Gold medal-winning Paralympic riders Sophie Christiansen and Natasha Baker (pictured left) were among the stars out for the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) annual awards earlier this week.

Natasha Baker 2014 RDA Gala Awards bThe awards, held in London on Tuesday (30 September), raised more than £25,000 for the charity. They were presented by Clare Balding.

The most improved participant award went to six-year-old Gabriela Machado-Hayden.

“The brave six-year-old was referred to RDA in November 2013 in the hope that her profoundly hypermobile joints and lack of muscle stamina might be improved through hippotherapy,” said an RDA spokesman.

“The story of Gabi’s gradual development over the past year, from apprehension and instability to improved core strength and confidence moved everyone present, earning her the biggest applause of the night when she took to the stage.”

Clare Balding“Our gala awards evening is a time for us to recognise and celebrate success — in all its forms — throughout the organisation,” said RDA chief executive Ed Bracher.

“The progress made by riders such as Gabriela is a reminder of the power of horses to change lives for the better.

“We are hugely grateful for the support of our celebrity guests — particularly Clare Balding — as well as our sponsors, without whom the event simply couldn’t happen.

“The fantastic total raised on the night will help to ensure that even more riders like Gabriela can benefit from RDA’s activities.”

Others winners on the night included:

The Unicorn RDA for brilliant idea of the year

Sainsbury’s Watchmoor Park branch for best business partnership

Harvey from Lowlands Farm for RDA horse of the year

Jane Jackson for vet of the year

Ruth Urquhart from Brae RDA for volunteer of the year