News 2016

Here is our News from 2016




Some very sad news........


It is with great sadness that we have to inform you, that Mary Stratford has passed away. Mary brought a wealth of experience to Wilton RDA, which she used to help our riders and volunteers alike. During the course of the many years she was with us, she was a stalwart of the Friday Volunteer Team bring much joy and happiness to everyone she came across. Mary also gave much time and effort as a Trustee of the Group.


Mary will be greatly missed by us all and our thoughts and prayers are with her family at this sad time.




This years Nativity was a great success. If you would like to see some of the enchanting photos, then please click on the Gallery section of this website.

The event got everyone in the mood for Christmas and a big 'Thank You' to everyone who took part and helped out, particularly the children who looked wonderful.

The Raffle and Tombola raised £267 - well done everyone!


Christmas Tree Festival

We looked forward eagerly to the St Thomas's Church Christmas Tree Festival, which this year ran from 29th November - 4th  December. For most probably the past eight years, Wilton RDA has been represented by a tree produced and decorated by volunteer Di Emsley. This year's was an enchanting tree inspired by the poem/carol written by Frances Chesterton which begins:


How far is it to Bethlehem?
Not very far.
Shall we find the stable-room
                                 Lit by a star?

                                 Can we see the little Child?
                                 Is He within?
                                 If we lift the wooden latch,
                                 May we go in?


Di, with enthusiastic help from her little assistant Eliza, produced a Nativity scene with small figures and animals, some of them handmade. Viewers were challenged to find the mouse and the baby Jesus. The former, no doubt protected by seasonal feelings of peace and goodwill, was eventually located cheek by jowl with the cat! Our thanks to Di and her various helpers over the years for producing the lovely trees in our name.



Wilton Carol Service

11am Wednesday 14th December


See you there!

Carol Service Invitation
New file download

Carol Singing at Wilton Shopping Centre


An intrepid band of volunteers gathered at Wilton Shopping centre to sing carols as the Christmas lights were being switched on.  Supported by musicians from White Horse Morris and two of our supporters, Gary and Sue Nunn they managed to collect over £130, including a generous donation from the shopping village.  They even got to keep the hats!

Change of Treasurer



Jan Goddard has recently handed over as Treasurer to Tricia Drew.  Jan has done an incredible job keeping on top of the group finances but her main challenge was converting Wilton RDA to a Limited Company.  This took many hours of work and a huge amount of correspondence with, amongst others, HMRC, Banks and the Charity Commission.  A challenge indeed,  but one she managed to rise to.  A huge thanks to her from us all for everything she has done, she leaves Wilton RDA on a sound footing for  the future years.  


Tricia will be known to many of you as a volunteer.  What you may not know is that she has been running  the RDA payroll for some time so is a ‘perfect fit’ to take over the role as treasurer.   Welcome to her in her new role!


The Beard Has Gone!


On Friday 11 November the deed was done and Stuart's beard was removed.  It was a tense moment as Stuart was held down in a chair whilst Alice, Lisa and Nina set to with the horse clippers.  The picture left shows the beard nearly gone.   It has to be said that at times Stuart looked terrified but we are glad to report that he still has his nose and ears in tact despite some shaking hands no blood was spilled.


Stuart was pleased with his new look.  "I really am a good looking chap - nearly as handsome as Gentleman Jim!".  For those of you who know our lovely horse, Gentleman Jim, I think it would be fair to say that Stuart has a long way to go match Jim's dark good looks,  his handsome, majestic face and huge brown eyes and wonderful long black eyelashes but they do both have large feet so there is, at least, one thing they have in commmon.


On a serious note, the shearing of the beard has already raised over £135.50 and we would like to thank everyone who has supported this fundraising event and a huge thank you to Stuart for being such a good sport.



Stuart’s Shearing in Aid of Wilton RDA


About 8 months ago, Stuart Fitzpatrick, who has been a volunteer here at Wilton RDA for nearly two years, decided to grow a beard.  It seemed a good idea at the time but now he is fed up with it.  Stuart then had the idea of having it shaved off in aid of Wilton RDA.  The beard has to go” he said “It is hiding my good looks!” 


The day of judgement will be Friday 11 November .  Anyone sponsoring  Stuart will have their name put into a hat and whoever is pulled out will have the opportunity to shave his beard off if they wish to do so.  “I would quite like to have a Mexican Tash if they are able to do it” said Stuart.  There are certainly people at the Centre who are handy with horse clippers but who lack barber skills so this could be interesting.


“The best thing about volunteering here is the environment and being able to put something back in to the community.  It is not just one-way.  The rewards are amazing – seeing a huge smile on the face of a child or feeling a special bond with a horse” Stuart said.

Stuart, who knew nothing about horses before he came to Wilton RDA, says two of his favourites are Mr Blue and Luka.  They have great personalities and have some traits not unlike my own” said Stuart.“  We refrained from asking which ones.


If you would like to sponsor “Stuart’s Shearing”,  please donate here or sign up in the Pembroke Centre  

Silent/ Quiet Rides


Wilton RDA were represented by Ali and Claire at the  recent  2 day national coaching conference at Ettington, Warwickshire.


Claire had been selected as a presenter and gave a talk on the quiet sensory ride we have developed at Wilton. This silent/ quiet ride has been a very powerful tool to calm down excited riders, engage all the helpers and give feedback on the smallest of changes within the rider as they relax.   The talk was very well received with lots of questions being asked about it and positive feedback from groups that have already tried it after the article appeared in the RDA news Magazine.


If anyone would like to know more about this lesson or the Coaching Conference then please speak to Claire.

Tracker coming to Wilton RDA


Tracker is a way to measure change delivered through RDA activities. Change is measured in six different areas: communication, physical changes, relationships, horsemanship, confidence and enjoyment.  It is a really good way of plotting the progress of our riders


 It consists of a Tracker Pad, with a sheet for each rider which is used to record rider assessments and a simple IT programme created to input the results of the assessments.


All groups applying for RDA grants will be expected to be actively using the Tracker. Schools can use the Tracker evidence to justify the need for equestrian activities within school hours and results can also be presented to Ofsted.  


Sally N  has already been trained on the system and how to enter information into it – she also has some pads of the tracker forms if you would like to see one. It will be rolled out gradually over the coming months and full training will be given to volunteers before this is put into use. Claire Hacker has more information if you have any questions or you can go to the RDA central website here.

Wilton Co-op Support RDA


The Co-op have launched a membership card scheme which will benefit Wilton RDA directly.


Shoppers are asked to become a member of the Co-op by paying £1 and in return they get a loyalty card. Every time the member purchases a Co-op branded product, they will receive 5% back and 1% will be given to a local charity. The Wilton Co-op have agreed to have Wilton RDA as one of their two recipients for this money.


So if you or your friends or family shop there please consider getting theCo-op loyalty card and help support Wilton RDA.


                                                                              More details of the scheme can be found here.


Interserve team Visit


The team that did such fantastic work over the Summer came back to visit RDA last Saturday.  An extract from their email is worth reproducing here:


"Thank you for the great reception the Interserve team, who completed the community days in the summer, were given last Saturday. All who attended were truly impressed on what you and the team do at the Wilton RDA centre. Watching the commitment from the team of volunteers was humbling, the effort and kindness, the general level of inclusivity where nothing is too much trouble was evident throughout by all who are involved, very inspiring.


We as group were so pleased to have been able to assist in some very small way to make the environment at the centre easier for disabled riders and the volunteers. Would you please thank all the volunteers who prepared the fantastic lunch and took the time to explain to everyone who attended what is done and who are involved at the RDA centre Wilton. All the families that attended                                                                                       enjoyed watching the organised rides and petting the horses."


Thank you to all of them for everything they did!


Horse Update


There have been some new arrivals on the horse front recently  so we thought it was worth an update.


Leo arrived last term, kindly loaned by Gemma Hughes. He settled in immediately, and has become the  "star" by qualifying for the RDA Championships at Hartpury, where he was ridden by Ben Wildigg and they won their dressage class.


There are  two new arrivals this term, both are on a month's trial for possible loan to the centre. Noah is a big bay horse, and Bertie a tiny skewbald Shetland. Both will be taken slowly and given time to settle in.


Skye has been retired from RDA and riding. She has gone as a  companion horse to Noah's owners, to keep their retired mare     company.


Sadly we had to say goodbye to Harry over the summer, and he will be sorely missed



Paul Timmins, Karen Manning and Bob Watton

Figheldean Working Men's Club and Shrewton Silver Band



RDA was lucky to be nominated as Figheldean Working Men's Club and Shrewton Silver Band charity for this year who raised over £500 for us.  The auction evening was arranged by Paul Timmins and items were donated by Amesbury shops. Entertainment was provided by the Shrewton Silver Band who by all accounts was excellent!

Clarendon Walk raises over £7000  £8000!

On Saturday Alex Hill, Alex Thomas Trish MacLeod and Stephanie Bailye walked 26 miles from Winchester Cathedral to Salisbury Cathedral, along the Clarendon Way to raise money Wilton RDA.


They set off at 7.30am from Winchester in the pouring rain which persisted until the final few miles. It took 10 hours to complete this gruelling walk across beautiful Hampshire and Wiltshire countryside, crossing the river Test and stunning scenery. Friends and family were waiting at Salisbury Cathedral to welcome them back.

They would like to thank everyone who supported them during the walk and who sponsored them – they raised staggering sum of just over £7,000 for the charity. 


 The Just Giving page is still open for the next few days if you were waiting to see if they could do it before                                                                             donating!

Training Day and a Birthday!


Our training day on Wednesday was really well attended and there was a great buzzy atmosphere.  Everyone was really impressed with the changes to the buildings that have been made over the summer and are looking forward to riding starting next week


There was a lot of interest in attending an RDA National training day at Wilton on 18 Oct.  It will cover fundraising in the morning and PR, Communications and marketing in the afternoon   - click on the calendar entry for detailed  timings


We even had the chance to celebrate Claire’s birthday – Many Happy Returns!


Poppy, Millie, Rosie Isobel Beales, Isabel Bayford




Congratulations to four girls from Thursday's 12 oclock class; Isabel Bayford, Isobel Beales, Millie Corson and Rosie Spittle who have passed their Grade 3 Horsecare. They were all under eleven and worked hard, with help from their instructors who managed to find time to show them the finer points of tacking up, grooming, hoof picking and leading the horse. A visit to the feed room gave them an insight into the variety of diets required by their mounts.

A fun quiz book with puzzles and questions that covered many of the important facts was produced and this gave an opportunity for their family to contribute by helping them with revision at home.





Millie and Rosie also passed their Grade 3 Riding and have taken part in Dressage Competitions. The youngest member of the group Poppy, who is 8, has made great progress with dressage and will be starting her Grade 3 course in September.


Well done to all of them and to all those who helped them!


Pam Cousins

Johnathan’s House



When you come to Wilton RDA you cannot fail to notice the very smart new two storey barn built in the yard which is already proving to be incredibly useful.  This was made possible by a very generous bequest by Johnathan du Lieu.



Johnathan  first started riding with Wilton RDA when he was at the John McNeil centre aged nearly 3. He then carried on with Exeter House on and off with his then 1:1 TA Petra Raybould. He enjoyed his time riding for as long as he was able. Firstly he had side walkers and then a back rider with the support of a Lycra effect boned suit called a Second Skin. He also was able to lay on the horse on a rug.  Although he only rode for a very short time the therapeutic effect it had on him was very beneficial and was noted by everyone who knew him.   He is remembered with  great affection by many at Wilton RDA.


He stayed at Exeter House until he reached the age of 19 and then moved on to Refocus Day Centre.  He was there until he passed away at the age of 23 on 12th April  2015




Wilton RDA at the Nationals


Sam Dutnall's email really sums up what a great day it was:



Binky had a wonderful time at the Nationals today, he scrubbed up very well and loved the attention and pampering! :-) He loaded and travelled really calmly and was so well behaved all day bless him, an absolute pleasure. Such a genuine fella!

Victoria had a good ride, got a little distracted when Binky decided to relieve himself in the middle of her test (poop!) but overall she was very happy and came a respectable 10th out of 17 with a score of 66.38%.

Jo Pay was amazing and had thought of everything. Hamish was brilliant with Victoria, Alice was as fantastic as ever, warming Binky up, relaxing Victoria, instilling her with confidence and warming them both up before hand. Alice also did so much to prep and care for Binky before and after, she is so knowledgeable and caring. It was a long day for a 5 min test (we were all there from 8:30am-7:30pm) but we all agreed it was so worth it!!!

We all had such a wonderful day and I was so happy to be part of it, thank you for suggesting I go Claire.



Do visit us on facepage see more  pictures. Thank you to everyone who was involved in making this such a great success and such fun!


Mid West Area Dressage Competition  - congratulations to our riders


Victoria Cheshire - 1st Dressage

Ben Willdigg - 1st Dressage, 5th Counryside Challenge

Hannah Matthews -4th Dressage, 4th Countryside Challenge


Thank you to everyone who helped on the day - we could not do it without you



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