will be holding its Annual General Meeting

on Thursday 4th April at 7pm in

Donyatt Village Hall, Donyatt, Ilminster TA19 0RG

Following the meeting, light refershments will be available.  We do hope all our supporters and volunteers will come along.

If you know of anyone who would like to join us and become a volunteer, please invite them so that they can meet others and hopefully decide to join us.


Glorious gardens in and around the beautiful village of Thorncombe near Chard in South West England will open on Sunday 24 June 2018 (2-5pm) to raise funds for the Riding for the Disabled Association (Charity no 244 108).

As well as admiring all the gardens in full bloom, there will be a chance to pet a pair of wonderful ponies, cream teas in the village hall kindly sponsored by Waitrose, amazing raffle prizes and a plant stall.Parking will be available at different locations.

Tickets are £5 and will be available from the Thorncombe Village Shop, Chard Street, Thorncombe TA20 4NF from Monday 18 June, or on the day from the Village Hall and the further gardens.

Riding for the Disabled helps children and adults with a variety of disabilities to enjoy being close to horses and ponies while improving their wellbeing.The money raised will be used to help with training costs for RDA instructors and volunteers across Somerset.

The event is being organised by Chard and District RDA Group volunteers who work with children and adults from Devon, Dorset and Somerset.

Unfortunately, there are no facilities for wheelchairs, and dogs are not allowed in the gardens.

Chard and District RDA group Annual General Meeting.
Monday 26 February 2018
7pm at Donyatt Village Hall, Donyatt, Ilminster TA19 0RG

Everyone is welcome, whether riders, families, carers, volunteers and anyone else who is interested in finding out more about what we do.

Refreshments will be available from 6.30pm, and we're delighted that Linda Sobey has agreed to be our guest speaker.  We look forward to seeing you there.

Bridge afternoon at Forde Abbey, November 2017

The Fundraising Committee finished 2017 with a hugely successful Bridge Afternoon at Forde Abbey, organised by Charlotte Bradley and Sally Cunliffe.

The players, who numbered 96 (24 tables of four), were vociferous in theirenjoyment of both the bridge (in Chicago format) and the lavish tea, prepared and served in a style worthy of The Ritz Hotel by members of the Fundraising Committee.

As well as the ticket money (£12.50 per head), the raffle proved a real money-spinner. It’s a great relief to know we have a healthy reserve chinking in the coffers.

We’re hoping Charlotte and Sally will be so inspired by the adulation that they will make this an annual autumn event.Many thanks also go to Alice Roper forallowing us to hold it in the Great Hall, which was in itself an attraction.

August 2017: Chard RDA and Forde Abbey Carriage Driving host National RDA Chair, Sam Orde, on her Big Ride

The two RDA groups hosted the Big Ride at Forde Abbey on 1 August.  Sam Orde, the Chairman of RDA National, had pledged to ride 5km in all 18 regions to raise money and awareness for the new Centre that RDA is developing in Warwick. It was felt that Forde Abbey would be a suitable setting for the South West region ride and so it proved.

Forde Abbey Carriage Driving Group started the day with a carriage drive of 5Km; a little damp at the start, but as the dayprogressed it brightened up. This was Sam’s first group carriage drive and on their return, all enjoyed a chat with Sam and a picnic lunch that was organised by the Chard and District fundraisingcommittee

After lunch, Charlotte had her young riders hacking around the field with Sam, after which they were all presented with special rosettes. To finish the event, Sam and Greta went off for a 5km hack on Greta’s horses to boost the total number of kilometres for the day.  The Big Ride finished having raised double the expected funds, a total of £40,000!

Picture shows L-R:  Averil, Sam Orde, Riders Chloe and William, and Instructor Helene Hewitt

Marmalade's happy retirement to Parks

Marmalade has been an RDA pony for eight years. During that time lots of riders have enjoyed riding him.

On 3 December 2016, Marmalade retired and went to live with the Duffs at Parks.

His new job is to be a companion to Tiger and Squirrel, who also live at Parks. Tiger hates being left on his own when Squirrel goes out but now he has a new friend to keep him company.

Last August, Marmalade invited the riders from the Monday ride to visit his new home. They learnt about what he likes to eat and how to groom and care for him from his hooves tohis ears.

Marmalade loves being brushed and taken for walks. He is so kind and gentle. We hope that we will have more Marmalade days in 2018.

The Annual General Meeting of Chard & District RDA will be held on Monday 20th February 2017 at 7pm in Donyatt Village Hall, TA19 0RG.Refreshments will be available from 6.30 pm.

After the meeting, Jeff Herrington, previously a mounted police officer, now a Field Officer for World Horse Welfare (formerly ILPH), will talk about his work.

He works tirelessly for the welfare of horses and has his hands full keeping awatchful eye on the horses and ponies of the South West.

Jeff works with the traveller community and the many ponies that inhabit Bodmin Moor, Dartmoor,Exmoor and the Quantocks, ensuring that they are all in the best of health.Jeff investigates complaints and works with owners to help resolve situations in a quiet but positive way.To find out more about the organisation, visit

Forde Abbey's annual Charity Summer Fair, Thursday 28th July 2016

The annual Forde Abbey Charity Summer Fair has chosen the Chard and District RDA group, Forde Abbey Carriage Driving RDA Group, and the Stella Hayward RDA Group (Beaminster) as well as the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution as it's charities this year. With over sixty shopping stalls, funfair attractions, a Farmers’ Market and new Food Court, live music, a dog show and dog scurry, classic cars & engines, an amazing display of falconry on horseback by Jonathon Marshall, fly-fishing tuition and model boats on the lakes as well as a horticultural area, and plentiful refreshments, there's something for everyone - with two legs or four! Find out more here and please come and see us on our Chard and District Riding for the Disabled stand.

Open Gardens in Thorncombe

Posted on Saturday, July 5. 2014

A chance to visit some gorgeous gardens in one of the friendliest villages in South West England. The gardens, and the village allotments, will be open between 2pm and 5pm on Sunday 20 July2014. Peonies and Ponies is raising funds for the Chard & District Riding for the Disabled group as well as for the Thorncombe swimming pool.

Come and enjoy a delicious cream tea, a slice of home made cake, or a glass of Pimms or refreshing local cider. Come and meet Norbert, one of our very special Riding for the Disabled ponies, who will be at the Village Hall too! If you’re inspired by the plants and flowers in our gardens, you can pick up some new ones to take home with you from the plant stalls. Don’t forget to drop into the Thorncombe village community shop on Chard Street. It will be open with a huge selection of locally sourced food and drinks as well as newspapers and magazines, gifts and other great products.

Saddlesore in Madagascar

Saturday, February 8. 2014.

Fantastic talk by Augusta Greenlees about her riding trek through Madagascar with our fund-raising lead, Charlotte Bradley, playing 'Tonto' to Augusta's 'Lone Ranger'! Very entertaining and of course, raised lots of money on the night. Thank you to both of you for taking on the challenge!