Warwick Rotarians get a tour of the facilities at Riding for the Disabled's centre in Warwickshire
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RDA UK’s head office and training centre is based at Lowlands Farm in Shrewley, a site formerly owned by Ro Pudden MBE who established the original Lowlands Equestrian riding stables and has been involved with RDA since the 1970’s.
Ro was trainer for the first paralympic dressage team to compete in Atlanta in 1996.
RDA moved to Lowlands in 2019 shortly before the pandemic hit, occupying a new purpose built building, as well as the stables, indoor arena and outside training area.
The new centre was officially opened by Her Royal Highness Princess Anne.
It welcomes coaches and volunteers from across the organisation and the yard is also home to three local RDA groups who use the horses and equestrian facilities on a regular basis.
RDA staff provide support and services to groups, including specialist coach training, charity governance advice, disability advice and training, as well as competitions.
The RDA has recently held its National Championship at Hartpury College near Gloucester which welcomed nearly 200 horses, 360 participants and over 800 entries in a range of disciplines from dressage to show jumping, vaulting and carriage riding.
Warwick Rotary recently made a donation of £1,000 to the RDA from a legacy left them by the estate of founder member Paul Reynolds, who used to farm locally, and his wife Janet who was a volunteer at Lowlands RDA.
Members of the club also helped RDA install a mechanical horse called Charley around 10 years ago, which enables new riders to be assessed and overcome their fears before getting into the saddle.
During the visit, Lisa Davies, head of communications at the RDA site, who was conducting the tour, told Rotarians that all the RDA groups had been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, with volunteer and participant numbers reduced.
For more information, including about volunteering or donating with the RDA charity go to: www.rda.org.uk