South Downs Riding for the Disabled Group has to relocate

South Downs Riding for the Disabled Group has had to relocate due to redevelopment.

South Downs RDA rider Amanda Worne from Yapton getting to know her new pony, Beau
South Downs RDA rider Amanda Worne from Yapton getting to know her new pony, Beau

The group, which was founded in Upper Beeding in 1977, was sad to have had to leave Bridge House Equestrian Centre in Slinfold but it is pleased with its new home is at Horsham and Mid Sussex Equestrian Academy (HMSEA) in Albourne, near Burgess Hill, where three sessions are run on Wednesday mornings.

Jayne Simpson, public relations officer, said: “The group enjoyed five successful and happy years at Bridge House, during which time the owners, Liz and Chris McIlwraith, and the wonderful liveries who so kindly loaned their ponies to the group, were always incredibly supportive.

“However, HMSEA have extended a very warm welcome to the group and their riders and after the upheaval of the move, all are settling nicely into their new surroundings.

Fiona Wright receives the President's Award from the Princess Royal

“They are now on their summer break but are all looking forward to getting back in the saddle on September 12 and are eager to encourage new volunteers and local organisations and companies to get involved.”

The group will have a stand at the Albourne Village Show on Saturday, 12pm to 4.30pm, and would be delighted to chat with anyone interested in the work of the group.

Treasurer Fiona Wright, who lives in Steyning, received the highest volunteer award in her field from the Princess Royal in 2015. She was presented with the RDA’s President’s Award for service of an exceptional nature over more than 30 years.

The group celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2017 and one of the highlights of the year was the selection of one of its riders, Amanda Worne from Yapton, to feature in the BBC television programme DIY SOS.

Amanda suffered an horrific cycling accident in August 2015 on Bury Hill and was left paralysed from the waist down, but has refused to let it get her down and has been an inspiration to many.

For more information about the group, visit or telephone Carolyn Heitman on 01403 711867.