RDA to showcase ‘Tea with a Pony’ as part of Badminton Charity of the Year

Badminton Horse Trials, 4-8 May. Other highlights include Mechanical horse rides, treasure hunt and big prize raffle

As Badminton’s Charity of the Year, Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) will be demonstrating how their many activities are transforming the lives of thousands of people across the UK – including offering Tea With a Pony, part of the charity’s programme to support people living with Dementia. RDA will be seen and heard across the five days of the event and hope to engage with Badminton’s visitors to help them understand how horses can bring so many benefits to disabled people and how they can support the organisation to continue its life-changing work.

The RDA stand can be found at stand no. 86, Beaufort Way, near the score boards and will be manned by RDA volunteers who have first-hand experience in supporting or running RDA groups. The stand will be holding a raffle for a Cheval Liberté trailer as well as offering games and prizes as part of the event’s fund-raising activities. Younger will be sure to enjoy the RDA treasure hunt, finding ‘escaped ponies’ around the showground – and ending up meeting some real Shetlands.

The star attraction on the stand will be Charley, the mechanical horse. Charley is a great way to experience the movement and thrill of riding a horse in a safe environment, and for experienced riders there are opportunities to feel how more advanced dressage movements can be perfected.

This year, RDA have a nominated jump that will be easy to spot around the course. This is the RDA Fund Raiser fence and can be found near Huntsman’s Close.

Also at Huntsman’s Close, RDA volunteers will be hosting Tea with a Pony in a field shelter kindly donated by John Williams Ltd. Tea with a Pony is part of RDA’s support programme for those living with dementia and similar conditions, giving them the opportunity to revisit memories of earlier times spent with horses and to reawaken feelings of affection that they associate with horses from their past. The initiative has been a huge success and has brought much joy to all involved, from the participants, their families and carers, to the RDA group running the activity. One of RDA’s Shetland ponies will be at the stand along with a selection of cakes.

“We are so grateful to Badminton to have chosen us as this year’s Charity of the Year” says RDA Director of Communication & Insight, Caroline Ward. “The activities that we have planned over the course of the event will help spectators understand more about the work of the RDA, how they can get involved and importantly, how they can donate much needed funds. The changing landscape of disability in the UK means that RDA can play an increasingly important role as a key frontline service in communities all over the UK. We are looking forward to sharing this message with visitors to this year’s Badminton”.

Spectators will hear more about RDA throughout the event on the big screens in the main arena and in the catering village. Radio Badminton will be interviewing a representative from RDA each day and the Chatzone will be hosting live discussions covering topics such as how to become a volunteer, how riders have benefitted from the support and how RDA makes a difference to communities all over the UK.