East coast. They were brilliant and and got so much done, they replaced and repaired fencing, cut hedges back, treated the stables, outbuildings and fences with preservative, and so much more including clearing a woodland path so our riders have more variety.

Three people with racks creating a path between the trees
Preparing the woodland path

Thank you, Helping Hands for choosing us, you did so much more than we ever thought, a really remarkable day.

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)


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

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.

Saturday’s are now full

If you are interested in riding please do get in touch but we must inform you that we currently have no availability for riding on a Saturday as all the places are now full. Please do contact us if you have any questions and for more details about our Admissions Policy see our Information for Riders page.

Of course as we have so many riders on a Saturday we are always looking for help. We ride from 9-1pm in the morning with each session starting on the hour. In the afternoon we have rides at 2pm, 3pm, 3.45pm and 4.30pm finishing at 5.15pm. Some of our helpers just come for two sessions others stay all day so there are lots of options. For more information about helping with the rides see our Volunteering page.

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!