‘He’s not put a foot wrong in 25 years’: RDA pony celebrates 30th birthday

  • A Riding For the Disabled (RDA) pony has become one of the charity’s longest-serving volunteers after recently celebrating his 30th birthday.

    The 14.2hh Highland has been working with the Stockeld Park RDA Group for 25 years, and still takes part in weekly sessions.

    Dunedin Ruaridh Moor — known as “Rory” — has taught many children with learning and physical difficulties to ride and drive over the years.

    Although he gave up driven duties five years ago after he became a little stiff, he still takes part in lead rein rides with the group at Sicklinghall Park near Wetherby.

    “He’s such a character, everyone knows him. He’s always the lead pony in our sessions as he knows his job inside out,” said RDA volunteer Jill Armstrong.


    “One of his career highlights was taking part in a driven RDA demo at the Great Yorkshire show.

    “In his younger days he also used to do some showing in M&M classes with Pam Hammett, who looks after him.”

    Rory, who celebrated his birthday on April 14, has been cared for by Pam since he was bought as a five-year-old.

     “We were looking for an RDA pony that we could also do carriage driving with and we saw him advertised in Horse & Hound,” said Pam. “I went up to the Lake District with a friend to see him and we decided we’d have him.

    “I definitely made a good decision — I can’t say he’s ever put a foot wrong in 25 years.

    “He used to go for a nice ride with me but know when he was with the RDA children and be very careful with them.”

    Originally grey with black points and a striking black mane and tail, Rory has greyed out completely over the years but is still “as nosey as ever”.

     “He’d come in my house given the choice,” added Pam.

    Members of the Stockeld Park group are currently preparing for their major fundraising event of the year, a sponsored ride at Bramham Park on 17 June, the weekend after Bramham International Horse Trials. For more information, visit the group’s website.

    For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.

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