Despite being sandwiched by rain-sodden days, the annual Riding for the Disabled Challenge Day saw glorious sun for young riders from across the South East. Riders representing RDA groups from Sussex, Kent and Surrey converged on East Grinstead’s Felbridge Show Ground on Tuesday to display their riding skills in a range of activities including the Countryside Challenge, which was a qualifying event for the RDA National Championships in Hartpury, Gloucestershire in July.
Most of the riders had come to go head-to-head in the Countryside Challenge, but there was also a dressage competition and the fabulous fancy dress which rounded off the day with a Movie theme. This was judged by Julia Hockin from RDA’s local sponsor, Cowan Architects, who selected Eastbourne RDA as the ultimate winners with their technicolour interpretation of the Bee Movie.
The Countryside Challenge follows a simulated course where the riders put their skills to the test by tackling obstacles and tasks they might find in the country. These include going through a gate, crossing a ‘road’, entering a farmyard, picking an apple from a tree and posting a letter. Although great fun, this also tests their steering, balance and confidence.
It was a clean sweep for East Park with Zoe Beer, Evie-Mae Doby, Darcey Brown and Orla Wynn all qualifying in the Junior Classes while Hastings’ Fairlight Hall took both spots in the Senior Class with Juliette Nunn and Christopher Bigaignon both qualifying having come first and second respectively Fairlight Hall had a number of other successes with Flinn Batehup winning his Junior class and Katie Hartley and Joe Roud both winning their Senior classes in the non-qualifying sections. Kitty Scarboro was also a winner in the Junior section of the dressage.
Bradbourne riders from Sevenoaks dominated in the dressage with Peter Broome and Eliza Dauz both winners of their classes. Woking’s Samber Group also had a good day with a win for Ben Tester in his Junior class and a second in the Fancy Dress with Toy Story.
Julia Hockin, a healthcare architect at Cowan Architects, presented the prizes and said “It’s always such a treat and an honour to participate in these inspiring events and meet such enthusiastic young people. The weather held for us and there were smiles all round”.
Lindsay Correa, Chair of RDA across the South East praised the volunteers and organisers who had had to cope with last minute changes due to the weather to make the day work. They are all an extraordinary team, and you only had to see the reactions from our riders to see that we absolutely achieved our aim of providing them and their families with a superb day” she said
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