End of season rider awards

Well done to all our riders for a great season of riding in 2017, and thank you to all our volunteers, ride organisers and instructors too.   We like to recognise the improvements from all our riders so everyone gets a medal at the last rides - and some get a special reward for being the most improved. 

Congratulations to everyone - pictured here are Chloe (who has progressed to leading her pony), William (most improved) and Sam from the children's ride at Forde Abbey - they seem happy!

Jason Inchley reports on his rides at the 2017 RDA Nationals in July

It was the first time I rode in the free style to music class. It was awesome to do. Unfortunately, Willow decided to have a stop for a poo, which left me behind my music and having to try and catch up. I came fourth, but I was very proud to complete it and get my first ever nine, which I was awarded for my first halt.

I rode my dressage championship test again this year and although I improved my score on the previous year, again we only managed to come fifth. It was a lot more competitive this year and I am proud of Willow and how she behaved; without her I would not be able to ride these tests at all. Next year I am aiming to do better and improve my riding more.

I would like to say a big thank you to Mum, Mark, Becky and especially Willow because without their continuous support I wouldn't be able to do what I love.

I would also like to say thank you to Chard & District RDA for their sponsorship this year, it has been a great help to me.

Would you like to work with our riders and horses?  We're actively looking for new volunteers to help at two of our rides.  You need to be over 14 years of age and able to get to Hillview Stables at Roundham, Crewkerne on alternate Tuesday evenings from 6 -7 pm.

Full training will be given before the rides start in April 2018. If you're over 18, you'll need to agree to a DBS check.

Working with our riders, horses and other volunteers is great fun and you'll enjoy being part of a great team!

If you're interested in finding out more, please email us. 

Jason Inchley's journey to the RDA Nationals 2016

After continuing to travel to Lakefield Equestrian Centre over the winter of 2015/16 to ride Willow and have coaching from Mark & Becky, I managed again in May to qualify at the Regionals for the NationalChampionships with an improved score on the previous year of 72+%.

At the National Championships in July, held at Hartpury, Gloucestershire, I am proud to say that I came 3rd in my section of the grade 1b dressage competition, riding the championship test, with another improved score on the previous year of 66+%, finishing two places better than the previous year. This year I am hoping to do better again.

I couldn’t do any of it without Willow the horse to help me through the test though!

The whole Championships experience is overwhelming, watching others riding their tests, or doing show jumping, seeing the horses, and meeting new people. It really is great.

I would like to say a big thank you to my mum Heaather, Mark Cunliffe, Becky and the whole North Cornwall team.Without their support Iwouldn’t be able to do what I love.

This year I am also going to do a free style to music test which is going to be a fantastic challenge because I have never done one before, so watch this space next year to find out how I get on!

26 April 2016:  It's Spring, and that means all our rides are starting up again.  We're all really looking forward to seeing everyone at Hillview, Drakes Farm and Forde Abbey, and getting to know some new riders and volunteers.  

15 October 2015 Thanks to the amazing generosity of the Kennard and Roper families at Forde Abbey, we were handed a huge cheque (literally!) as one of the two charities to benefit from the Forde Abbey Summer Fair.

We hope to put some of it towards a new horse or pony, as well as new equipment for our rides. Some of the money was also given to other local RDA groups, including the Forde Abbey Carriage Drivers.

A massive thank you to everyone that helped at the Fair, to all those who came along on the day and especially to everyone at Forde Abbey. We can't begin to tell you how grateful we all are.

15 October 2015 The Monday afternoon Drakes Farm Children's group received their proficiency badges from the County Chairman last month - well done all!

Photo by Hefina Washbourne

21 July 2015


Jason Inchley, 19, from Chard, Somerset, competed for the first time in the grade 1b dressage class at the Riding for the Disabled National Championships which took place last weekend (17-19 July 2015) at Hartpury College, Gloucestershire.

Jason, who has ridden at Drakes Farm, Ilton with the Chard and District Riding for the Disabled group since he was very young, scored 61.5% on Buster VIII, to finish 5th in his class.

Whilst at the National Championships, Jason also met and talked with Her Royal Highness Princess Anne, who attended the event in her capacity as President of the Riding for the Disabled Association.

Jason and Buster achieved the same score as they got when they qualified at the Regional level and with the added pressure of this being a National competition with much tougher judging, it is an excellent result.

Both Jason and Buster, who was lent to him by the North Cornwall RDA group, were understandably, slightly tense throughout the test but managed to complete all the necessary movements and keep good pace throughout.He was given some good constructive criticism by the judge which means that the partnership of Jason and Buster VIII have something to work on going forwards.

Jason described the whole experience as 'awesome' and said, “I am hoping that I will be able to qualify and better my placing next year.Mid-term, I’m hoping to move into para competition and my ultimate dream is to be able to ride for a GB team”.

13 July 2015

Jason Inchley, 19, from Chard, Somerset, is preparing to compete for the first time in the Dressage at the Riding for the Disabled National Championships at Hartpury College, Gloucestershire which takes place between 17th and 19th July.

He has been riding since he was seven years old despite the many challenges life has thrown at him including three major heart operations.He will compete in the Grade 1b Championship test at 11.40 am on Friday 17th July.

Jason rides regularly with the local Chard and District RDA group at Drakes Farm, although for the National Championships he will ride under the banner of North Cornwall RDA as his horse, Buster VIII, has been kindly lent to him by the Group who have also supported his training.

Marie Parker, Chair of Chard and District RDA, said:“We couldn’t be more proud of Jason’s achievement in qualifying for the Nationals.I am sure he will greatly inspire all our other riders as much as I suspect he may have been inspired himself by meeting equestrian Paralympic gold medalist, Deb Criddle, at our recent AGM.We all wish him and Buster VIII the best of luck on the day and look forward to celebrating with him back at Drakes Farm on his return.”

The RDA National Championships is RDA’s flagship event, bringing together hundreds of competitors of all abilities in events including Dressage, Countryside Challenge, Vaulting, Horse Care & Knowledge, Arts & Crafts, Best Turned Out and Musical Ride.

The Championships has grown year on year and is now bigger than the Paralympics and Para World Championships combined. In previous years it has proved a springboard for the Paralympics, with many of the current Team GB having competed at The Championships.

RDA National Championships:http://www.rda.org.uk/runningyourgroup/national-championships-2015/

Background on Dressage discipline:http://www.rda.org.uk/runningyourgroup/dressage/

@RDANational @ChardDistRDA #RDAchamps

24 March 2015

Para-equestrian dressage athlete, Deb Criddle MBE, winner of five gold medals and one silver in team, individual and freestyle dressage in just four Paralympics, gave a great talk at the recent Chard and District Riding for the Disabled Group AGM.

As well as offering some unique insights into what it was really like inside the athletes’ village at the London Paralympics, Deb, who lives in Taunton, also met two rising stars from the local RDA Group who are both aiming to emulate her achievements in time.

Jason Inchley (18) and Lauren Molloy (15), both from Chard, were thrilled to meet her and get the opportunity to get some good advice on developing their skills straight from the horse’s mouth.

Now a World, European and Paralympic medallist, and No. 2 on the FEI World Individual Para-Dressage Rankings, Deb’s first competitive dressage experience was in a Riding for the Disabled competition in 1987.