Herefordshire County RDA News

Page updated: Jan 2017



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. With a highly skilled passionate band of volunteers behind her, Janet proudly showed off a stable full of willing horses and local farm animals, all of which provide the back drop to a flourishing endeavour. I watched the horses being lovingly cared for, “and not just because it’s a special day, we do this every day, they love being massaged under our heat lamps”. I mingled amongst newly born piglets, and met the goats and local house pets, such a great idea to have animals other than horses to add to the sensory environment and to bring calm and normality to any potential riders that may be anxious about learning or coming back to work with horses.

Provided with a steaming cuppa our gathering had the privilege of meeting and listening to Sophie Christiansen CBE one of TEAM GB most successful Para Olympian Superstars. Sophie’s mum told me that,” from age 6 Sophie showed a keen interest in riding and that movement on horseback was a better way to have physio to help manage her Cerebral Palsy”.  How humbling it was to then listen to Sophie tell us of her personal life challenges, in a humorously, delivered and inspiring chat. I went to a normal school where I could integrate with non-disabled people. It was great for me as I knew it would help me to progress my love of sport”. 

And progress she did with the help of RDA and that caring, yet encouraging, manner we are known for. Before she knew it Sophie was talent spotted, encouraged and coached and supported to become the youngest Para Olympic rider in Athens 2004. “And I surprised myself when I came home with a Bronze medal”.  “I was not surprised” remarked Clive Milkins her coach and mentor, who filled in the detail. “We saw a lot in Sophie, determination, enthusiasm, natural ability, talent to go forward, all we needed to do was to channel it, and find the right horse”.  And this is what Ride 2 Achieve and RDA is all about, putting a rider on the right horse, making a team of support around the combination and taking whatever time it takes to achieve the rider’s personal goal. And we measure success in very small amounts;  It’s not all about medals and ribbons”.

I met many successful riders on the day, many with a physical challenge, many with a mental struggle and many with visual impairments, but the common theme was their confidence, their enthusiasm and their belief in themselves, it helpers and their horse.

Concluding her talk Sophie made special mention of her London 2012 triple Gold medal winning horse Rio, and rightly so as he is a superstar.  So what a tremendous surprise to see Clive trot him out into the brand new arena and then to tell us many a tale of the often challenging relationship managing a sometime feisty superstar rider, and sometime over enthusiastic  superstar horse. “But that’s what makes for success, taking time to work together to get to know the sum of the parts and to get the best from the talent”  And once again this reads across to what RDA delivers every day for over 25000 talents of every level across UK.

So I am grateful to Ride 2 Achieve and Redbrook Farm for opening their gates. Much has been achieved, there is more to come and come it will for this highly focused team. Oh yes and I am grateful to Sophie for allowing me to hold one of her gold medals. How considerate and thoughtful of the designers to make them with embossing, Braille and a rattle inside. There’s a lesson there for all of us in RDA who present prizes. 

And a final note of a chat with one rider who told me, “RIO is now stabled here as an RDA horse and I will get the chance to sit on and ride him. How cool is that!?”

How cool indeed. Good luck to RIO in his new career and best wishes to all at Ride 2 Achieve.

 Hereford County Newsletter Summer 2017

 Congratulations to  all Herefordshire’s Riders on fantastic results at our Regional Qualifier at Stourport  in May, we wish them all well at the   RDA National Championships at Hartpury College in Gloucestershire mid July.

Well done Herefordshire!!   


In 2016

  Sam Oliver from the Ride 2 Achieve Group  returned from Los Angeles where he represented Great Britain in the SPECIAL OLYMPICS. As part of a 5 strong team, supported by team coach Janet Alderton, Sam won One Gold and Two Silver medals! Well done to Sam and the rest of Great Britain’s team who also did very well out there on borrowed, strange horses.

Well done Herefordshire!!   


In 2016

  Sam Oliver from the Ride 2 Achieve Group  returned from Los Angeles where he represented Great Britain in the SPECIAL OLYMPICS. As part of a 5 strong team, supported by team coach Janet Alderton, Sam won One Gold and Two Silver medals! Well done to Sam and the rest of Great Britain’s team who also did very well out there on borrowed, strange horses.

 Hereford County Roundup Spring 2015

RDA in Herefordshire is changing all the time – to good effect! 

A new Group named Ride 2 Achieve has recently been formed north east of Hereford City and is now up and running providing mainly individual & targeted bespoke sessions for Riders with learning or physical issues tailored to individual needs – either on their own or the Group’s equines. They are keen to receive new enquiries – 

Ride 2 Achieve Tel: 07817 831 108 

They will help in any way possible to improve the wellbeing of participants by riding both indoors outside. 

I am pleased to report that Kyre Group has a new qualified Group Instructor in the shape of their Group Chairman Janet Lee. Well done to Janet for all her hard work with this Group! This Group is also desperately looking for a driving pony to resurrect their active driving activities – they would be delighted to hear if anyone knows of such a pony to loan or purchase. 

Kyre Group Tel: 0845 2415394. 

Herefordshire Group has been very busy giving nearly 5,000 therapeutic sessions in 2013 both riding & driving as well as hippotherapy sessions. The Group were also well represented at the RDA Championships at Hartpury College in July. Carriage driving sadly had to halt in the autumn due to wear to the carriage but all is mended and the Driving Group are to resume in March 2014 in more suitable weather they hope!! Anyone interested in taking part or helping with this more unusual but fun RDA activity is urged to contact the Centre on 01432 870 831

The Herefordshire group has also undergone much change over the year – both staff and horses. But the Centre will be open for Participants & Volunteers alike, with many new faces both human & equine in January after a well earned Christmas break. Again the Centre welcomes enquiries from both Volunteers and those wishing to ride.

Celia Baker

Herefordshire County Chairman   

Herefordshire Groups Information 

01299 851465


Riding For The Disabled Group

Phone Number: 01432 870831

Postcode: HR2 6LL


Ride 2 Achieve

Phone Number: 07817 831 108

Post Code HR2 6QR


Click around the region 


Worcestershire     Warwickshire  



Herefordshire RDA Group

Class 6.    Juan Gregor riding Benson (kindly lent by the Clwyd Special Riding Group)  Placed 2nd

Ride 2 Achieve

Class 4. Megan Pritchard riding Scout  Placed 2nd

Class 11. Megan Pritchard riding Scout  Placed 1st

Class 21. Alex Stevens riding Jack   Placed =2nd

Class 26. Alex Stevens riding Jack   Placed 2nd

Class 41. 
Angela Higham riding Scout Placed 2nd

Class 47. Morgan Haines riding Fabulous Frosty Placed 6th

Class 54. Morgan Haines riding Fabulous Frosty Placed 2nd Junior

          Sam Oliver Riding Scout   Placed 2nd Restricted

Class 73. Madison Stephens riding Fabulous Frosty Placed =3rd Junior

          Sarah Smith riding Scout Placed 2nd Restricted

Class 78. Madison Stephens riding Fabulous Frosty      Placed 2nd Junior

         Megan Cheley riding Monty R2A Placed 3rd Junior

         Sarah Smith riding Scout  Placed 4th Restricted

         Emily Morrison riding Scout Placed =5th Restricted