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Published 25th Jul 2018

team unicorn triumphant at RDA national championships in gloucestershire

Despite searing temperatures and a massive thunderstorm, disabled riders from the Unicorn Centre RDA group in Hemlington, Middlesbrough have just returned triumphant from the RDA National Championships in Gloucestershire.

Having qualified at regional events earlier in the year, the riders, volunteers and horses were able to compete having received a travel grant thanks to a generous donation from the People’s Postcode Lottery.

“It was a fantastic experience for Team Unicorn,” said Yard Manager, Christie Beedle, who led the team. “The RDA National Championships brings riders and carriage drivers together from all over the UK and it was a really special weekend. We all found the heat very tiring, but everyone coped well and the horses didn’t put a foot wrong.

She continued, “We’re immensely proud of our riders’ achievements and the way they represented the Unicorn Centre at this national event. I’m so grateful for the support of their families, friends and the staff and volunteers from the Centre – they all did a brilliant job.”

Thirteen riders from Team Unicorn competed at the Championships in dressage, show jumping or in the Countryside Challenge on Centre ponies Lily, Thunder and Louie. They all performed beyond expectation achieving six first places, six third places and three fourth places. Two members of staff and five volunteers accompanied the riders, including competitor Callum Martin who achieved thirds in the Countryside Challenge and the Pairs Dressage.

Rachael Senguendo was the overall senior Countryside Challenge Champion riding Thunder. Rachel, aged 46 started riding with the Gt Ayton & District RDA Group in the eighties as a teenager, and after a twenty-year gap returned to riding at the Unicorn Centre with renewed enthusiasm. She said, “I’ve really missed riding, and never expected to qualify for the Championships so soon after starting again. And to become a Champion this year is just amazing”.

The National Championships, organised by the charity Riding for the Disabled Association is the biggest event of its kind in the world, bringing together hundreds of disabled competitors who have qualified to take part, with over 90 classes taking place over the three days. In the past, the event has provided a springboard for Paralympian’s including Sophie Christiansen, Natasha Baker and Lee Pearson – all of whom started their careers with the support of RDA.

For further information contact Claire Pitt, Centre Manager, on 01642 576222

Photo: Unicorn Centre Volunteer Callum Martin and Cheryl Clark respectively riding Lily and Louie coming 3rd in the Pairs dressage

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