Easyfundraising – as you buy your Christmas presents, get FREE donations for the RDA!

Have a look at this… these are donations for FREE for the Abingdon RDA

amazon 6So – you may remember I introduced you to easyfundraising in a previous blog. Well, as we all go into a little more spending for Christmas – we can get FREE donations for the RDA.

Here is an example…say I was halfway through buying something on amazon and suddenly remembered I wanted to see if they were part of the easyfundraising scheme.

Here I am buying a Flopsies Chestnut Horse (as you do!)

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It is in my basket and I think – whoa! I could raise money for the RDA here!

So I open another tab in the browser and go to https://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/retailer/amazon/?q=amazon&cat=retailer-autosuggest

and put Amazon into the search box

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then click go shopping. (At this point if you haven’t registered with easyfundraising they will probably ask you to do it now). And lo and behold you end up back at Amazon on the very same page you left, with your Flopsie still in your basket.

The only slightly less helpful thing is you can’t actually tell on the screen that you have easyfundraising activated, but you will at some point get a box like this


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and eventually an email like this where you can drill down to your account and see all the money you have raised!

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And you will be able to see what is going on with the cause like the snapshot at the beginning of this blog.

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So let us see if we can increase the number of supporters to at least 60 before Christmas!!

And even better if you use my refer a friend link to sign up – this one http://t.e.easyfundraising.org.uk/r/?id=h8fa7380,10046ed8,10059b86&utm_source=adobecampaign&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=engagement-2017&utm_content=supporter_engagement_not%20raised_20171114&origin=SE041&p1=LZBF62

(sorry it is so long!) then allegedly the RDA will just get £4 – just like that! (Nothing for me sadly!)

Lots of shops do it John Lewis, Sainsbury’s, EBay, booking.com to name but a very few!

Go on – for just a few minutes of signing up and getting you head around it you can get the RDA loads of free donations!


Our Own Henry: Young Achiever Award Winner

award certificateaward statue

One of our Thursday night riders, Henry Bullivant, has been awarded – Young Achiever Award by the Erb’s Palsy Group for raising money for charity. Henry has been raising money not just for the RDA, but for three other charities too. Children in Need, Red Nose Day and the Erb’s Palsy Group.

henry and boxer


At the awards ceremony, Henry also met Joe Hughes, the boxer, who also has to manage his Erb’s Palsy condition, just like Henry.


henry and nana


Henry takes the opportunity when he is in his Nana’s shop to explain to people about his Erb’s Palsy and how much his riding at the RDA helps him. He had donation boxes handy so that people can donate to the RDA if they wish.



Well done Henry and Congratulations from everyone at Abingdon RDA!




The Golden Moments continue!

If you are an RDA volunteer, you will know that the work involves golden moments. This week I had two.

When I was allocated my horse and rider – the first thing he said to me was “you are one of my favourite helpers”.

And second, as I was holding Jim Bob after the child dismounted – he got hold of the tab on my coat and open the zip by about 6 inches. My fellow helpers and I had a wonderful laugh about that. And despite the temptation to get him to do it again, we of course moved away to stop him and not encourage the behaviour, but hey – did we all enjoy it in the moment!


(From the blog manager – Have you any golden moments to share? Email to rdablog16@gmail.com and they will be posted.)

Money for RDA for nothing – yes really!

This is quite unbelievable but true – you may have already heard of it – easyfundraising?

Headline is – with one extra click when you are buying on-line you can raise money for the RDA for absolute free. Difficult to believe? Here is a snapshot of my account….


Crystal Ski holidays just gave (looks like about) 1% to RDA just for us booking our holiday with them. It cost us nothing extra, it was booked on the identical Crystal booking page, and if you didn’t know, you wouldn’t have even noticed.

I so wished that I had started this up before I bought all my Christmas presents! But I was a little wary – as you might expect and you may be too. So I did some research, in my view this is a GREAT business model which in fact not only gets retailers more business but fulfils some aspects of their Corporate Responsibility. So in fact there are good reasons for this money to be “free” – they will get it back in other ways.

Meanwhile, our ponies get hay, our wonderful yard staff get more resources and who knows – maybe we can get the new indoor school in a different way!

In my next blog I will explain more about how it works but if you want to get going straight away – here is the link.


Amanda Graham


Let’s whisper to our lovely RDA ponies!

We did some extra learning with Angy this week, she having been at some instructor training herself. She talked us through some horse behaviour approaches, sometimes know as horse whispering. She explained that when horses are in a natural herd, the boss horse doesn’t lead from the front but from a position by the shoulder of a horse that he wants to keep in line.

horse-whisperingAnd the boss horse also insists on his personal, dominant space, so if another horse turns their head towards the boss, then the boss will nudge that horse in the area of his neck and withers to push him out of the bosses space.

So what does this mean for us at the RDA? Well we have a pony (who must not be named!) who is quite confident and does have a tendency to reach back and nibble when given half a chance. So the theory is this. The helper who is leading the pony starts behaving as the boss horse. They stand a little further back at the shoulder, needing a longer lead rein obviously, and if the pony’s head comes around, a gentle push out of the helper’s (boss’s) space corrects him. (This can be slightly tricky if the leader has a side walker behind as there is limited space but we worked it out and only tripped a little once!).

So we tried it out (as we do!) and with a leader and 2 side walkers – we worked superbly together – we thought we had about 70% noticeable change in behaviour, and no-one got nibbled by the pony who must not be named!

Sensational new learning and sense of achievement at the RDA as ever.

Pony for the Day – Six horses, Six riders…

…Eight Helpers, one fantastic Instructor – No parents/carers. What can possibly go wrong????? Answer – nothing!!

What an absolutely fantastic day!

I have never had so much fun…..the treasure hunt saw an amazing amount of enthusiasm, hands up everywhere, shouting, laughing with much running around whilst the horses were having lunch and looking on with some superior amusement and a certain look in their eye.horse-laughing-clipart-cliparts-of-free-download-wmf-1128929

That was nothing compared to Riding Games we had after a lovely lunch sitting on hay bales, in the hay barn. For me, I have never seen or heard such laughter in the trotting games…and there was such a lot of it!

In the aftermath it seems that the day just epitomised and underlines what the RDA means to all concerned…..fun and more fun. It was such a good day.

Ian Crawford

Sitting up just that little bit straighter!

We all have our favourite ponies to ride or work with at RDA. It may be Cheeky Charlie who a lot of our young riders started to ride on, Mr Reliable Speckles or Candy who is a cowgirl-on-a-horsebit more forward going.  

So imagine if you aren’t a very confident rider and you are given a different pony to ride for a change. Tell the rider that they look really good on this new pony and how much it suits them.

Then watch as the rider suddenly starts to sit up straighter.

Lyndsey Trickett


Never assume that a rider does not understand what you are saying. Give them time – it takes some riders a little longer to process the information or instruction.  They may not be able to act on the instruction but it still doesn’t mean that they still-waiting-clipart-1haven’t heard and understood what is being said. Never talk about them as if they are not there!

Sue Taylor

Ready, Steady, GO!

Imagine you are an eight year old boy. An eight year old boy with a degenerative disease. Once, in your dim, distant past you could run and jump and skip as well as your friends. You could keep up when you played chase or ran to greet your parents. Now every time your friends run across the playground or to the park you can’t keep up you just can’t run as fast as them. Imagine Sports Day – everyone else has a chance of winning, but you know you will be last.

This eight year old boy gets the chance to come riding at RDA. He enjoys his first lesson – a nice gentle hack and arrives for the second lesson.

“I thought we’d do some races today” says the instructor, “Do you like races?”

The boy’s face falls, remembering all those times he can’t keep up with his friends far ahead of him.

“It’s different on horses” she says and he gamely agrees to give it a go.

Once mounted the boy learns how to steer his pony and remembers how to start and stop. The children line up for the first race.

“Ready, steady, GO!”

Helped by his leader and encouraged by his side-walker the boy and his pony walk up the line of cones, round the end cone and back.winner-png

“Well done, you won!”

Suddenly the boy realises – he can win, he is not left behind! What a great feeling! He and the other children compete for the other races: bending, ball in a bucket etc, everyone encouraged to do their best and everyone having fun.

At the end of the lesson another adult asks “how did you enjoy your lesson?”

The boy beams “I won two races!”

A life-changing moment.