SE Region RDA members excel in national qualifier

A record number of disabled horse riders and carriage drivers from the South East Region qualified for the Riding for the Disabled National Championships. A total of 27 competitors representing 12 different groups from across Surrey, Sussex and Kent took on more than 500 other competitors from around the UK – and nearly all (20) were placed in the top 10 of their class.

This is such a fantastic achievement” said Lindsay Correa, Chairman of the South East Region, “particularly as some competitors even had to borrow horses from other groups as last-minute problems meant they had no mount!”

Of particular note was Felicity Julian from Epsom RDA who rode Mini Milton to first place in her dressage class– an exceptional feat as her normal pony became unavailable – and Hannagh Mogan of Quest RDA, Chobham who rode Willow Fury’s Comet to second place in the Dressage Freestyle.

The Carriage Drivers also came back with a brace of second places, with Sandra Spinner, driving Rushmoor Jimmy of Cherry Park RDA, Chichester in the Novice to second place, and Amanda Hardy driving Daintree Princess from Happy Landings, Billingshurst to be runner-up in the Intermediate.

Sandra Spinner of Cherry Park makes a tight turn driving Rushmoor Jimmy in the cones with her RDA coach Gemma Casburn  Photo courtesy of www.jonathandavison.co.uk

The team of five young riders from East Park RDA all managed to get in the top six in their Countryside Challenge classes – Orla Wynne in third, Evie-Mae Dobbe fourth, Jasmine Musgrove  fifth, Zoe Beer and Darcy Brown sixth, while Sandhurst RDA won the Arts & Crafts sculptor class.

Amanda Hardy of Happy Landings RDA shares a joke with Trish Lebus                                         Photo:Joanna Sale

The three-day event Championship event is the biggest of its kind in the world and features dressage, carriage driving, showing, vaulting, showjumping and RDA’s own event, the Countryside Challenge. Highlights of this year’s event included the first endurance ride(where Joe Roud of Fairlight Hall RDA, Hastings was the first ever competitor), the introduction of Dressage Pairs and the first entry by an elephant (in the costume dressage freestyle to music!).

The Championships, which celebrates its 25th anniversary next year, began as a dressage competition and now boasts seven main disciplines as well as Arts & Crafts, Best Turned Out and Horsecare & Knowledge.

Championships Chairman Anne Coney said: “This year’s Championships attracted more visitors than ever to witness the fantastic achievements of over 500 riders.  Volunteers from all over the country make this event happen and it is a privilege for me to be the Chairman.  The hot weather did not deter the enthusiasm – and the big smiles from the competitors and their supporters.”

Twenty seven competitors representing 12 different groups from across Surrey, Sussex and Kent took on more than 500 other competitors from around the UK – and 20 of them were placed in the top 10 of their class.

“This is such a fantastic achievement” said Lindsay Correa, Chairman of the South East Region, “particularly as some competitors even had to borrow horses from other groups as last-minute problems meant they had no mount!”

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