Who We Are

In July 1985, Gaile Ogden and Anne Coney visited a Riding for Disabled national holiday in Saffron Waldron.  This holiday was run from a farm house, the outbuildings being used as dining halls and accommodation. Independently, both friends decided that Anne’s home at Bank Farm would be an ideal venue.

So, in July 1986 the first holiday for 8 disabled children was held at Bank Farm.  Financial support was given by the Lions Clubs in the area and on the last night they were invited to come and see how their money had been spent.  That night, a well respected physiotherapist for disabled children in the area asked ‘ why don’t you run lessons here for independent disabled children, I can supply them!’.   The team that had got together for the camp agreed to give this a go and Bank Farm RDA started with one rider and one pony on September 6th 1986.

To date our group has run 18 National RDA holidays and 14 National carriage driving holidays.

As time went on, we started to collect more and more riders.  We used Anne’s children’s ponies, and bought or had on loan others.

Nearly 35 years later, we have 7 ponies and 36 children taking part in our weekly sessions and have built a thriving and happy community.

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What We Do

We run two sessions on Mondays for two local schools, and we run four sessions on Saturdays, which individuals can apply to join.

We are grateful to have over 40 volunteers, 20 of whom are under 18 years old and most are working towards their Duke of Edinburgh or YELA awards. We also have 5 coaches and first aid trained volunteers.

In every session and time spent with our disabled children, we strive to make their lives just that little bit more exciting and confident, giving them the opportunity for this through interaction with our ponies and our volunteers.

We are also thrilled to now be offering hippotherapy! Find out more here - https://chilternhippotherapy.co.uk/

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Who We've Helped

We believe the work we have done over the past 35 years has truly enriched the lives of the children we try to help. But, don't take our word for it! Hear it from our previous and current riders.

 

Our daughter has been riding with Bank Farm for many years now and from that very first day she has been treated with a truly inspiring degree of love and kindness. Every ride has three people supporting her to make sure that she is both safe and enjoying herself. The reward is her huge grin and happy noises. She loves coming to riding which helps both her mental and physical wellbeing, and we love how delighted and excited she is to be with the horses and learning new skills.

Bank Farm Riding has transformed my son. He is so happy on the pony now.

Meet our ponies

Storm
Storm

Storm is a grey, 13hh2 connemara pony. He came to us from Ireland in 2009 when he was just 4 years old. He went to another RDA group a few years, until coming back home in 2017. Everyone loves Storm. He wins over everyone he looks at. He is a little cheeky and loves to nibble the helper's jackets when they're not looking! Leon is a completely blind child who rides Storm. Like all our ponies, Storm is gentle and allows Leon to stroke him and to touch his face so he can feel what he looks like

Dirty Storm
Dirty Storm

Storm was never meant to be a grey pony...if there is mud about, rest assured he will have rolled in it!

Storm & Friends
Storm & Friends

Storm giving one of our goats a ride!

Storm
Storm

Storm is a grey, 13hh2 connemara pony. He came to us from Ireland in 2009 when he was just 4 years old. He went to another RDA group a few years, until coming back home in 2017. Everyone loves Storm. He wins over everyone he looks at. He is a little cheeky and loves to nibble the helper's jackets when they're not looking! Leon is a completely blind child who rides Storm. Like all our ponies, Storm is gentle and allows Leon to stroke him and to touch his face so he can feel what he looks like

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Storm

For information, please click the photo above.

Fudge
Fudge

Fudge is our 12hh2, blue dun pony and has been with us for 7 years. He's an old boy, coming up to his 30s. Being older, he loves small outings and lots of fuss being made about him. One of his riders, Louis, absolutely loves him and only stops smiling when he's concentrating on steering Fudge in and out of cones.

Cosy and Spoilt
Cosy and Spoilt

Fudge loving having cuddles and being spoiled by his wonderful loaners

Fudge snuggled up in his rug
Fudge snuggled up in his rug

Cosy boy enjoying some hay and attention!

Fudge
Fudge

Fudge is our 12hh2, blue dun pony and has been with us for 7 years. He's an old boy, coming up to his 30s. Being older, he loves small outings and lots of fuss being made about him. One of his riders, Louis, absolutely loves him and only stops smiling when he's concentrating on steering Fudge in and out of cones.

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Fudge

For information, please click the photo above.

Bella
Bella

Bella is a 13hh2 piebald who came over from Ireland along with Storm and Titi. She is very safe off the leading rein and has given so many young people the confidence to ride independently. Bella has had a few issues with lameness over the years and it usually flares up each summer, so they are often vet bills we must cover to keep her happy and well. Sarah loves Bella and for the last 6 months has come up before the sessions to groom and tack up Bella for the sessions.

Bella out and about
Bella out and about

Bella photographed here during one of our Saturday sessions, when we mixed it up for the children and swapped the school for the woods!

Enjoying the spring grass
Enjoying the spring grass

Bella
Bella

Bella is a 13hh2 piebald who came over from Ireland along with Storm and Titi. She is very safe off the leading rein and has given so many young people the confidence to ride independently. Bella has had a few issues with lameness over the years and it usually flares up each summer, so they are often vet bills we must cover to keep her happy and well. Sarah loves Bella and for the last 6 months has come up before the sessions to groom and tack up Bella for the sessions.

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Bella

For information, please click the photo above.

Lucky
Lucky

Lucky is our 13hh2, black fell pony. Summer 2019, she suffered from uveitis which resulted in her left eye having to be removed, but she has taken it in her stride. This ordeal to get her better was a huge expense to the group, and there is still a chance she could get it in the other eye. Lucky’s biggest fan is Grace, who's been coming up before the sessions for a while and although she is in a wheelchair, Lucky's great temperament means she can lead her out to the field after sessions.

One-eyed Girl
One-eyed Girl

Our beautiful one-eyed girl, showing off her 'good' side

Waiting patiently for cuddles
Waiting patiently for cuddles

Lucky
Lucky

Lucky is our 13hh2, black fell pony. Summer 2019, she suffered from uveitis which resulted in her left eye having to be removed, but she has taken it in her stride. This ordeal to get her better was a huge expense to the group, and there is still a chance she could get it in the other eye. Lucky’s biggest fan is Grace, who's been coming up before the sessions for a while and although she is in a wheelchair, Lucky's great temperament means she can lead her out to the field after sessions.

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Lucky

For information, please click the photo above.

Titi
Titi

Titi is our skewbald, 13hh2, also coming over from Ireland! He's a big, fluffy teddy bear who loves giving cuddles. Titi is a little cheeky and always wants to get where he's not meant to be, so he contributes to us mending a lot of our fences! Amy has ridden him for many years and his name is one of the only words she speaks. He is kind and gentle, although not the fastest mover, he gives confidence to all his riders.

Titi posing with the mayor
Titi posing with the mayor

Titi and Bella at our Monday session, starstruck from a visit from the mayor!

The revenge against fencing saga
The revenge against fencing saga

Titi looking on proudly at his latest achievement

Titi
Titi

Titi is our skewbald, 13hh2, also coming over from Ireland! He's a big, fluffy teddy bear who loves giving cuddles. Titi is a little cheeky and always wants to get where he's not meant to be, so he contributes to us mending a lot of our fences! Amy has ridden him for many years and his name is one of the only words she speaks. He is kind and gentle, although not the fastest mover, he gives confidence to all his riders.

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Titi

For information, please click the photo above.

Domino
Domino

Domino is our piebald 14hh cob. She is kindly on loan to us from a local riding school. She is a great and essential part of our pony team, as she is the largest of our ponies, which enables us to widen the amount of children we can help. She is kind and gentle and trots happily on the lead rein and one of our children - Kyle - has improved greatly in confidence and can now do a very good rising trot.

Lazy Sunday
Lazy Sunday

Domino having some relaxing time in the sun

Domino
Domino

Domino is our piebald 14hh cob. She is kindly on loan to us from a local riding school. She is a great and essential part of our pony team, as she is the largest of our ponies, which enables us to widen the amount of children we can help. She is kind and gentle and trots happily on the lead rein and one of our children - Kyle - has improved greatly in confidence and can now do a very good rising trot.

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Domino

For information, please click the photo above.

Rosie
Rosie

Rosie is our 13hh1, strawberry roan from the New Forest. She is a wonderful and fiery character, what we would call 'a typical mare'. She likes to put on a grumpy face! She was a successful show jumper, but is now living in retirement helping our young riders from Henry Allen Nursery to enjoy playing games, including Grandmother’s footsteps, which she invariably wins, still a little competitive!

A trip out on the lorry
A trip out on the lorry

Little girl very unimpressed by the cold and wet snow! Winter is definitely not her favourite season.

Rosie
Rosie

Rosie is our 13hh1, strawberry roan from the New Forest. She is a wonderful and fiery character, what we would call 'a typical mare'. She likes to put on a grumpy face! She was a successful show jumper, but is now living in retirement helping our young riders from Henry Allen Nursery to enjoy playing games, including Grandmother’s footsteps, which she invariably wins, still a little competitive!

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Rosie

For information, please click the photo above.