RDA Chairman gets hacking for a great cause

RDA Chairman, Sam Orde, has set off on a hacking fundraising mission to raise £20,000 for the RDA’s new National Training Centre in Warwickshire – a new facility for the training of volunteers and coaches from around the UK.

Sam with young rider Louis on Mifty

Sam with young rider Louis on Mifty

‘Sam’s Big Ride’, which will see her complete 18 rides or carriage drives through the summer, travelling an average of 15km for each ride. Along the way She’ll be joined by RDA members and supporters.

The first RDA Big Ride kicked off in glorious spring sunshine on Lord and Lady de Ramsay’s estate near Huntingdon, more famous for hosting the Secret Garden Music Festival. Five disabled riders along with five supporting riders and RDA Chairman Sam Orde mounted up, most of them on trusty RDA ponies and set off into the countryside.

rda chairman sam orde

For some this was their first ride of this kind. Young rider Louis who is waiting for a liver transplant had spent a frustrating two hours that morning failing to catch his pony. Luckily he was able to borrow a brilliant grey pony Mifty. As he had only ridden this pony once before in an RDA session, Louis planned to do two miles and was delighted to complete six! When asked ‘What do you like to do when you are not riding? Louis answered ‘riding’.

Para dressage rider Olivia was also on a borrowed horse as she continues to crowd fund for a new advance medium dressage horse (www.gofundme.com/oliviacornickdressage to see how much riding means to Olivia after major brain surgery and subsequent challenges). Two rides rode using one hand: Para dressage rider Eleanor and para vaulter Lizzie. Lizzie put 100% effort into completing the six miles and had to wait a while for energy to come back into her legs at the end. Claire Cooper a rider with Downs Syndrome took up the challenge to complete two miles and got a good cheer on doing so.

There was a great support team and one volunteer walked and ran the whole way to help riders achieve their challenge safely. The ride was organised by Woodhurst RDA Group who raised funds for their group with 100s of able bodied riders setting of before the Big Ride. Many of the Big Ride team came from Cambridgeshire College RDA Group along with others from across the East Region. RDA volunteers put in a lot of work to organise it beautifully.

"It is brilliant to have the first Big Ride successfully completed," said Sam. "All who took part had wonderful rides in glorious sunshine. The RDA riders achieved something new while helping fundraise for the RDA National Training Centre. I am really excited about the next 17 rides happening across the UK’

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