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RDA Celebrates 50 Years at National Championships

Posted on Wednesday, June 12, 2019 by Sasha Melia

The celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of RDA are set to be in full swing throughout the RDA National Championships which take place at Hartpury College in Gloucester on July 12 -14.

RDA’s flagship annual event brings together hundreds of competitors of all abilities in events including carriage driving, Countryside Challenge, dressage, show-jumping, vaulting and showing.

Marking its own 25th anniversary in 2019, the Championships have grown bigger than the Paralympics and Para World Championships combined.

Riders from all over the country compete, having qualified at regional competitions and leave not just with the odd rosette, but with a sense of achievement and a few new friends.

The opening day will feature a special anniversary parade to recognise all the activities that RDA has developed over the past 50 years, focusing on everything from holidays and education to the achievements of its participants and the importance of its volunteers.

A number of RDA’s 50 Faces will be participating in the action at the Championships. Here, Anne Brown tells us her own inspiring story and about what it is like to compete in the amazing atmosphere at Hartpury.

“I was always animal-mad as a child but only started riding when my own children were small. Luckily they were as horse-mad as me but I gave up when I was diagnosed with MS in 2003.

Six years later in 2009, I started riding with RDA as a challenge to test my boundaries as there were so many things I could no longer do.

I have still yet to find the boundaries with riding. I might not be able to walk to the end of my street but I can get on a horse and ride a couple of miles over ground that my mobility scooter would never be able to manage.

As well as participating as a rider, I volunteer and I am a Regional Participants Representative. Most people have heard of me as I am known as the old woman that got the RDA slogan, ‘It’s what you can do that counts’, tattooed on my bottom as a crazy fundraising idea!

RDA is now close to the heart of my whole family as my daughter is a volunteer trainee assistant coach and my granddaughter, who has autism, participates as a rider and in vaulting.

2019 will be the fourth time that I have competed at the National Championships at Hartpury.

I will be competing on the final day of the event in the Grade Three Championship Test and also the Grade Three Freestyle Dressage to Music riding Basil, a wonderful 15h Connemara cross, owned by the amazing Evelyn Lapsley.

Evelyn very kindly lets me ride Basil and even drives the lorry and acts as groom!

The championships are one of the most amazing things I have been to. The atmosphere is great and disability is so commonplace there that everyone just ignores it and speaks to the person behind it.

We are all there with a common purpose, to compete against ourselves and to revel in the love of horses and the freedom they can give us.

If someone does well, there is fantastic support and congratulations all round because we all know how good it makes the person feel and how good it is for your self-esteem.

In this world of disability we are faced with many ‘can’t do’s’ and getting good marks or good comments is a ‘can do’ which is good for everyone!”

You can read Anne’s story, and meet the other 49 Faces of RDA at



Posted on Wednesday, June 12, 2019 by Sasha Melia

This week will see the dawn of a new era for Bolesworth Estate in Cheshire as The Barbour family launch its much anticipated rebrand and vision to the public during The Equerry Bolesworth International Horse Show.


Their flagship event, The Equerry Bolesworth International Horse Show, is being held at Bolesworth Estate from 12th-16th June and will serve as the perfect platform from which to launch this exciting new phase for Bolesworth Estate.


Set in over 6,500 acres of Cheshire’s countryside the much-loved view of the Grade II listed Bolesworth Castle has been an admired and familiar sight in Cheshire for nearly 200 years, but this unique location is about so much more than equestrian sport and rolling hills. The Barbour family have steered this historical Estate and enterprise into the future through their investment in the place and the business. They have recently been praised by the House of Lords’ Select Committee on the Rural Economy and held up as a shining example of diversification of a rural enterprise.


Following a 12-month strategic process, with the help of The Juniper Company, Bolesworth have created a powerful new vision for the next 5 years:


‘To be brave, be different, be passionate;

In delivering world class events, creating amazing spaces and building an environment for success.’


The Estate has over 150 commercial tenants who between them employ well over 1,100 people. Highlights of the portfolio that Bolesworth has been instrumental in developing include the Chowley Oak Business Park, Gifford Lea – a luxury retirement village and even a 300-berth marina, all of which have been part of an ongoing policy of investment and expansion at Bolesworth.  The Estate is also home to well-known tenant, the Ice Cream Farm, a visitor attraction that holds the Guinness World Record as the largest ice cream parlour, employing over 70 people and supplying 1,000 pubs, restaurants and retail units with ice cream throughout the UK. It is listed as one of the ten most visited free to enter sites in England with visitor numbers of approx. 800,000 per year.


Jonathan Fell, the Ice Cream Farm, said:


“My family have worked closely with Bolesworth for the past few decades – their innovative and supportive approach has played a key part in helping us develop and achieve our vision here at the Ice Cream Farm.”


This new era will put Bolesworth on the map as an inspirational place, and stunning film location with the historic castle and its ancient subterranean cellars, hidden caves and panoramic views, as well as a leading business with a huge variety of development opportunities, commercial and residential space.  This unique and accessible venue is fast becoming a favourite for discerning promoters hosting large scale events including the hugely popular ‘Car Fest North’ organised by Virgin Radio DJ Chris Evans for more than 80,000 festival goers, as well as private parties and media launches on a grand scale.


Chris Hughes, Car Fest, said:


“Beautiful Bolesworth is the perfect fit for CarFest North – a world-class venue run by a top team – that’s why we keep coming back.”


With an agenda lead by an all-female dynamic trio of the Barbour family – Anthony’s eldest daughter Nina, her mother Diana and younger sister Cleo – the family are committed to continuing the Bolesworth legacy and to drive their ambitious vision forward whilst preserving the heritage of this incredibly special location.


Nina Barbour, Director of Bolesworth commented:


“My father set the bar high, changing Bolesworth through diversification from a dairy farming estate to the prospering commercial entity that is it today. We are dedicated to driving the business forward, developing our opportunities, and improving the relationships between our customers and local stakeholders. The rebrand process we have been through over the last 6 months has enabled us to change the culture throughout our organisation, and we are very excited about the next chapter.’


The freshly released gives an overview of the vast opportunities that the Bolesworth Estate has to offer and there is still opportunity to attend the Equerry Bolesworth International Horse Show where key contacts will be available to give further background to the all the possibilities; tickets can be booked via

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