Young disabled riders from the Hastings and Rother area were among those taking part in Riding for the Disabled’s Regional Challenge Day event earlier this month.
They brought home a horde of winning rosettes from a record entry, with many Sussex qualifiers for the RDA National Championships in Hartpury, Gloucestershire in July.
Riders from Fairlight Hall were joined by other Sussex riders from Plumpton and Newchapel.
Although the day also offered a dressage competition, a Handy Pony, gymkhana games and a fabulous fancy dress, most of the riders had come to go head-to-head in the Countryside Challenge which enjoyed the most entries ever.
The Countryside Challenge follows a simulated course where the riders put their skills to the test by tackling obstacles and tasks they might find in the country. These include going through a gate, crossing a ‘road’, entering a farmyard, picking an apple from a tree and posting a letter. Although great fun, this also tests the steering, balance and confidence of the riders.
Fairlight Hall Riding for the Disabled excelled in the senior section with Christopher Bigaignon snatching first for a second year running, and Christopher Tite qualifying in 2nd place.
Fairlight Hall also did well in the Independent Class, winning both Junior and Senior qualifying slots with Rosie Turner and Joe Roud respectively. Zoe House, of Fairlight Hall, also qualified in the Seniors.
Liz Rubin, an interior architect at Cowan Architects, presented the prizes and said: “It was such a treat and an honour to participate in this inspiring event and meet such enthusiastic young people. The weather was pretty good, despite a few showers and there were smiles all round”.
Lindsay Correa, Chairman of Riding for the Disabled across the South East, praised the volunteers and organisers who had to cope with the large number of entries and collate the results in super rapid time.
“They are all an extraordinary team, and you only had to see the reactions from our riders to see that we absolutely achieved our aim of providing them and their families with a superb day” she said.