Gloucestershire Groups

Marian Yardley of the Maisemore Group Obituary July 2017

Please click here to read the obituary.

Chipping Norton rider in print!

Rider Sam Andrews aged 10 attends Enstone Primary School. He has been riding with Chipping Norton RDA group for nearly 2 years.  We are a small group, we meet every Thursday for 2 hours at Cotswold Riding School, Durhams Farm, Chastleton. We have 8 riders and 19 helpers.

This is a poem written by Sam at his school: click here to read it.

The photo was taken in May 2016  at Summerhouse Equestrian Centre Regional competition after completing the Countryside Challenge. Sam riding Pip being lead by Simon Welch with side walker Kate Hawes.

Creative Christmas supports Maisemore RDA in 2016

Click here to view the file.

Minchinhampton Group News 2016

Minchinhampton Group continue to meet on Thursday afternoons at Barton End Stables, Nailsworth near Stroud.

Katharine McNealey and Pippa Hamilton qualified as group coaches in October and share the teaching between them.

Our clients are mainly adults with Autism and learning difficulties. Several of them have been riding for over five years now and we are proud of the progress they have made. Our lessons always end with games and team races, and we aim to have lots of fun.

We have been fortunate in being able to recruit several new helpers this season, and found all our new volunteers by word of mouth and through a local, very active Facebook group.

We were grateful to receive several donations this year and a small legacy. This has enabled us to buy all our riders a new "Polly" hat each, and equip all the ponies we use with a new headcollar and lead rein. We also purchased some new coloured reins, a grooming kit, and several new pairs of gloves for our riders to use in cold weather.

Katharine McNealey
Group Coach.


Jude on Diddi with Tammy and Sally

Eddie riding Joe, lead by Manaho

Debbie with Jack on Ben.


Maisemore Rider wins at the Nationals again

Ryan Gwilliam from Dymock, a pupil of Alderman Knight School, Tewkesbury, achieved a double first at the RDA Nationals 2014.  Read here for more information.  Well done Ryan!

Tumpy Green

Click here to read summer 2013 news.


Cotswold Group Summer Newsletter

Click here to read it.

Maisemore Group rider Ryan gains national success

Click here to read all about it!

Watershed Summer Newsletter

This latest edition from the Watershed Group gives a very clear and informative view of all that is happening at the group, and aimed at those who may not know much about RDA, as well as the regular supporters.  Well done Bob.
/files/Midwest RDA/2013 Watershed Summer newsletter.pdf

Maisemore rider qualifies for Championships

Local rider Ryan Gwilliam from Dymock recently competed at the RDA Mid West Regional Qualifiers held at The Avon Centre in Bristol.

A pupil at Alderman Knight School in Tewkesbury, Ryan, 13, has been with the Maisemore RDA Group for the past 3½ years.

Riding the Group’s 11-year old pony, Amos, he put in a strong performance in the hotly contested Countryside Challenge class to come second and qualify for the RDA National Championships being held at Hartpury College in July.

Watershed group report: Spring 2013

Recently we had a visit from Mandy Pellatt who is the community publisher for the Gloucestershire 'Local People' sites. She came and talked to us, as well as parents and children, about what we do. Here is a quote about 3 of our riders, Will, Ben and Josh which gives a flavour of the article and of what we do and why we do it.
I hope you will read the full version on line at

"I was there for the Monday afternoon session, and turned up just in time to meet Will and his mum, Rachel. Five-year-old Will, a pupil at Paternoster School in Cirencester, regularly rides Ben - a gorgeous 14-year-old polo pony. Will loves wheels, and anything round that turns or spins. 

"Quite often he'd rather go off to play with the wheelbarrow," laughed Bob.

After a long day at school Will appeared to be a little bit tired and agitated when he first arrived at the arena. However, once on Ben's back, distracted by the spinning motion of the handheld windmills carried by instructor, Pam, and helpers Annabel, Gill and Kate, and soothed by the gentle plodding motion of the pony, Will soon appeared to be relaxed and very at ease in the saddle.

As we watched from outside the arena, Bob said: "Will doesn't realise it, but he's working really hard. Riding on Ben really builds his core strength and helps his balance and stability.”

It was fantastic to see the transformation in this little boy, who clearly benefits hugely from his Monday afternoon sessions with Ben and the Watershed team.

Seven-year-old Harrison arrived at Watershed with his lovely mum, Colleen, and gorgeous eight-month-old baby brother, Jack.

"Harrison has CHARGE, which is an extremely complex syndrome," explained Colleen."He has no vesicular system, which means he has real problems with balance. He walks with a frame and has difficulty judging steps. He benefits so much from his sessions with Ben. Look at him - he's sitting upright, holding his hands up in the air and wobbling about on a walking pony. This really, really helps him physically by building his core strength, dexterity, balance and stability, as well as teaching him how to follow instructions. The work they do here at Watershed is amazing."

Colleen asked Harrison why he liked coming to Watershed, to which he replied: "Because I do." "And what do you like most about it?" she asked. "Everything," he shouted with a smile.

Cue Josh - the first of the after-school group to arrive. Eighteen-year-old Josh comes along most Mondays with his full-time carer, Giulia. Josh has autism and is a part-time student at Stroud College.

According to Giulia, he gets so much out of his Monday afternoon sessions at Watershed.

"Josh loves it here," she said. "He would come here all the time if he could."

On arrival each Monday, Josh likes to reacquaint himself with every nook and cranny of the tack room and yard, making sure everything's where it should be. Myself and Giulia watched on smiling as he went about his weekly checklist.

I left with a real appreciation of how huge a role facilities such as Watershed play in the lives of, not only youngsters like Will and Harrison, but adults like Josh, parents and helpers by being a part of the Watershed family.

It would be a shame to lose such a wonderful facility but, as Bob said, they need to supplement any income from grants and fundraising with donations, and one way people can do this is to become a Friend of the Watershed Group.

"Even a small, regular donation will help us to keep going," said Bob."

Find out more about becoming a Friend of Watershed RDA
Please do read the full version and see the pictures she took!

Bob Merrill 
Group Organiser
Watershed Riding for the Disabled

Maisemore Group


The Maisemore Group RDA recently celebrated its 40th Anniversary with a special lunch party at Taynton & Tibberton Village Hall. With catering by an enthusiastic team of RDA volunteers, the event was attended by many friends, visitors and older members, some going back to the founding of the Group in December 1972 when weekly sessions were held at Rectory Farm, Maisemore, by kind permission of Mr & Mrs Ted Bubb.

Also in attendance were current volunteers, riders, teachers, past County Chairmen and also the son and daughter of Jacqueline Elgood, one of the founder members who was very influential in getting the group off the ground in the early days.

Pat Milsom, Chairman, gave a very informative potted history of the Group and acknowledged the benefits of the wonderful facilities now available at the Equine Centre of Hartpury College to which it moved in 2007. Tony Elgood also spoke of his mother’s involvement in the early days of RDA and proposed a toast to the future success of the group. His sister Judy Hart kindly drew the raffle for which the Group is most grateful to the donors of some wonderful prizes.

Together Tony and Judy cut the Anniversary cake!

Former rider Megan Wharton with Judy McIntyre

The catering corps

Two riders Becky Jollans and Eli Heathfield

Team of volunteers

Judy and Tim Hart with Pat Milsom

Joan Wilkinson, Mary Revers and Judy Hart

Cotswold Christmas News 

Click here to catch up on the Cotwold group activities

Watershed Christmas News

Click here to read about the Royal Visit

Watershed Summer News 2012 

Click here

County Chairmen retire

Click here for for information

Maisemore Group receive two new saddles from the Mayfield Home Trust

click here for more information 

Cotswold news September 2012

Dear Volunteers and Helpers

Welcome back! Sorry about the weather but typically it will be better when the term starts! We hope you have had a lovely summer. It has been quite eventful what with the Olympics and Paralympics. Well done to Charlotte du Jardan, who very kindly gave a demo at the school earlier this year. Wouldn’t it be great if we could get her to re-visit with her gold medal at some point!

We hope that many of our riders will be inspired by the Paralympics. We have got four years to go to Rio so we will be pushing our riders a little harder this year.

Sadly Gatcombe Horse Trials were cancelled this year due to the atrocious weather. As a subsequence of Mo appearing on local radio, we were very fortunate to be offered a stall in the Regent Arcade Cheltenham free of charge so we could recoup our losses.

We were delighted to be invited to Milestone’s KS2 Strawberry Fair. There were lots of happy faces and we were able to present the RDA National Musical Award medals to the guys who took part.

We would like to thank Vertex, Cheltenham Sparks Rotary, and EDF Energy for very kindly giving up their precious time to come along and help us with the never-ending thankless task of painting.

We were also very lucky to have been invited by Camra to promote ourselves at the Postlip Beer Festival. As a result they sent us a cheque towards our good work. Thank you Camra.

Unfortunately, because of the weather and flooded fields a lot of our ponies could not go away for the summer holidays. Thank you so much to our ladies who came in rain or shine to feed and check the ponies. Also, thanks to Eileen and her husband Chris for deadheading and weed - killing in what must have been the hottest week of the year.

Our Christmas cards have arrived and will shortly be on display in the school and

are also available to order through our website. We had a great start at Morton show selling over 200 packs! Don't worry we still have plenty left!

Just a reminder to our helpers from Mo PLEASE write in the diary when you can’t come. AND PLEASE READ THE NOTICE BOARD! !

Here’s to a fun and busy Autumn term. We are looking forward to the Countryside Day at the races on 17 Nov when we will be displaying a new musical ride in the Winner’s Enclosure at Cheltenham Racecourse. This will be a big fundraiser for us so please do come along to support us.

Yet again if you know anyone who would like to join our happy team as a volunteer bring them in!

And finally as usual we are looking for four 14 .2hh geldings ages around 8 to10.

Hartpury College students support Maisemore Group

Click here to see how the students raised money for the group which is based at the College.

Royal Visit to Maisemore Group stand at Ledbury point to point

Click here for details

Watershed group have just published their New Year 2012 newsletter - click to read it.


Lilley Brook Golf Club Ladies’ Captain, Pat Wright, recently presented a cheque from the Ladies Section for £800.47 to Pat Milsom (Chairman & Chief Instructor) and Sue Coleman (Trustee) of Maisemore Group RDA (Riding for the Disabled).

This RDA Group operates from the equine centre at Hartpury College and the proceeds will go towards the ever-increasing costs of providing and delivering opportunities for therapy, achievement and enjoyment to people with disabilities within our local area. A large proportion of riders in the group are pupils at The Milestone School in Gloucester, a community Special School that provides for children with a wide range of special educational needs.


The Maisemore Group recently raised an amazing £851 at a luncheon held at Taynton & Tibberton Village Hall. The hardworking team of RDA volunteers, headed by chef d’équipe Moira Norwood who masterminded the whole event, swapped their sweatshirts for aprons and rubber gloves to produce a delicious two-course lunch for 70 guests including Regional Chairman, Lizzie Blair. 

Nick Horniman, a well known local veterinary surgeon of Pets Barn Veterinary Group, gave a fascinating talk and explained how the many advances in veterinary science in recent years and pet owners’ increased knowledge of pet and animal health have contributed to greater life expectancy for our four legged friends of all shapes and sizes.


Cotswold Group News 2011

Click here to check out the latest news from the Cotswold Group

Watershed Summer 2011 Newsletter

See what the Watershed Group has been up to by clicking the link below.

Summer 2011 newsletter.pdf

Tumpy Green Newsletter 2011

Our newest Gloucestershire group also has a newsletter.  Click here to read it.



While RDA nationally was celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2010, one of the country’s oldest Riding for the Disabled groups which began life five years prior to the formation of RDA nationally held its 45th anniversary celebration.

Talland RDA Group in Gloucestershire began life in a field with a couple of horses.  Within a year it was offered premises at Talland School of Equitation at Siddington by the owner Molly Sivewright, where the group  remained for many years before moving with them to their new purpose-built centre at Ampney Knowle near Barnsley in 2006, now run by Molly’s daughter and son in law Pammy and Brian Hutton.

  On Tuesday May 18th 2010 Talland’s adult and child riders put on a display of their riding skills to an audience of supporters, families, helpers and friends to celebrate 45 years of continuous riding. 

The display ended with a presentation by retiring national RDA chairman Jane Holderness-Roddam followed by a birthday tea.

The majority of the children at the Talland RDA group come from Paternoster School in Cirencester with adult riders coming from the Home Farm Trust and as individuals.  A team of 30 volunteers assist, allowing lessons to be provided free of charge weekly during term-time.

Chairman of Talland RDA Group, Caroline Longsdon  said: “We are fortunate to have wonderful facilities at Talland which allow us to provide lessons in a safe and weatherproof environment all year.  Without our dedicated volunteers none of this would be possible.”

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