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Jubilee Carriage Drive in aid of Riding for the Disabled

News Published 16/06/2022 , words

The Grange Hampshire provides stunning backdrop for Jubilee Charity Carriage Drive

On Sunday 12th June, The Grange Hampshire welcomed more than 20 horse-drawn carriages, for a charity fundraiser to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in aid of Riding for the Disabled.

Organised by the Hampshire British Driving Society and drivers took in some of the most scenic landscape on The Grange estate for a five mile drive, before returning to The Grange lawns where they were presented with a horse brass and rosette.  Many members of the public picnicked on the lawns and enjoyed the driving display and Lord and Lady Ashburton judged the turn-outs on the day. Lady Ashburton was thrilled to be given a ride in Roger Page’s two horse carriage and posed for photos in front of the Grange, as her predecessor had done 100 years earlier.

Carriage Driving has been an important part of Riding for the Disabled Association since 1975 and all proceeds were donated to the Broadlands Riding for the Disabled group, which is based in Medstead near Alton, and is one of the oldest Riding for the Disabled (RDA) groups.

During the last 66 years the charity has helped over 4,000 adults and children coping with a wide range of disabilities to participate in riding, develop friendships, expand their learning skills and grow in confidence as individuals. The group is currently supported by 70+ volunteers including riding Instructors, Duke of Edinburgh Award students, parents and therapists.

Sam Searle, Area Commissioner for the Hampshire British Driving Society, who organised the event of behalf of Broadlands said:

“We are a charity, and we can only carry out our life-changing activities thanks to the generosity of our donors, the dedication of our volunteers and the good nature of our fantastic horses.

Regular riding improves core strength, balance and coordination and our welcoming groups help to combat isolation and loneliness and boost wellbeing and happiness.”

Lord and Lady Ashburton said:

“We were delighted to host such a wonderful event with the Hampshire British Driving Society to support Broadlands Riding for the Disabled group.  We were very impressed by everyone who took part, which made picking a winner extremely difficult – because everyone looked splendid. In the end we awarded the best turned-out to Stuart, Ronagh Older and family with their horse Leonardo, and gave a bottle of The Grange Hampshire Sparkling wine to two runners up : Sami Illston and her pony Hugo, and Jessica, Chris and Matilda Gerrard Angus and their pony Tinkerbelle.”

“In 1974, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, who had taken up carriage-driving after he had to give up polo, introduced carriage driving as an activity within the RDA in 1975. So, in this Jubilee year, we were delighted to be able to celebrate his impact on the RDA and to welcome members of the pubic to enjoy this marvellous display on the estate.”

Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) is an inclusive and diverse organisation. They welcome individuals with physical and learning disabilities and autism, and there are no age restrictions. Through their network of member groups, RDA is at work in every corner of the UK, in our cities and remote rural areas, bringing the therapy, achievement and fun of horses to as many people as they can.

Many of their participants say that RDA activity is their main way of accessing physical exercise, and they have a positive, long-term impact on confidence levels, relationship building, communication skills, enjoyment and physical ability.

Broadlands RDA was established in 1955 by the Stratford family.

​Since 1974, Suzanne Stratford has been managing this life changing provision with a group of dedicated staff and volunteers, providing over 2,500 rides annually.

​Donations can be made online at Broadlands Group Riding for the Disabled Association – Donate now (cafonline.org)

Photographs curtesy of Sharon T Photography