We are one of 536 RDA groups in the UK committed to improving the participation of disabled riders in equestrianism.
Where it all began
In 1975 the Kesson family offered the use of their facilities and ponies at Dale School of Equitation to help disabled riders become more involved with the equestrian sport. A group of six riders from Marshlands school participated in the first ever Stafford RDA ride, one of these riders still rides with us today! Dale School of Equitation offered superb support to Stafford RDA; with vast improvement of facilities including the building on an indoor school, participation increased from just six to thirty riders per week!
The competitive edge
From the early 1980’s Stafford RDA has supported riders by regularly attending regional and national RDA competitions including dressage and handy pony competitions. These competitions are a change of scenery for our riders and bring together volunteers and riders from a variety of RDA groups allowing all to share experiences and knowledge; riders are rewarded with rosettes and the events are thoroughly enjoyed by all.
Not only has Stafford RDA provided riders with leisure time in the saddle but we have also organised holidays for our riders. From camping in the orchard at Bradely to visiting other RDA centres throughout Shropshire and Wales, the riders of Stafford RDA have thoroughly enjoyed their time away allowing them to engage more in horse husbandry as well as riding.
In 2000, three Stafford RDA members received long service awards from HRH Princess Anne at the RDA National Conference and AGM; Heather Kesson (Dale School of Equitation Owner), Joy McCosh (Stafford RDA President) and Patricia Houghton (Stafford RDA Vic President). Many of our volunteers stay with us for a long time so expect this list to grow!
Sadly Heather Kesson passed away in 2003 and the Dale School of Equitation closed down; luckily the group relocated its operation to Ingestre and Dunston Heath Stables allowing riders to meet new horses and continue with their love of horse riding. These two centres offer Stafford RDA and our riders a variety of horses to suit all requirements.
Since our foundation, we have supported over 450 adults and children in their exploration of all things equestrian from riding to fun days and holidays. Stafford RDA runs thanks to the ongoing support of a large group of volunteers; we would love you to get involved.