Coates, Near Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7 6NS
Our spotlight page is where we highlight one of our riders, volunteers or team members in acknowledgement and gratitude for their valued role or particular achievements at Watershed RDA
Nicky is our newest qualified RDA coach, and she joined us in early 2020. We are so proud to welcome her as part of our Watershed team, and her experience and teaching skills have already brought great benefit to our riders.
We asked her to write a few words to introduce herself:
"I first became involved with RDA over 20 years ago when my local group asked to borrow my daughter's 12.2 hh pony for some of their little riders. I went along, became a helper and realised what an amazing influence ponies could have on the lives of children with all kinds of disabilities. I underwent the training, and became an instructor and continued to teach children ranging from 3 years to teenage.
My daughter Annie is very keen on dressage, and her chestnut mare, Dior UKH (known as Pimms!) is now on loan to an amazingly talented rider who is in the GB para squad. Erin Orford has had great success with Pimms, including winning individual Bronze, and and team Gold at the European Championships, and team Silver at the World Equestrian Games. Her journey started when she was very young at RDA.
If you would like to read more about Erin's remarkable journey, and see some beautiful photos, here is the link to her website:
Since joining Watershed, I have loved the friendliness and the teamwork within the Group, and have very much enjoyed teaching a group of ladies who are all keen to improve their dressage.
The lovely facilities at Watershed, and the kind, willing ponies are a delight! "
" My volunteering at Watershed RDA started in March 2016. At that time, I had lived in the UK for just a few months and was looking for a new way of how to spend my free time. As I spent almost all my teenage and adult age with horses, the RDA charity was my first choice.
I had done a little bit of research on the internet and found Watershed RDA! We exchanged a few emails and finally, I could start my volunteering! My first volunteer task was Sunday morning poo picking. At that time, I didn’t know how long I will stick with this job! As well, I tried to help with the lessons, but unfortunately, it didn’t work for me, because over weekdays I was busy with my job. But still, there were weekends and poo picking!
Of course, it wasn’t “just” poo picking, it was also feeding ponies, giving them medicine, and making sure water troughs are full. Later, when Mo Mischief joined the team, my job was to make sure he was on the right side of the fence. Weekend by weekend, month by month. Many months pass, some ponies had gone to new homes, new ponies came to join the team and I was there nearly every Sunday morning.
At the beginning of 2018, I was asked if I can help exercise ponies. I used to ride for many years various horses, helped at riding stable, led riding lessons or hacks. But during this time, I was seriously injured and hadn’t ridden for a while. However, thanks to Smarties’ and Jessie's patience, I was back in the saddle step by step.
At that time, I became more involved in pony care and from September 2018 I started helping with the lessons. After all, I could use my horse knowledge and experience!
But it wasn't just pony care I became involved with; the sensory garden was my new challenge. Paint plant troughs, ask for plant donations, find a gardener to help me, and, at the end of this challenge, plant a new sensory garden, and re-plant other troughs. All of this was my job, but it wasn’t just me. I was proud (and still I am) how Watershed RDA volunteers and riders, as well as a local plant nursery, garden center, and farm shop, helped with the generous donation of plants!
Now in this time (this text was written during lockdown), I’m on - let's say it in horsey words - box rest. I can't wait until my box rest finishes and will be allowed come back to my Sunday muck out fields. Believe or not, after many years I still love this job! "