News & Events
- Posted by: pembscollegesuperadmin
Pembrokeshire College’s equestrian centre manager Mike Butcher has been appointed Head Coach for the RDA (Riding for the Disabled Association) UK Show jumping, putting Pembrokeshire at the forefront of Para-Equestrian Showjumping in the UK.
Michael Butcher, who’s been a lecturer in Equine Studies at Pembrokeshire College for 18 years, based at the Bowlings Riding School in Rudbaxton, Haverfordwest, said:
‘I am looking forward to working with experienced RDA coaches who, with the valuable input of RDA physiotherapists, will ensure the highest standard of delivery is made available to all riders, from novices to para-Olympians of the future’.
The RDA was set up 40 years ago to develop showjumping for disabled riders and as a specific activity has inevitably been contentious due to the safety issues and training that it demands.
The value of horse-riding, for both physically and learning disabled riders and the therapeutic nature of the activity, has long been recognised.
Disabled and disadvantaged children in Pembrokeshire are able to access subsidized and fully-assisted riding classes where they are encouraged to ride and learn at their own pace, developing balance, confidence and communication skills alongside the riding.
Contact with the horses can also has profound effects on well-being.
Following moves from the Federation Equestrian International (FEI) and with support from British Showjumping, it became clear that RDA showjumping will take place in International competition in the future. Michael, the centre’s manager, has been asked to lead a working committee to develop the sport of RDA Showjumping in the UK in response to these developments.
Ed Bracher, the Chief Executive of the RDA said:
‘I asked Mike to take this role due to his extensive knowledge of RDA and with his experience of showjumping. As an educationalist, we also felt that his background in developing training and learning systems would help bring clarity to the pathway that we needed to identify for both the RDA centres and riders’.
Spurred on by this appointment, Mike has undertaken the highest showjumping qualification that a showjumping coach can obtain under the UK Coaching Showjumping Programme.
Mike said: ‘The course involved coaching able-bodies riders of all abilities and is an internationally-recognised qualification. With this qualification and the RDA Senior Instructors qualification I feel that I can ensure that the highest standard of delivery is made available to all riders’.
As part of Mike’s training, he was assessed by current Team GB British Showjumping coaches over eight practical coaching sessions as part of a six-month course of study.
This appointment puts Pembrokeshire at the forefront of developing RDA Showjumping and is a great endorsement to the invaluable work being carried out at the Bowlings centre, which also provides equine studies for students from Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire.