Launch of Jack Petchey Awards: Voting for the first of the Jack Petchey awards took place with Serena Carter (Squad 1) becoming the first winner. During the course of the year we had 9 Award recipients in total – with nominees from across all our activities. Prizes included: A head camera (some interesting footage from Gymkhana), a couple of jumps and a Musical Ride lesson.
Founder’s Day Parade & Service at Hampton Court Palace: The annual event took place at the end of February.
Squadron 7 launched:Following several weeks’ training for the new volunteers, our newest Squadron started at the beginning of April. Initially with just 8 members, it quickly expanded to 10. Unlike our other Riding for the Disabled programmes, Squadron 7 has a similar structure to our mainstream activities: with Rangers riding alternate weeks. When they are not riding, the Rangers are taught stable management and study for their badges.
Oxshott Rides: Two fundraising rides were organised for our more experienced riders. These took place on Easter Monday and the Jubilee bank holiday and were organised by our stable staff. £850 was raised.
Tom Jones: Following some donations from The Sylvia Waddilove Foundation and the Hedley Foundation, we were able to purchase Tom Jones in March. He was able to start work immediately with our mainstream Rangers whilst being trained to work with our RDA groups. Tom had previously been living in Sussex, although he was originally from Wales, hence being named after a famous Welshman.
Kempton Park, Mascot Grand National: HRA’s mascot, Prince Cameo, was invited to help start the Mascot Grand National which this year took place at Kempton Park Race Course.
Chestnut Sunday: Both the band and musical ride performed at this annual event in Bushy Park.
Diamond Jubilee: Some of our Special Needs riders from Clarendon School were invited to present HM The Queen with flowers during her Official Jubilee visit to Richmond. The Musical Ride display team performed at the Jubilee celebrations in Richmond Park and provided Her Majesty with a mounted escort.
Mayor of Richmond’s Charity: The new Mayor of Richmond, Cllr Rita Palmer, elected Horse Rangers to be one of the two charities she wished to support during her Mayoral year. The charity with whom we shared this honour was The Poppy Factory. As such we were invited to attend the Mayor Making Dinner in May and to the Civic Service to mark the Mayor’s appointment
Aries taken ill: During the long weekend celebrating the Queen’s Jubilee at the beginning of June, Aries was suddenly and unexpectedly taken ill. Grass Sickness was diagnosed and he was taken to Liphook Equine Hospital to undergo specialist care. Sadly his battle was lost later in July.
RDA Open Day: This annual event took place at the end of the month. The Deputy Mayor of Richmond attended.
Awards Day: This took place at the beginning of July. The Mayor of Richmond, Cllr Rita Palmer presented some of the awards. The Rt Hon Dr Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills and MP for Twickenham also joined us.
Tuxedos & Tiara Party: Officers from Squadron 3 arranged this fundraising event to which older Rangers and Volunteers, past and present, were invited. A great time was had by all and money raised to help towards Aries’ hospital bills.
AGM: We decided to move our AGM from November to take place in future in July
Edward & Nancy Retire: After years of service at HRA, Edward and Nancy who had joined HRA together many years ago were offered places to retire to Speen Farm.
Olympics: The cycling Road Race and Time Trials all took place close to the Royal Mews. For the Time Trials Rangers, staff and Dublin all donned Wiggo sideburns to help cheer Bradley Wiggins to achieve his gold medal.
Annual Gymkhana & Horse Show: The Mayor of Richmond joined us on the Saturday to help judge the Fancy Dress competition at this year’s gymkhana. Disney and Tom Jones both participated for the first time in the fun and games. The two-day event helped raise record funds for the charity.
Tubber: With the retirement of Nancy and Edward the search was on for new horses and we found we were especially short of horses that were suitable for our RDA work. Tubber arrived from Derby in early September, he is in full-time HRA work but has not yet started to work with the RDA.
Charity Polo Match: As part of the Mayor of Richmond’s fundraising events for the year we helped organise a Charity Polo Match as Ham Polo Club. Samson and Disney represented HRA and escorted the teams onto the pitch.
BHS London Riding Horse Parade: Rufus & Disney represented HRA in this annual horse show and parade organised by the British Horse Society which took place Hyde Park on Sunday 21 October. Both were entered into the Riding School category where Disney was placed 3rd. Disney became the highest placed BHS member for overall turnout and vet inspection where he was awarded 4th place. Rufus was placed 5th for turnout and vet inspection and 2nd in the Veteran class, where he was the highest placed BHS member. Their riders were our Chief Instructor, Theresa Barrett (Stable Manager/Officer Squadron 3) and Georgie Rider (Deputy Stable Manager/Officer Squadron 3).
Visit to Household Cavalry Barracks: With money from the Jack Petchey Awards, members of Squadron 4 were treated to a day in Windsor where they were given a tour of the stables and the Household Cavalry museum.
Shimmer: Having lost Billy last year and Aries this year, we found ourselves increasingly short of bigger horses that would be able to work with our more advance riders. Shimmer joined HRA in October.
RDA President’s Award for Volunteering: as recognition of the many years Chris Parker has volunteered with our RDA section, she was invited to a reception in London to receive an Award for her dedication from the RDA’s President, HRH The Princess Royal.
Retirement of Band Master: Derek Ward who had volunteered with HRA’s band for over 40 years decided to retire. This brought the band to a close following their Remembrance Day engagements on Sunday 11 November. We are hoping to appoint a new Band Master soon.
RDA AGM: We were invited to present our newest project Squadron 7 at the RDA’s AGM, as a case study for good practice.
Cliff Barnes: Sadly, following prolonged lameness for which we could find no remedy, Cliff was put to sleep at the end of November.
Carol Service: This year’s Carol Service took place in the Chapel Royal at Hampton Court Palace on Sunday 9 December. The Mayor of Richmond, Cllr Rita Palmer and her Consort were in attendance.
HRA Alumni: In December we launched a new Facebook site where former Rangers, Volunteers and supporters could see pictures taken over the last 6 decades, with an invitation to also join up and become part of HRA’s Alumni.