RIDING for the Disabled Association (RDA) is marking its 50th anniversary by telling the stories of some of the people who make it the “extraordinary” organisation it is today.

Designed to challenge preconceptions about disability and volunteering, and to celebrate the diversity and inclusiveness of RDA, the “50 Faces” campaign features a collage of portraits, as well as the stories of horse riders, carriage drivers and volunteers from all over the UK.

Caroline Ward, communications manager at RDA UK, said: “A 50th anniversary could be a time for looking back, but we wanted to celebrate where we are now, as leaders in disability sport,

and also look to our future – helping even more disabled people to benefit from time with horses.”

One RDA member, Claire Pope, first became involved after an horrific motorbike accident in 2006. Following a collision with a lorry, Claire spent a month in hospital and permanently lost the use of her right arm. It was amputated three years later.

Having worked at a local riding school in North Yorkshire, Claire was a keen rider and had no intention of stopping. Once she was fit enough she contacted Bedale RDA and went along to volunteer and ride herself.

She quickly worked out how to ride with one arm. Throwing herself whole-heartedly into RDA life she entered the RDA Countryside Challenge not long after joining the group, which she won.

Claire said: “I compete in non-disabled competitions most of the time. I can see people looking and wondering how I manage to ride so successfully. To me I am just enjoying my life with my horses.”

You can read Claire’s story, and meet the other 49 Faces of RDA at rda.org.uk. 50 Faces has been supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.