Riders from Erme Valley Riding for the Disabled have enjoyed successes at the charity’s annual flagship event.

The RDA National Championships are held at Hartpury College, Gloucestershire, and the three day competition is the biggest event of its kind worldwide. The Championships bring together hundreds of competitors of all abilities in events. These include Carriage Driving, Dressage, Showjumping, Vaulting - which can be defined as gymnastics on the back of a moving horse, Showing and Countryside Challenge - a fun course which aims to develop skills acquired during daily RDA sessions including steering, balance, coordination and confidence.

The Championships have grown year on year and the event is now bigger than the Paralympics and Para World Championships combined. In previous years it has proved a springboard for the Paralympics, with many of the current Team GB having competed at the championships.

This year, the Erme Valley group, based near Ugborough, took eleven riders and seven horses to compete in the championships following great success at regional qualifying competitions held in May.

Riders from Erme Valley took part in events across the board. Kirsty Mabin won her level two show-jumping competition whilst Jodie Lister achieved second place in the level four, and Imogen Darke qualified for the National Championships at Addington Manor following success in her RDA Search for a Star showing class. Nia Rundle, Henry Slade and Martin Stewart saw great successes in the Countryside Challenge with all three riders winning their section and Mikey Bygrave held his own in a strongly contested dressage class to achieve third place.

Riders from all over the country compete at the championships and come away with a sense of achievement, great confidence, new friends and not to mention the odd rosette. For the Erme Valley group, the event brings together riders, families, volunteers and friends in a welcoming, friendly and encouraging environment to celebrate the achievements of riders not only during the national championships, but throughout all of the year.

The riders would very much like to offer their thanks to managing director, Peggy Douglas for her endless hard work and dedication to the charity and the event, and for making all of their successes and achievements possible.

The group are always seeking new volunteers to help with daily riding sessions during term time, equine experience is much appreciated but by no means a necessity.

If you are interested in volunteering for Erme Valley Riding for the Disabled, Peggy can be contacted at: [email protected]