Disabled riders shine at national championships winning eight rosettes

Disabled riders from Cambridgeshire competed

Disabled riders from Cambridgeshire competed in the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) national championships earlier this month, winning eight rosettes. - Credit: Louise Clark Photography

Five disabled riders from Cambridgeshire competed at the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) national championships earlier this month.

The riders from the Cambridgeshire College RDA travelled to Hartpury University and college in Gloucestershire to take part in several disciplines including vaulting, showjumping, dressage and countryside challenge. 

They came away with eight rosettes in total.

The journey to the championships was supported by a travel grant made possible thanks to the players of People’s Postcode Lottery. 

Lizzie Bennett, who coached and competed with the Cambridgeshire College RDA vaulting team, said: “The RDA national championships has been deeply missed by all of us. 

“We looked forward to some of our pre-Covid traditions such as trying to watch a bit of every single RDA discipline and making new friends from all over the country deciding which horse we’d most like to take home with us.” 

The Cambridgeshire College RDA vaulting team came first this year in the vaulting barrel team class. 

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Lizzie said that for participants, the opportunity to compete at Hartpury is “simply amazing” and that since she joined the RDA and attended her first nationals in 2015, this one has been her favourite weekend. 

Disabled riders from Cambridgeshire competed in the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA)

Disabled riders from Cambridgeshire competed in the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) national championships earlier this month, winning eight rosettes. - Credit: Louise Clarke Photography

“This event is special. It’s more than a competition, it’s a festival,” she said. 

“It’s joyous and heart-warming and fun; encouraging, motivating, inclusive, celebratory and inspiring.” 

This year Lizzie won first place in her dressage class and first in individual vaulting canter and vaulting Paris with teammate Eden Hayes. 

She added: “Help to attend this event isn’t just about helping participants to ride somewhere different and hopefully win a rosette, it’s about enabling them, their coaches and their families to be part of something which really can’t be put into words. 

“We’re thankful that our grant has enabled us to feel this RDA magic working again; roll on Hartpury 2023!” 

Group chair Gillian Newsum said: “We’re delighted to have been able to take our fantastic riders to Hartpury this year thanks to the players of the People’s Postcode Lottery. 

“We were ecstatic when we heard we were being rewarded with this fantastic grant which allowed us to travel our pony, riders and volunteers down to Gloucestershire.”