A number of retirements has meant some changes on the South East Regional Committee of the Riding for the Disabled, including new chairperson for West Sussex with Janice Massey now at the helm.
Miranda Purves has become Regional Carriage Driving representative, Grace Lloyd Jones the new Regional Dressage representative and Carole Mounce new county chairperson for Kent.
Miranda has taken over the carriage driving position from Carol Porter, who has done an excellent job there for some years. Miranda started as a volunteer with Cobbes Meadow Group in Canterbury and has a wealth of experience.
Miranda Purves in the front seat
She is currently Chairman and Secretary of The Shepway Harness Club, has been a British Carriage Driving Club assessor since 2002, and an RDA carriage driving assessor since 2013.
“I started carriage driving in 1978 and since then have driven singles and pairs in indoor and outdoor National and Club competitions. In addition to navigating for pony teams, I have also qualified for my Tandem Bars,” she said.
Also she has been taking Fell driving ponies to Cobbes Meadow since 1997 and has been an approved RDA Whip for as long, accompanying the Group’s drivers to the Regional Summer Show and Indoor Event.
Grace Lloyd Jones is the new Regional Dressage Representative. She has been a volunteer at Leatherhead RDA Group, and works as a full time as a Senior Environmental Consultant.
Her equestrian experience includes being president, teams manager and team captain of National Riding Championship Team whilst at University; pony club manager at Pony Academy.
Grace Lloyd Jones, second from left, helping with a rider
In addition she has Bronze and Silver Young Equestrian Leaders Awards, which involved 60 hours of volunteering in Equestrian organisations building leadership skills.
Her other roles have included being a volunteer at Leatherhead Riding for the Disabled group, assisting with lessons and preparation, collecting donations and fundraising events, as well as a volunteer at Pony Club, assisting in organising and running competitions and Jump Judge role
Janice Massey from Happy Landings Driving Group has taken on the role of West Sussex County Chair from Janie Lawson. She has been with RDA for more than 20 years and a trustee and committee member for Happy Landings since 2007. She is a qualified RDA coach and a very active member of her group as she is also Safeguarding Officer, volunteer coordinator, first aider, and fundraiser.
Kent County Chairperson,Jenna Leight, has joined Fi Dent as a Regional Coach, and her successor is Carole Mounce of Cobbes Meadow.
Carole has been a volunteer for more than a decade and Group Coach since 2009. During this time, she has seen a number of riders through their ASDAN training, and has attended Kent County training in the RDAC Syllabus, Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Makaton training, Proficiency Grade testing 1 – 4, First Aid Courses and Safeguarding. She has also been a keen supporter of the Group at Regional events and has already visited some Groups in the area with Jenna.
In the South East, RDA has 35 groups across Surrey, Sussex and Kent with more than 2,000 riders of all ages. They come to enjoy the experience of riding, carriage driving, show jumping, dressage endurance and western style, with opportunities to learn a new skill, enter competitions or even take a holiday.
This can bring a new dimension to necessarily restricted lives, encourage independence and does much to improve a wide range of medical conditions. RDA has the commitment of more than 1,000 volunteers who regularly and cheerfully give up their free time.
Its instructors work closely with physiotherapists and other health professionals to encourage every individual to aim for attainable goals – some modest, others far more ambitious.