Christmas Tree Festival

Over the Christmas period, Kendal Parish Church hosted it’s 7th Charities’ Christmas Tree Festival. As ever, the church looked magical with it’s forest of lighted and decorated trees representing local charities and organisations. For the third year, we at RDA Westmorland Group had our own tree sporting horses decorated by our young riders. The film theme for our tree was: Spirit, Stallion of the Cimarron. The tree raised £116.67 for our Group. Our grateful thanks to the generous donors.

Westmorland Show

In September Westmorland RDA took a double stand in the Countryside marquee at the Westmorland Agricultural Show. As ever, this splendid annual event drew many spectators. Several local schools took their pupils along.

Annette had devised plenty of interactive activities for our stand, which were very much appreciated, particularly by the children. Many thanks to our teams of volunteers who took it in turns to man the stand and increase public awareness of our activities.

Pictured are an early team of helpers and pupils from Old Hutton Primary School at our stand.

Pastures new

Westmorland RDA driving group is on the move again. Over the past 20 years the driving group has been based at four very different venues, so far depending on where the driving pony has been stabled comprising: two charities offering outdoor activities to disabled guests, a DIY livery yard and, most recently, a riding school-cum-sheep farm. From next year it will be driving on the Westmorland Agricultural Society Showfield, which has the huge advantage of a network of permanent hard tracks, which should cut down on cancellation of drives due to waterlogged ground, a not infrequent problem when driving on grazing land in the Lake District. This will be the third venue shared with sheep, who are always very interested in our cones, and lambs with no traffic sense at all. Fortunately the pony, Monty, is well used to them and the helpers are very good at shepherding.

The venue is not, initially, able to offer any storage for carriage, cones, hats etc, so the group will be rising to the challenge of getting not only the pony but all the kit there every week. The helpers might also find themselves riding bikes to keep up with Monty trotting briskly along the tracks over quite a large area.

The group is really looking forward to working with the WAS and to the opportunities offered by the new venue.

Jenny Harris
RDA CD Coach and CD Assessor
CD Rep North Region

Children’s 40th Anniversary celebrations

Our young riders marked the 40th anniversary of Westmorland Group RDA at the end of our last Summer ride. After horseback games and competitions, they received presents and balloons. Good fun was had by all.

Westmorland Group 40th Anniversary

On 1 July 2018 the Westmorland Group volunteers celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Group. Our party was held in beautiful gardens with stunning views, and we were blessed with glorious sunshine. Cathy, our elegant Chair, gave us a potted history of the Group from it’s origins. Volunteers brought yummy cheeses and cakes and, of course, there were lashings of strawberries and cream.

Calvert Trust

Calvert Trust Workshop

On 22 June 2018, the impressive Calvert Trust equine facility hosted a training session for the RDA Northern Region entitled ‘Coaching – What, How and Why’. Henri Carew, RDA County Chair, and Careth de Gruyther, RDA County Coach presented the session. Coaches and volunteers from groups across the Region were present with (l to r) Jenny Harris, Hazel Turner, Carolyn Holden and Annette Pouslom representing Westmorland Group. Carolyn writes:

RDA provides training for those volunteers interested in progressing their learning or simply to add confidence to what may come naturally. This support, in turn, will help the RDA groups to provide the best assistance to its riders.

I had the opportunity to join one of these workshops/ training sessions with the very knowledgeable Jenny Harris, Annette Poulson and Hazel Turner so the drive up to Keswick to the wonderful venue at the Calvert Trust was an education in itself.

How useful to mix with like-minded people and to see the wonderful work being done in Keswick. Practical demonstrations reinforced the learning and made the whole a most enjoyable outing. The look around the facilities was also interesting. All thought-provoking and useful knowledge in the fields of leading and coaching rising trot, as well as fun games.

The views from the venue on a beautiful blue sky day ensured that the whole occasion will sit happily in the mind, as well as the learning!

Carolyn Holden


A weally, weally good night!

RDA benefits from Wocket Woy and the Pwoducer with North West Equine Vets

On a cold night in Cumbria, the team at North West Equine Vets held an evening of fun and frivolity to raise money for Riding for the Disabled with a packed house of supporters. The night raised over £3,000 and was supported by local organisations and sponsored by Chanelle Vet UK. The evening’s highlight featured Wocket Woy and the Pwoducer, AKA horse racing jump jockey and Chanelle representative Mattie Batchelor and fellow jump jockey Marc Goldstein. They had a lively rapport with the audience, showing some of the sketches that have made them so popular with the public. The evening featured a race night, with generously donated items in a raffle alongside food and merriment.

North West Equine Vets’ Practice Director, Jane King, said ‘We were delighted to host an evening with Wocket Woy and The Pwoducer. It provided the perfect opportunity to raise funds for our local Riding for the Disabled branches and is an evening which will never be forgotten.’ Gareth Carr, Commercial Manager, Chanelle Vet UK, added ‘This was a great opportunity for us to add our support to a practice helping their local community, and we understand the key role a practice can play. We are pleased the evening was a resounding success and helped to raise money for a worthy cause.’

The money raised was divided between RDA Westmorland Group and RDA Furness Group. We are very grateful to North West Equine Vets and Chanelle Vet UK for their enterprise and generousity.

ASDA Green tokens

ASDA Green Tokens

ASDA, Kendal, held a Green Token scheme where customers used the tokens to register support for local charities and organisations. Our young rider, Ella, and her mum, Claire, nominated Westmorland RDA as candidate for the scheme. In April 2018, we were presented with a cheque for £200.00. Our thanks to Ella, Claire and ASDA, Kendal.

Pictured are: Ella holding the cheque; l to r: Ian Reid; Cathy Broomfield, our Chair, Ben Welcher, ASDA General Store Manager; Claire Dixon, Ella’s Mum and Rachel Maplethorpe.

Careth demonstrating tacking up

Careth demonstrating tacking up

Training at Holmescales

On Monday, 12 March 2018, the riding group had an in-house training session at Holmescales Riding Centre. Henri Carew, RDA County Chair, and Careth de Gruyther, RDA County Coach, led the training. We recapped on the green card, demonstrating tacking up the ponies, leading and sidewalking. All of this is very necessary to keep us helpers up to date and refresh our memories. These training sessions are always good as it gives us a chance to ask questions about anything we are unsure of.

Thanks to all those who could come along, and to Henri and Careth for their time and making this an interesting and valuable training session.

Annette Poulsom