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On Friday the 4 th of August the Riding for the Disabled (RDA) UK Chairman, Sam Orde volunteer riders on a 15Km ride through the breathtaking Welsh Countryside near Aberdare. Sam praised everyone involved for being so "enthusiastic and well organised". The ride started at Green Meadow Riding Centre in the beautiful Dare Valley Country Park, with a shorter 1km route for RDA riders from South Wales groups, who really enjoyed the experience.
Sam is taking part in all 20 of the UK-wide Big Rides, which are taking place across the country this summer. The aim of the Big Ride is to cover at least 1,000km in total with RDA riders, carriage drivers and volunteers taking part. She hopes to raise funds both for a new national training facility/headquarters and for the local groups, who offer opportunities for disabled participants to ride and/or drive.
You can donate to the Big Ride RDA UK/ South Wales at
The Big Ride received an enthusiastic welcome from Judith England and her brilliant team at her Green Meadow Riding Centre. This is a pretty special location in Dare Valley Country Park built on a reclaimed slag heap in 1976, with Welsh hills on one side and the ex-mining town of Aberdare on the other.
A large group of people gathered to put on a special Big Ride day with a Welsh twist. RDA riders, volunteers, and ponies came from Green Meadow, Bridgend and Mount Pleasant Groups and all three regional Chairmen were there to help. There was a real community effort on fund raising and RDA riders proudly produced their sponsorship forms at the start of the day. Our pre ride photos starred a Welsh lady in traditional costume, Welsh mascot toy pony and a big cheque for £1,500 raised by this event to date, with more to come! With a bit of shepherding from Judith and regional coach Mike Butcher (who fund raised £350 with a fancy dress and raffle) we were ready. There was a tremendous team spirit as 10 RDA riders helped by 21 volunteers on foot and a dozen volunteers on horses set off together!
The RDA riders completed a 2km ride through the country park, before returning to rosettes, lunch, face painting and fun! The longer ride of a good 22km saw us climb to 446m for tremendous views across the Welsh hills. This beautiful ride was virtually all off road. We rode through woodland with lunch provided under beech trees, where we sheltered from a brief shower. The wonderful ponies were sure footed up and down steep tracks and clearly enjoyed the ride including a couple of good spins. The end of the ride took us along an old coal railway line between ex miners' houses. It was a chatty four hour ride and my favourite overheard question 'Do you have a chicken called Darcy?' ..... the answer yes and we all learnt quite a bit about hens!
This day gave a real boost to the Big Ride cumulative totals and it looks like we need to revise our 1000 km target upwards!
|Big Ride RDA UK events so far||9|
|RDA riders/vaulters/carriage drivers||64|
|volunteers & supporters riding/carriage driving||46|
|Big Ride Total km with ponies||837 km|
|Distance by volunteers on foot||231 km|
|Big Ride events to go||12|
The RDA South Wales Region AGM was held on Thursday April13th 2017 at Coleg Penybont Pencoed Campus, Pencoed, CF35 5LG. Minutes of meeting.
The RDA South Wales Region Countryside Challenge Qualifiers was held on Thursday May 25th 2017 commencing 10.30am at Coleg Penybont Pencoed Campus, Pencoed, CF35 5LG.
The RDA South Wales Show Jumping Qualifiers was held on Wednesday May 17th 2017 commencing 11.00am at Coleg Sir Gâr Pibwrlwyd Campus, Carmarthen, SA31 2NH.
The RDA South Wales Region Dressage Qualifiers was held on Wednesday May 17th 2017 commencing 1.00pm at Coleg Sir Gâr Pibwrlwyd Campus, Carmarthen, SA31 2NH.
The Mid South Wales Fun Day was held on Monday June 19th 2017 at City of Cardiff Riding School, Pontcanna, CF5 2AX.
The Clytha South East Wales Fun Day was held on Wednesday June 21st 2017 at Clytha Park, Clytha, Abergavenny, NP7 9BW.