Welcome to Rossway RDA

For more than 50 years the Rossway Group, part of Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA), has been creating unique opportunities for people with all forms of disabilities – physical and cognitive - through riding therapy.

Riding gives people with limited mobility the chance to stretch and move muscles in a way that may not be possible with other forms of exercise. The rider's position in the saddle and the movement of the horse is a therapy in itself, improving rider's balance, co-ordination and muscle tone. Riding also gives a great sense of freedom and the empathy, which develops between our riders and their horses, is lovely to see. Confidence often improves, along with increased self-esteem and well-being.

We run 4 half-hourly sessions on a Thursday afternoon during term time. The class sizes are small - 4 or 5 riders only - and the cost is kept to a minimum. For prices and conditions please contact info@rosswayrda.co.uk in the first instance.

Our Coaches are fully qualified and we have a wonderful team of enthusiastic and experienced volunteers who are also trained in all aspects of horse care and safety procedures. Appropriate DBS checks are run on everyone attached to the Group.

How to apply to ride: Our riders are referred to us by GPs, physiotherapists, schools, occupational therapists or apply independently. We assess all our riders before accepting them. Ages range from 4 - 75 years and there is an upper weight limit of around 13 stone, but this is dependent on individual rider characteristics. Please contact us if you think riding could help you or someone else either by emailing: info@rosswayrda.co.uk or by phoning 01442 825010.


Rossway RDA is run and managed by a group of Trustees who are responsible for the organisation and running of the group, and cumulatively have excellent communication, teaching and equine skills - not to mention years of teaching practice!

Chairman - Mrs Irene Purse
President - Mrs Sylvia Astley
Treasurer - Mr Richard Allison
Secretary - Mrs Heather Newton
Coaches: - Caroline Hunt, Sarah Embleton-Smith, Caren Graffham, Vivienne Bryan, Irene Purse, Hazel Rymer
Rossway RDA Registered Charity No. 1188574

RDA UK: Founded as a National Organisation in 1969, the Riding for the Disabled Association has over 500 groups around the UK, of which Rossway is one. These groups help 30,000 people annually take part in riding, carriage driving and vaulting activities. We are proud to belong to such a well-respected and prestigious organisation and equally proud that The Princess Royal is our hard working patron. 

Click here to visit the Website of the RDA UK


The benefits of riding are enormous:
from better mobility and stronger core stability to better co-ordination and concentration. The list is long and impressive...
  • Supports postural muscles
  • Helps with core stability
  • Helps with balance
  • Helps with circulation
  • Non weight bearing
  • Encourages movement
  • Enjoy warmth and companionship of animals
  • Take part in sport and compete with others
  • It's fun...It's sociable
Disabilities include:
  • Arthritis
  • Autism
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Developmental Delay
  • Down's Syndrome
  • Epilepsy
  • Learning Difficulties
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Strength and Balance Issues
  • Visual and Hearing Impairments

Our Horses

An RDA horse needs to be a very special equine! They have to be calm and unflappable with often nervous or excitable riders, yet must find an extra gear when those riders progress and need to expand their riding skills. Our horses and ponies are very carefully chosen for their temperaments and comfortable paces and we do our best to nuture them as they do our riders!

 We have owned Coco for over 15 years and she has been the most wonderful RDA pony!   She is a kind and generous 13.2hh 21 year old Welsh bay mare and is everyone’s perfect pony as she will walk calmly on the lead rein with nervous riders or complete novices, but finds an extra gear with the more experienced and balanced riders.  Not only is she lovely to ride, but she is ultra comfy as well.
Diesel is a good looking 15.1hh black horse with white markings. He is 15 years old. We bought him in 2012 from Ireland where he used to go hunting! He now leads a more sedate life with us but still loves to be ridden by experienced riders as he will perform a good dressage test but still loves to jump, or go for a lovely long hack. But luckily for us, he is extremely versatile as not only is he great for our more competent riders but he is also happy to walk nd trot around the arena with beginners on his back!
We have owned Molly for 10 years and bought her as a 6 year old pony with very little experience of life!  She is a black 13.3hh pony and is very pretty but can be opinionated!  She likes plenty of attention but dislikes her mane being brushed, which is a shame as it is very thick and lustrous and a bit unruly!  However, Molly is super patient with our nervous riders and is very comfortable to ride.
Nory has been given to Rossway on loan for 3 years while her owner is away at university.  She is a chunky 14.2hh Highland mare with striking good looks and an easy and comfortable gait.  She is proving to be extremely versatile and has become a firm favourite with both helpers and riders.


Ellie has to behave, respect the animals and work hard; she has learned a lot of self discipline and that co-operating with others brings rewards. Ellie sits beautifully now so riding has benefited her posture, balance and muscle development too
Mum - Lisa
Rossway has been amazing in supporting Michael – enabling him to access one of the very few activities that he really enjoys. He struggles with both his gross and fine motor skills but the riding has helped enormously with his posture which in turn has boosted his general confidence
Mum - Sarah
After receiving my diagnosis of secondary progressive MS (multiple sclerosis), I was encouraged by my consultant to try horse riding again.  Rossway RDA has provided tons of encouragement and support and made me feel like I’m doing something positive.  I feel completely safe in their care, and my confidence and ability is improving all the time.  The horses are handpicked for the role; the coaches and volunteers are attentive and compassionate.  As someone who loathes exercise, being told to improve my core strength was like asking me to try and fly!  But when I’m riding I am exercising, only it doesn’t feel like that!  I can feel my skills improving all the time and I’m looking forward to taking my riding further when I’m ready.
Great riding! Jolly! Fun! Happy! These are the things that riding with Rossway makes me feel
Our students have had a wonderful time learning to ride with the Rossway RDA, including meeting their horses, being measured up, and learning about stable management as well! The horses themselves are lovely and friendly making our students feel welcomed and safe with their calm demeanours. Best of all is the expert guidance and leadership of all those involved who are understanding and knowledgeable of our students’ broad range of learning abilities.
David Jones - Key Stage 4 Teacher at Garston Manor School. (March 2017)
We bring a range of young students (11 – 16 years) with a wide variety of physical and cognitive difficulties like autism, developmental delay, cerebral palsy, Downs Syndrome, etc., and find that riding helps our young people in so many varied ways. Learning social skills, communicating and working in a group alongside their ponies is a great step forward for some children, and it develops core strength and works on muscle development for all of them. Our children love it and get a great sense of achievement from their sessions. We are grateful for the confident, knowledgeable and welcoming attitude of the Rossway helpers and teachers.
Staff from Stocklake Park special school in Aylesbury


he Rossway Group was formed in 1968 by Mrs Mary Rose Hadden-Paton and her sister-in-law Mrs Pam Garthforth Bles and was named after Rossway House, Mary Rose’s beautiful country home set high in the Chilterns, just outside Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire. Each Thursday afternoon, Mary Rose, Pam and others would teach disabled children how to ride on a pony and a donkey both belonging to one of the founders, plus a donkey and ponies loaned for the day by friends. This they did on the lawn in front of the house and then moved during the winter, to Pendley indoor riding school (which now houses the Pendley Court Theatre!).
In 1972 the group, having become very successful locally, began to use Hastoe Hill Riding Stables during the winter months and, excepting one or two short-term moves to other local stables, made it their base until December 2017 when closure of the riding school prompted another move to neighbouring Shardeloes Farm Equestrian in Amersham, Bucks. Even now, we meet up each Thursday afternoon during term time to teach riders of all ages and abilities. Rossway RDA currently owns two horses and three ponies which are cared for and used by Shardeloes Farm Equestrian in their riding school when not being used by Rossway.
Our riders join us either as individuals, or in groups from local schools, and when the opportunity arises, we try to take our riders out to a competition to sample life outside the riding school. To date, we have been involved in fancy dress shows at Windsor Horse Show and dressage and riding challenges at Oaklands in St Albans, along with gymkhanas for the younger members. We hold improvement badge sessions for all our riders, which is a wonderful measure of their abilities, along with Achievement Award days. We try to hold Open Days regularly so that we can showcase our riders’ and ponies’ improvements and abilities to parents or carers and, in 2018, we held our own amazingly successful and enjoyable 50th Celebration and invited all our former volunteers and associates to see us in action.

Recollections of times with Rossway RDA by David Wright - one of our original riders from the Rossway House days – and who has only just recently stopped riding with us.

“In the summer of 1968, Rossway RDA was formed. To begin with, as I recall, there were about five or six riders in total and I was lucky enough to be one of those. Riding was at 5 pm and for the first year was summer time only as there was no indoor school. During the second year, in the winter months, riding took place at an old indoor school at what is now The Court Theatre, Pendley, just outside Tring.
It was very cold and damp and four ponies were transported there each week, again in the evening. The first pony I rode at Rossway was called Lemon, a lovely grey Dartmoor pony lent by a neighbour to Rossway each Thursday.
Other ponies I remember were Lollipop, Merrylegs, and Rosie, all bought in by other helpful owners. During those first few years I remember going on a trip to the Royal Tournament at Earls Court and we all travelled together in two Landrovers and sat about three rows behind the Queen; it was very grand. I think this must have been about 1972.

I also remember going to Pony Club Camp with Rosie which was hard work with feeding, grooming, mucking out, cleaning tack and, of course, riding. I get a little stiff now and my disability sadly prevents me from riding any longer, but my memories are as fresh as ever”.



Keeping horses is an expensive business; it costs around £1,500 per year to keep an RDA horse and even more if they need emergency veterinary treatment.  We receive no direct grants from local or central government and rely on the generosity of individuals, businesses and charitable trusts.

The Rossway Group RDA is grateful for all donations, large or small, to fund our activities, so if you would like to donate, please contact :-
Chairman, Mrs Irene Purse 01442 825010
Treasurer, Mr Richard Allison 01442 824147 
or email: info@rosswayrda.co.uk

In order to run our activities, we rely entirely on our volunteer workforce.  Each new or nervous rider will need 3 volunteers to work alongside them in each lesson, in addition to the Coach, First Aider and assistant.  This makes each session volunteer-critical and although Rossway boasts some amazing volunteer helpers - all of whom are given appropriate training, are DBS checked and encouraged to learn as much as they can about the work we do – there is always room for more keen and committed volunteers.  
We think that knowledge is an essential tool of the trade and so training is available via online courses to all who want to increase their awareness and essential to those who wish to progress to being a Coach.  It’s incredible to think that across the UK, more than 18,500 volunteers give around 3.5 million hours of their time each year to further the aims of RDA.   
So, if you are interested in becoming a volunteer with Rossway RDA, please email info@rosswayrda.co.uk or call 01442 825010 and we can have a chat and talk about how to go about it.


Chairman, Mrs Irene Purse 01442 825010

Treasurer, Mr Richard Allison 01442 824147

Please fill in the form to contact us.

Rossway Group RDA would like to thank Linda and Tony Williams the proprietors of Shardeloes Farm Equestrian Centre, for their wonderful support and encouragement.


Postcode for Sat Navs is HP7 0QF - via Woodrow

From M25 Junction 18
Come off at Junction 18 (Rickmansworth) and follow A404 (slow roads) to Chorleywood, through Little Chalfont and on to Amersham.
Pass Amersham College on your left and take the second exit at the next roundabout, keep following signs to the A404 and head towards High Wycombe.

From M25 Junction 16
Head west from M25 onto M40 in the direction of Oxford and Birmingham to J2 Beaconsfield

From M40 Junction 2 - Beaconsfield
Following signs to Beaconsfield and then to Amersham, follow the A433 until you reach a big roundabout at the bottom of Gore Hill, turn left towards Wycombe and pick up the A404.

Once you're on the A404 at Amersham
After you pass Amersham Crematorium on your right, watch out for the right hand turning to Cherry Lane about 2 miles further on (signposted Woodrow High House)
Cherry Lane is a long, narrow lane with passing places. Shardeloes Farm Equestrian Centre is at the end of the lane and is clearly signposted.
Follow the signs and park in the car park.

Please respect our 5mph speed limit.