What is West Mercia RDA?

West Mercia RDA incorporates the 5 counties:

• Herefordshire   • Shropshire   • Staffordshire  • Warwickshire  • Worcestershire

The 5 counties embrace 36 RDA Member Groups delivering riding, carriage driving and vaulting for disabled people in their local area. These groups are run and supported by volunteers who are specially trained to deliver fulfilling, challenging and rewarding experiences using the horse and pony to achieve positive outcomes.

If you want to Volunteer for RDA:

If you or someone you know is looking for a new challenge, or just the chance to socialise and have fun.  Why not volunteer to help those that would benefit from equine assisted therapy. 

With the support of people like you, who cheerfully give up their free time to help by investing a couple of hours each week, we can continue to provide our life-changing activities and increase provision to include the many needy people who are currently missing out.

RDA’s core activities are  Carriage Driving, Vaulting (like gymnastics on horseback), Riding including  Dressage, Show Jumping,Endurance and the latest Showing. RDA Groups may provide all or some of these activities, so start by contacting your nearest RDA Group to see what's on offer, or chat to us about what you would like to do and find out how we may be able to help.It's good for: All ages and abilities,  Great physiotherapy, Suitable for physical and learning difficulties,  is recommended by Medical Professionals and can  helps with education, in a  Focused Environment.

How can I find out more?

RDA Groups may provide all or some of these activities, so start by contacting your nearest RDA Group to see what's on offer, or chat to us about what you would like to do and find out how we may be able to help.

Contact your RDA County Chairman 

Herefords & Worcester  01981 540773 or 01905 780692 

Shropshire 01691 656805 Staffordshire 01785 824041 

Warwickshire  01675 467676 

West Mercia RDA Regional Chairman 01691 661128

Latest News

 Oct  19


The Marches Group Celebrates 50 Years of RDA

Greeted with the customary RDA open welcome and blessed with a warm sunny morning it was a true pleasure to be part of the Marches Group 50th Celebration on Thursday.  And what a morning it was.

The “Marches” ride at Pen Y Coed Riding Stables on the edge of the England/Wales border.  The Group can trace its long history back to the founding days of RDA via a link to the local market town of Oswestry.  Not that they want to look backwards, rather they are a team of forward looking enthusiasts that make full use of the Stables’ facilities.  Supported by owners George, Jim and mum Pam Hanson the weekly sessions now take place in a superb new indoor school.  The outdoor ménage is also first class on fine days, “and we have delightful hacks on properly prepared and safe tracks straight from the yard” beamed Clare Bellison the Group Chairman.

In short the Group is ideally situated, superbly organised and set fair under the tutelage of George, who is also Coach, to deliver enjoyable, well structured and progressive sessions to 7 adult riders throughout the year.  Oops, make that 8 riders for a new rider, Natalie, was on hand for her first “come and have a look visit” and can’t wait for her riding experience to get cracking after half term.

Ed Bracher the Chief Executive made a special visit for the morning to present much deserved awards and was delighted with the Group’s energy and obvious positive benefits that were on show.  In thanking the Team Anona White the Regional Chairman highlighted the vision and progressive attitude of all involved in running and supporting the Group.  Oh yes, and its thanks from me for delicious cake!

                     Regional Volunteer of the Year 

“Di” Poole is like most of the hundreds of Volunteers that I have met, enthusiastic, conscientious, determined, committed and energetic.  The trait which sets her out for me is her self-effacing approach.  Derwen Group thrives today having been “reborn” towards the end of 2017 on the short notice closure of their venue.  Di was rock steady in the ensuing turmoil and immediately set about to continue delivering support to the Group’s participants. 

Crises in RDA happen but their management by calm, business like and thoughtful volunteers is what counts.  A new venue, new volunteers and an ensuing increase in participants are the outcome that Di and her colleagues produced.  Furthermore the meticulous delivery of the important paraphernalia that needs to be in place, the commitment to coaching excellence and the creation of a safe and harmonious backdrop all fell to Di and a small core team.  That she achieved all of this whilst still “leading one up” and “picking the poo” is testament to her willing nature and unswerving commitment to her riders. 

Fundraising is a taboo to many, not so for Di.  In the year she encouraged colleagues at the Oswestry Golf Club (her very busy day job) that a sponsored day for RDA would be mutually beneficial.  The day was a great success giving West Mercia Region a chance to raise awareness of our bigger picture amongst many of the Region’s and local influencers.  Di put this plan together, secured much of the sponsorship and brought in countless donations of prizes.  And she achieved all of this without fuss or personal fanfare.

This irrepressible work hungry volunteer typifies all that is good in the positive story that is RDA. I am supported by the County and Regional Committees in recommending that she is richly deserving of our highest recognition.

Whittington & Lichfield

50th Ball

Looks as if a good evening was had by all Thanks to everyone they raised £2000


“...and we ALWAYS have Cake”!

So were the proud words of the Rea Valley Group in Shropshire in their celebration of 50 Years of RDA.  This came at the end of a very energetic, well delivered and most positive morning where a dozen riders were put through their paces.  Click for Full report 

Stafford Group's 
Celebrating RDA's 50th

Countryfile went to Hartpury one day

To see the good work that is RDA
A charity that is 50 years old 
And encourages the disabled that they
 can be bold

A meet with a horse to learn how to ride 
So friends and family are filled with great pride 
Because it’s not what hinders or gives you strife
RDA is about what improves your life 

For 50 years folk have tried their best 
To provide excitement after which you can rest 
So when you need a lift, a smile
 or to just have fun
Then come to RDA, 
they are second to none.

Frequently Asked Questions
Physiotherapists within RDA:  


The Chartered Physiotherapists in Therapeutic Riding and Hippotherapy (CPTRH) 

 "Friendly Massage Table Specialists"


Forthcoming Events and Training dates 

updated Oct 19 


 We’re excited to announce that the ever-popular RDA Creative Writing Competition is back for 2020!

As in previous years, we will still be offering classes for poetryshort stories and letter-writing, and entries can be submitted in any format, such as pen, print, pencil, Makaton symbols. Braille and pieces written in languages other than English can also be entered, but should include a transcription/translation, to assist the judges

for more details go to:  www.myrda.org.uk website.the event page 

 click here 

Hereford & Worcester 

50th Quiz and Supper

Friday 22nd Nov 


Arley Kings Village Hall,

 Arley Common 

Stourport on Severn 

DY13 0NB

Tickets £12.00 per person 

which will include supper. 

There will not be a bar so please bring your own drinks. 

Max 6 persons per team 

Enter as many teams as you like 

Quiz starts 7.15 prompt

Tickets & info available from 

Jeannie Bird 07803 048705 

Chris Fetcher 07870 354742



Horse Care & Knowledge Module

Friday 25th October 2019

Lowlands Equestrian Centre

CV35 7AX

12noon – 3pm
to book email 


 Pre-coach Training Module

Thursday 7th November


 Stourport Riding School

DY13 9JD

 Grey’s Cafe.

to book email 


 Safe Guarding

Friday 8th November

Lowlands Equestrian Centre


course full  email:


if you wish  go on waiting list 

Staffordshire County Training 

RDA Volunteer Training




  6.30pm - 8.30pm

TEA, COFFEE & BISCUITS will be provided

This training will be both Practical and Classroom Based. We aim to cover Mounting and Dismounting, Leading, Side walking and elements of Health and Safety to include Risk Assessments. 

to book please email:


Training in adjacent regions

 Coaching Module

Friday 15th Novemeber

Watershed Stables, Cirencester

All day

to book 


National Coaches Training 

Clwyd Special Riding Centre 

Llanfyndd Wrexham LL11 5HN 

24th November 2019 10 am—4 pm 

Spaces on this training day are £10 per person. Please bring your own lunch. Bookings and payment to be made through this link

This will be repeated in Spring 2020 Venue TBC but South of West Mercia 

Sunday 1st December,

Pre Coach and Medical and therapy 



 to book contact Helen Powell,  County Coach


Medical Module for the Coaching Certificate 

 Spring 2020

Venue and Date TBC 


to book email 


         Doug Smith 

        receiving  the 

     Presidents Award


Well done to everyone that competed at this years Nationals

Click Here for full results

Wyre Forest Riders  

end of term Summer show only possible with the wonderful team of volunteers

full report on Worcestershire page 



 FUN DAY 2019

Possibly one of the wettest days of the summer saw the Warwickshire Fun Day take place at Lowlands Equestrian Centre, National HQ of RDA, recently opened by HRH The Princess Royal.

Full report on Warwickshire Page  

Regional Qualifiers  

Click Here for full Results  

Well what a day was had by all at the Regional Qualifier.

Thank you to everyone who helped make the day happen,  

High Riders Group 

 celebrated 21 short years with a smashing birthday tea and magnificent cake, which was beautifully cut by Abi and Spike, the Group's first riders.


  Susan Moore, 

Jackie Doughton 

Lauren and Amy Fitzpatrick on passing the 

 Bronze Horse Care 

Jan 2019 



Good Luck to

 Stratford upon Avon RDA Group  

 who has been nominated for

 2 awards at the

Pride of Stratford District Awards 

Sophie for the Young Achiever Award, and the  Group for the Community Impact Award. 

 Results will be announced on Friday 8th February 2019

Kyre Group Pony


 receives Long Service award after 20 years in harness.

 report on Worcester page  

Whittington and Lichfield Group expand 

see Report on Stafford page 


Jacky Whittle collects a massive


from Clarrie Hocknell, the outgoing Chairman of Shropshire Young Farmers following a tremendous year in which she and countless companions undertook 

"12 Challenges" 

to bring RDA to the notice of Young Farmers throughout the Land. We are grateful for their endeavour and for their massive support. 

See full article on Shropshire page.

Click here

The Stratford upon Avon Riding for the Disabled group is delighted that Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal joined them to celebrate its 50th Anniversary.

As part of the visit some of its riders gave two short demonstrations watched by guests made up of its Founder, Mrs Beryl Sainsbury.

Full report on

 Warwickshire page

National Championships 

Friday 13th to Sunday 15th July 

Hartpury College, Gloucestershire

West Mercia Results

click here  



July 5th 

And what a wonderful sight to be welcomed by such a smashing team of enthusiastic volunteers all of whom were decked out in a vivid blue tee shirt specially made for the day. It was a great idea as it let the dozens of new faces who had come to watch and support, just who to turn to for answers or advice.

Full report on Worcestershire page 

Click Here 

Toni Gasside receiving the Warwickshire Trophy 

Click here

for full report on Warwickshire page 


Regional Qualifiers 

Well done to everyone who competed and good luck to all who qualified for the Championships in July.

Full results on Result Page 


  Max and his team 

 made it to 

Everest Base Camp 

Regional Fund Raising

 Golf Day

   Oswestry Golf Club 

A Huge thank you to the President and Members of Oswestry Golf Club for hosting our Charity Day. 

 Their generosity and freely given effort enabled us to raise a substantial pot of money. 

Winning Golf Team


Over 430 years of loyal and dedicated service to the disabled community of Shropshire was recognised on Tuesday. Volunteers from across the County gathered at Walford and North Shropshire College which hosted the County’s Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) annual collective training day.

Jacky Whittle from Brockton Court RDA Group (Kemberton)  is the County Chairman who put on the day.  “We try to use quiet periods to gather volunteers so we can provide continuous professional development and bring people bang up to date with policy developments and training hints from National Office.  And at the same time we like to acknowledge and recognise volunteers who give their energy, enthusiasm and time freely to help others.”

 Peter Dickin of  the Ludlow and District Group was presented his certificate and award recognising 40 years of service, Pat McGregor of the Baschurch & Loppington Group (35 years). Peter commented "that he always looked forward to seeing his friends and members of RDA at his stables and he hopes, to carry on to see if he can reach a number with 5 in it”.  

Paralympic Superstars 

Sophie Christiansen CBE, 

Clive Milkins  and Rio

 proudly on hand to open the new arena named after Murphy a much loved now treasured in hte memory of all at Ride2Achieve.


Redbrook Farm near Hereford opened its doors this week when Ride 2 Achieve RDA Group welcomed visitors, participants, friends and families to see the excellent forward strides made so far. Home to Ride 2 Achieve for 18 short months it is easy to see how the vision, enthusiasm and drive shown by Janet Alderton and her team have come together.  

 Click for

full report on Herefordshire page


What an end of the year

Sophie Evans-Lee from Stratford upon Avon RDA group who, in front of her proud Dad Gareth and Grandmother Gill,  was awarded thStratford upon Avon Junior Para Sports award 2018 for her achievements in horse riding at the presentation dinner held on 19th January.  

 Sophie has  also been shortlisted for   for the Pride of Stratford award for Young Achievers

with the winner  of this award being being announced on 9th February.  Both awards are in partnership with Touch FM radio following her nominations that listed her achievements with horseriding

Full report on Warwickshire page 

Sophie at the RDA Nationals 


What a beautiful Day! The sun shone on us as we witnessed Sam Orde and a huge group of RDA families and friends, old and new, trot up around Lowlands Farm. Lowlands is soon to become the RDA National Training Centre and Sam has ridden hundreds of miles around all 18 regions covering 20 venues accompanied by countless riders, walkers and carriages in her special effort to raise funds for the project. Sam’s drive, leadership and commitment to the project have been exemplary so it was fitting that she finished the challenge in Warwickshire. 

Full report on Warwickshire page 
Shropshire’s Cavalier Centre 
which for so long had been the dream of so many is finally on its way.
The Champagne and chocolate cake may not have said it all, but it was certainly a pointer to the future.  
The Perry Riding School founded by Jane Barker in 1995, has been sited at her Shrewsbury home. The committed president who has been to the county to boost the project is the Marquis of Hertford and so many hopes now rest in the scheme that those involved in achieving it are determined to go the extra mile.
At the formal launch, Catherine, Lady Forester was on hand to cut the first turf.  


See what we are up to and contribute using the link below to

West Mercia RDA Facebook Group

Contact your 

RDA County Chairman


01981 540773


07814 014006


01785 824041


01675 467676


01905 780692


West Mercia RDA Regional Chairman

01691 661128

We will help you find a suitable Group

Recent Activities ...

National Championships

2017 Results 

Friday 14th – Sunday 16th July 2017 at Hartpury College, Gloucestershire
The RDA National Championships is RDA’s flagship event, bringing together hundreds of competitors of all abilities in events including Dressage, Countryside Challenge, Vaulting, Horse Care & Knowledge, Arts & Crafts, Best Turned Out and Musical Ride
Congratulations to all competitors at this years Championships  

and  here for 

West Mercia   results

Musical Ride Success

Another first for Stratford upon Avon Group, as several of our riders gain "Getting Started" Endurance awards.

Riders and helpers enjoyed taking time checks at 0.5 km, 1 km, 1.5 km and 2 km markers around the tracks, adding focus and interest to our usual hacks. Well done Scarlett Jess and Archie for achieving 1km, and Anna, Jules, Peter, Fi, Issy, Louis, Ellis, Sasha, Harry and Lewis for covering 2 km at nearly 5km/hr.  Huge thanks to our helpers who "power walked" to keep up with our enthusiastic riders! Here's some riders receiving their certificate and rosettes. “


"We have a great link with the Pony Club so let's see if we can help each other raise our profiles", and the display boards and fliers were brought out again.  The Area 7 PC SJ Championships was the opportunity to let over 200 competitors, their family and friends in on the RDA secret.  "Chatting on a one to one basis really was a great way to get our message across to folks, especially to those parents who are sometimes "flummoxed" when sons and daughters say they have to do something good for their D Of E and the like. We have had many follow up enquiries about volunteering and youngsters seeking detail about the YELA Scheme and the raffle made some money as a bonus.

Cardington and Rushbury Young Farmers Club 
presented Shropshire County RDA and the Air Ambulance cheques for £1000.
  Seen below receiving the cheque on behalf of Shropshire RDA
 County Chairman Jackie Whittle and County Coach  Lynne Munro. 
Derwen RDA Group 

3 riders and helpers on their last riding day before breaking for the summer holidays. Had their own RDA Big Ride to help raise funds for the National RDA Centre at Lowlands Warwickshire.  They rode around the fields at Walford College where they are now based. Thanks to the Walford Equestrian staff for helping to make this possible  and raise £150.    
Well done Guys. 

Fun Day 2017


At the 2017 Warwickshire Fun Day, our Group Coach Karen was presented the Warwickshire County Trophy by our County Chair, Rosie, for outstanding services to the RDA Groups in the County over the past year.  Karen is not only our Coach who has helped our riders to achieve great results at what ever their ability, but also helps at Lowlands and holds the post of County Coach giving advice and support to all the Warwickshire Groups. A well deserved award. Congratulations Karen and thank you from all of us at Stratford for all the tireless hours you give to us.


 FUN DAY 2017

Some prize winners