Well, what a year. Horsley, Bookham & Leatherhead RDA have had a jam packed and fun filled year!
But before we go into wrapping up 2022, the trustees want to extend our thanks and gratitude to each and every person who has supported us this year, and wish you all a very Merry Christmas.
2022 was a year of firsts, with many amazing moments. Here are some of the highlights:
Full term in facility
After ‘The Big Build’ we started the first RDA sessions in our new, indoor, all-weather arena in April 2022. For the summer term, our new riders, ponies & volunteers got to use our purpose built school with all the benefits it brings. During the autumn term the riders & volunteers alike have loved the undercover, fully lit facility, especially on those dark, wet & freezing cold evenings. Our amazing facility means we get to run sessions no matter what the weather, and all have great fun doing so.
On the 24th of September 2022, we hosted our official Grand Openingand were delighted to have the ribbon cut on our new arena by Sophie Christiansen CBE. Our open day was attended by over 60 supporters, riders, fundraisers, volunteers, and, of course, our ponies.
We welcomed Fox Grove School during Spring Term and they began riding with us on Mondays. Fox Grove is an all-through special free school in Leatherhead, Surrey. The other schools we support are Woodlands, Broadwater, Eastwick and St. Philips. All the kids have shown huge progress and are enjoying the regular benefits from riding sessions. We have also added to our individual rider groups so there are now 15 individual riders.
To cope with our growing number of riders, we have increased our herd to a total of 10. This year we welcomed the gorgeous Tom, Coco & Tilly. All have made a great start at RDA and are used regularly in our weekly sessions.
In December, after months and months of training, Hannah Hughes qualified as an RDA coach. She is absolutely fantastic, so it was no surprise to us that she’d qualify with flying colours. With an additional coach it means our usual full-time coaches, and fellow trustees (Barry & Sheri) get 2 days off, but also means we can look to run more sessions in the week.
New fundraising event
Finally, alongside the ever-popular Quiz Night & our second Barn Dance, in 2022 we hosted our first ever Easter Auction as well as our Equine Demo Series in November. Both were fantastic events and raised much needed funds, as well as engaging with new people to promote our amazing charity.
Looking into 2023
After such a fantastic and busy 2022, you’d think we’d relax and enjoy the moment, but no, we have big plans for 2023! Our wait list is far too long so we will be adding a few more sessions, for both children and adults. As such, we will be looking to grow our volunteer database and reach new people to get involved. We will also be training up new coaches so please let us know if you or someone you know would be interested in volunteering.
Furthermore, we have exciting plans to launch Tea with a Pony. This is an opportunity for adults and the elderly to spend time with our ponies for a non-ridden experience. The benefits are huge and works fantastically well with those who suffer from dementia, Alzheimer’s or anyone would just benefit to sit and be near our wonderful horses. Watch this space!
We plan to run more fundraising events too, so please keep in touch to find out about what’s on.
As ever, as we look to run more sessions, we are seeking more volunteers. For each rider we need 3 volunteers (lead & 2 side walkers) so you can see why new volunteers are always so important!
If you know of anyone who has some spare time once a week who wants to get involved, please do pass on our details. No prior experience is necessary, and training will be provided. It’s such a fantastic way to meet new people and get active, and now it’s all under cover so there’s no worries about those rainy days!
There are lots of resources, testimonials, and enquiry forms about becoming a volunteer here.
Finally, there are a number of ways you can support us:
- Sponsor a Pony for £15 each year and you will get a certificate, summer visit & Christmas card from your very own pony. These are great gifts and a fantastic way to support our ongoing costs. Take a look at our ponies here.
- Buying something on our Amazon wish listhttps://www.amazon.co.uk/hz/wishlist/ls/3IWF6IHGS5AIZ/ref=nav_wishlist_lists_1
- Select our charity as Facebook fundraisers for your next birthday or sponsored event. Just search ‘Horsley, Bookham and Leatherhead RDA’ in Facebook fundraisers.
- Please consider selecting us for your next fundraiser. Just get in contact or select us on Just Giving. https://www.justgiving.com/horsley-bookhamrda
- Sign up to Easy fundraising, Amazon Smile or The Giving Machine before you shop online and we will receive a percentage of your purchase at no cost to you.
- Keep an eye open in store Co-Op, Tesco and Waitrose have all championed our charity as part of their in store fund raising events.
- If you see an opportunity or have ideas for us to promote and/or fundraise please let us know.
And of course, direct donations where you can also complete the online Gift Aid form so we can claim an additional 25% on top of your donation.https://www.hblrda.co.uk/donate
From all the trustees.