Willowsway introductions

On Monday, 9 May, our young riders were introduced to their new ponies at Willowsway.

Goodbye to Holmescales, hello to Willowsway



Westmorland RDA had been riding at Holmescales Riding Centre since 1983, but on Monday, 6 December2021 we held our last ride there and bid a fond farewell. The owners had decided to change the venue to livery only. We thanked them for being such generous hosts over the years and presented them with a hamper to show our appreciation.
On Monday, 25 April 2022, we held our first volunteer training session at our new home, Willowsway Riding School, Stud and Rehabilitation Centre at Stainton near Kendal and were able to meet three of our new ponies: KitKat, Blue and little Bruno. We are looking forward to welcoming our young riders in the near future.
We were also able to be presented with the RDA Northern Region Challenge Trophy, which had been presented virtually at our AGM in November 2021 (see below).


Our wonderful ‘Seahorses’ took part in the 35th Kendal Rotary Club Swimathon at Kendal Leisure Centre on Saturday, 2 April 2022. Karen, our Westmorland Group Treasurer and her swim friends completed an amazing 251 lengths of the pool between the four of them. That’s 6275 metres/4miles in just 55 minutes!

Many congratulations and thanks to Karen, Vanessa, Jeanne and Sheila who by 8 April had raised an impressive £503, and counting, for Westmorland RDA.

Trophy for RDA Westmorland Group

At our AGM in November 2021, Westmorland Group was surprised and delighted to be presented (virtually) with the RDA Northern Region Challenge Trophy. Ann Harrison, RDA Northern Region County Chair writes:

"I nominated Westmorland Group for the award in recognition of the extra lengths you all went to during the Covid lockdowns to keep in touch with your volunteers and riders with your competitions, quizzes and zoom meetings. You all went the extra mile to keep your contacts, stop the isolation from RDA and keep the RDA spirit alive and well in the most difficult of circumstances. It has been a difficult time for all of us, personally, professionally and as volunteers, so for your Group to step up and keep your RDA ‘family’ connected throughout was a really special commitment and was truly heartwarming. Regional committee agreed that the award was very well deserved, and congratulate you again for your achievements."

Last ride

On Monday, 6 December, we held the last ride of the year at Holmescales. After games and races the children were presented with their Endeavour Awards and given Christmas presents. There were smiling faces all round.

Christmas Tree Festival

We were delighted when the charity Christmas Tree Festival in Kendal Parish Church resumed in December 2021, having taken a year off in 2020 because of covid restrictions. Our Westmorland Group Riding for the Disabled Christmas tree sported decorations hand-made by our young riders and volunteer helpers. The Festival was well attended throughout the month and £133.39 was raised for the Group in donations from generous visitors.

Volunteer awards

At the close of our RDA Westmorland Group AGM in November 2021, our President, Annette Poulsom, presented long service service awards:

5 years: Liz Dew, Angie Forden and Carolyn Holden

10 Years: Mary Myers

15 years: Nicola Evans, Jenny Johns and Rachel Jackson

Our congratulations and thanks to them all for their valuable contribution.

First ride

After weeks of planning, a session of riding volunteer training and a ‘dry run’ to finalise covid safety procedures, it was a delight to welcome some of our young riders back to Holmescales on Monday, 20 September. In spite of a few initial nerves the children rode with confidence, as though there had not been an unfortunate19 month gap! Riders and volunteers alike were all smiles. We’re all looking forward to the next session.

Royal visitor to the Westmorland Show

Well, what a wonderful two days at the Westmorland County Show this year. The sun shone, friends and well-wishers visited our stand, our own Jenny Harris was interviewed live for BBC Radio Cumbria and we were honoured with a visit by the President of Riding for the Disabled, HRH Princess Anne.

Setting up for the Show

Preparing our Westmorland RDA stand for the Westmorland County Show on a hot and sunny afternoon.

Westmorland Group RDA Lottery

We are very excited to announce that Westmorland RDA now has its own charity lottery, powered by One Lottery. This is a weekly draw where there is a chance to win a top prize of £25,000 – our first draw will be held on Saturday 11th September 2021

Tickets are just £1, and 50p of every ticket purchased is received by the Group to help fund our riding and driving activities. Hopefully, this will help us as a Group to have a small, but regular, income.

You can sign up for the weekly draw by following this link –

Support Westmorland RDA when you shop:

  • Easy Fundraising – Simply go to and register, choosing
    Westmorland RDA as your charity, and then shop as normal. There are over 4700 retailers
    who will donate to us each time you shop with them.
  • Amazon Smile – Shop for all your usual Amazon items, and Amazon will donate 0.5%
    to our group. Go to select ‘Riding For The Disabled Association
    Westmorland Group Limited’ as your chosen charity.

Join our new charity lottery!

  • Tickets only cost £1 per week and you can win prizes of up to £25,000!
  • We get 50% of all our ticket sales
  • It only takes a minute to join – either go to and search for RDA
    Westmorland, or call 01865 678679 to register.

Support doesn’t just have to be financial – you can support us by following our Facebook page
to see what’s going on. Just search for @WestmorlandRDA.

Coast to Coast Walk

In June this year Liz Rothera undertook the challenge of the coast-to-coast walk to raise funds for the North Region of RDA and met up with members of local groups on her way.

Liz chose to walk for RDA because her stepmum Pauline Harrison (Joint Chair for RDA North Region) has talked to her family about her work for many years. She said that doing the walk felt like a wonderful opportunity to support her stepmum whilst challenging herself and giving herself time to think about the future (following a big birthday!).

Liz said “The walk is like a pilgrimage for me. I like the traditional idea of picking up a pebble at St Bees (the start) and throwing it into the sea at Robin Hood’s Bay (the finish).”

On the day when Liz was walking to Orton from her overnight stop in Shap, she was met by members of the Westmorland Group who accompanied her on the bridleway route across the moor above Oddendale.

The photographs show Liz with Jenny, Rebecca and Faith accompanied by ponies Monty and Jack (and hardy bike!).

Liz is hoping to raise £4,000 through her Just Giving page which remains open until the end of July 2021, ie this weekend!.

Christmas quiz

With many of the usual events we enjoy attending unavailable this year, the group decided to hold a Christmas Quiz to raise funds. Several of our group members and helpers distributed the quiz sheets, as well as local shops helping to sell them, and we raised a brilliant £262.05!

One very clever entrant won the 1st prize, a luxury hamper with items donated by our kind sponsors, getting all 50 questions correct! He was closely followed by a local family who got an equally impressive 49/50 correct answers, winning a £10 Gift Voucher for Wynnstay Country Store.

Thank you to all who took part and to our kind sponsors, Asda, Morrison’s, Booths, George Romneys, Lakeland Artisan, Wynnstay, and MTP Media.

Josie Sanderson

Our Ponies

Volunteer service awards

A presentation of volunteer awards was made at our virtual AGM on 21 October 2020. The service certificates were posted to the recipients:

1 year: Clare Cookson, Sarah Hacker, Liz Johnson, Rosie Jones, Chloe Marshall, Adele Rice, Valerie Noon, Barbara Maudsley

5 years: Maarit Hill, Ann Bryan, Lisa Sixsmith, Josie Sanderson

15 years: Carole Spry, Jean Dickie

30 years: Barbara Shooter. A framed certificate was later presented to Barbara in person.

Many congratulations and thanks to all of them.

Carolyn’s competitions

At the height of the covid 19 lockdown, Carolyn Holden, our inspired Group Organiser, arranged a series of competitions and quizzes to keep us entertained and occupied.

Her first was the photographic and drawing competition and a new challenge was given to us every two weeks or so. Judging was carried out on-line by committee members and virtual rosettes awarded to the winners and runners-up in each category. Those who achieved first place received a red rosette.

1st place winners in the Photographic and Drawing competition:

Colour me a rainbow: ‘Firebird’ by Sophia Van Alphen

Favourite pet or toy: ‘Alfie enjoying a story’ by Liz Addy

Favourite things to do: ‘Chatting with my friend’ by Liz Addy

Beautiful flowers: ‘My garden’ by Jan Mitchell

Best Day at the Seaside: ‘You can’t beat a donkey ride’ by Liz Addy

People or Places I have known: ‘Hartpury’ by Cathy Broomfield

From this select group the overall winner was unanimously judged to be Sophia van Alphen, our young rider, with her remarkable ‘Firebird’ drawing.


Two quizzes added variety to the competitions and centred on questions relating to:

Equine knowledge, including tools and equipment, or even identifying our RDA ponies from photos of their noses!

RDA knowledge, a bit more insider knowhow to be gleaned from the National Office web site

Local interest, including identifying places from photographs and the meaning of dialect words

General knowledge, covering all manner of snippets from around the world!

Monty, our carriage driving pony enjoying his Summer holiday

First ride, new saddles

On Monday, 16 March 2020, We held our first afternoon ride of the year at Holmescales Riding Centre. Due to increasing concerns about coronavirus there were fewer riders than normal and non at all from Sandgate School. However, the children who did arrive enjoyed themselves and were the first to try out our new saddles.

These saddles were sourced by Carole, who also organised the fitting for each individual pony They should be more comfortable than our old saddles for pony and rider. We hope it will not be too long before we are able to use them again.

The team is pictured after the swim holding copies of our newly published Review


‘The Seahorses’ swam again this year at the Rotary Club Annual Swimathon held in the Kendal Leisure Centre on 14 th March 2020. Swimmers were Karen Barnes and her friend Vanessa, driver Lauren Mackereth and her friend Martyn, and me. Angie Fordham was planning to swim but was unfortunately unwell so had to miss out, but still managed to raise donations for the group! Well done Angie.

Big thanks to Karen who was awarded the prize for the highest sponsorship total recorded on the night, at nearly £200 raised, and was awarded a one-month swim & gym voucher.

Altogether the team swam 87 lengths of the pool in the 55 minutes allowed. With some additional donations which we have each collected after the event, the full total is now £750.

Josie Sanderson

Kendal Unitarian Reform Church coffee morning

On a sunny Saturday morning in February, the Kendal Unitarian Reform Church generously held a coffee morning in support of RDA Westmorland Group at the Abbot Hall Social Centre. The atmosphere was friendly and relaxed as people enjoyed their tea, coffee, biscuits and a good chat. There was also an array of delicious-looking homemade cakes for sale, courtesy of the hard-working bakers in the Church. I can vouch personally for the large fruit scones – mmm!

The coffee morning raised £200, for which Westmorland RDA is very grateful. Thank you so much to everybody involved with the event and thank you, too, for thinking of us.

Hazel Turner

Christmas tree festival

December saw the annual Charity Christmas Tree Festival at Kendal Parish Church which the group took part in – the theme this year was ‘Favourite Book’. The riders from Homescales and drivers from Bleasdale School drew and coloured decorations for the RDA tree, representing their own favourite books. We had books about tigers, penguins, dinosaurs, and Frozen, among many more – David Walliams was also a popular choice! The tree looked lovely, covered in the colourful decorations along with the many glittery horse decorations the group have previously made. Visitors to the Christmas Tree Festival donated to their favourite trees, and we were very pleased to receive £107.40 in donations.

Josie Sanderson

Last ride

On 2 December 2019 we held our last ride of the year. Afterwards our young riders received photographs of themselves with their RDA 50th anniversary gold rosettes. There were sweets for all donated by children and parents, and tea and cake for our volunteers.

Westmorland Show

In September 2019, our group enjoyed a successful day at the Westmorland County Show. For the past couple of years the RDA stall has been situated in the Countryside Tent, and we returned again this year to share information with the public about our activities. Despite the wet weather (and the mud!!!) the stall had lots of visitors who came to see the photos on display of the riders, drivers and ponies in action, and to talk to our helpers.

Several groups of school children and some game adults enjoyed guessing the names of the different horsey items we brought along (brushes, bits and feeds) and having a go at holding the reins of our trusted demonstration horse ‘Woody’. There were lots of enquiries from interested people, and we hope that we may see some of them coming along to join us as helpers in the future.
Josie Sanderson

Visitors to our Driving Group

On the 1st August 2019 a delegation of Royal Arch Freemasons from Flowerden Chapter in the Province of Cumberland & Westmorland met members of the Westmorland Riding for the Disabled Carriage Driving Group at the Westmorland Agricultural Society Showfield, Crooklands.
Earlier this year a cheque for £500 was awarded to the RDA Westmorland Group by Flowerden Chapter and the meeting was the first opportunity for the two Groups to meet and gain an understanding about each other’s charitable works. The visitors very much enjoyed their visit and the opportunity to see at first-hand the benefits of such donations and the excellent results achieved for its recipients and beneficiaries.
Following the visit Brian Ferrington, South Westmorland Group Communication’s Officer and member of Flowerden Chapter said “It was wonderful to watch the joy and excitement on the driver’s faces as they were being put through their paces under the watchful eye and guidance of the RDA carriage driving instructor Jenny Harris.”
Brian also submitted a report to the Westmorland Gazette and on the online news website, Cumbria Crack for publication.
Shirley Martin

Summer Riding Awards

On 1 July 2019 we held our final Summer ride at Holmescales. After games of musical buckets followed by races, our young riders were presented with their awards and prizes. Our lovely Lucy is leaving us because she starts a new school in September. She received a special gold rosette, which marks 50 years of RDA. We will miss her and wish her well. At the end of the last ride we enjoyed delicious cake and biscuits made by some of the children. Lucy’s coffee cake was a great success.

National Training Centre Opening

In 2017 Sam Orde, then RDA National Chairman, undertook a fundraising ‘Big Ride’ challenge, completing rides or carriage drives throughout the UK with other RDA members and supporters. We were fortunate to host a ride and drive in Westmorland and were inspired by Sam’s aim to fundraise for the new National Training Project to create a facility to train and inspire RDA for the future! We felt it was important to show our support for this project and a donation from the Westmorland Group was pledged.
Fast forward to June 2019. Jan and Annette and I attended the official opening of the RDA National Training Centre at Lowlands Equestrian Centre in Warwickshire, in the presence of HRH The Princess Royal, to represent the Westmorland Group.
The Training Centre will provide a first class riding facility, with future plans for Carriage Driving. It will also develop training programmes for Coaches and Volunteers. The main building incorporates training and conference facilities – in particular the ‘Westmorland Room’, named in recognition of our donation. This is where the three of us stood to be presented to HRH The Princess Royal! It was one of my proudest moments as a member of the Westmorland Group. We provided an image to connect the room with our Group. What better than that of Nicola’s Fell Ponies grazing on the Helm. We are incredibly grateful to Nicola’s friend, photographer Emma Campbell, for providing the perfect image.
This new facility will enable the next generation of Riders, Drivers, Coaches and Volunteers to be inspired by the opportunities for RDA long into the future.
Cathy Broomfield, Chair

Cathy, Jan and Annette with our picture

HRH The Princess Royal in the arena

The Westmorland Room