YOUNG riders from the Welburn Hall school riding group have helped raise funds for their new riding arena by completing an endurance ride.

The event, which took place on Wednesday, June 21, required the riders to ride endurance distances within a specified time.

Elspeth Crookenden, the Riding for the Disabled (RDA) county coach and group organiser for the RDA Welburn Hall School Group, said it was a fantastic event.

“The children were so thrilled when I told them they were going to ride out in the fields and through woods, as most of them had never ridden outside an arena,” she said.

“The event was held to raise funds to complete the work of refurbishing the Riding Arena.

“We were fortunate to get a grant from the People’s Post Code Lottery for £6,500 which spurred us on to raise the rest.

“We are almost there with the £1,000 we have raised in sponsorship for the riders of the ride.

“We have also received donations from other charitable organisations and private donors for which we are very grateful.

“We try to be a progressive group and take advantage of what the RDA has to offer and this year we enrolled as an Endurance Group.

“We also attend the RDA Regional Finals for the Countryside Challenge. Two of our riders won this year and have qualified to attend the National Championships at Hartpury in Gloucestershire in July.”

At the National Championships, the riders from the school group will be riding on Hattie, a piebald pony that the group have used for 12 years. She was also one of the ponies used on the endurance ride.

Ms Crookenden added: “I have a wonderful group of volunteers who help bring in ponies each week that are lent by local families, and others who lead and side-walk.”

The Welburn Hall arena was originally constructed in 1983 and is now in need of a complete new surface for the children, who are aged between eight and 16, to be able to ride.

They launched their £10,000 appeal in December last year. The appeal’s first donation was from Ryedale Show, which presented £500 to the group.

The RDA, which has been going for more than 40 years, provide therapy, achievement and enjoyment through riding to people with disabilities all over the UK. They have a network of 18,000 instructors and volunteers in 500 volunteer groups organising activities such as riding, carriage-driving, vaulting, showjumping and Hippotherapy to up to 28,000 people each year.