Riding for the Disabled Association

CELEBRATIONS were underway last week at the Stokesley branch of the Riding for the Disabled Association, when one of their ponies, Hunky Dory, received a regional award for outstanding achievement.

The Maggie Tansley Trophy is presented annually, in memory of the late Maggie Tansley, a former RDA chairman and trustee, but this is the first time that the award has been presented to a pony.

Dory, as he is known at home, is an eight year old coloured native owned by Claire Robinson who runs the Stokesley group. During the week Dory works in Claire’s riding school with able bodied riders, as well as working for the RDA. At the weekend, however, he likes nothing better than to be out and about competing. Last year, partnered by rider Theo Hopkins, Dory won at the Riding Club's Area Combined Training Qualifier, as well as standing Champion Working Hunter at Cumberland Show, Champion Coloured at Ryedale Show & Reserve Champion at North Yorkshire County Show. He also competed, with two different riders, in the British Horse Society Riding School National Championships, where he was placed third and fifth and then to finish the year off nicely, ridden once again by Theo, Dory won the SEIB Working Pony class at The Horse of The Year Show, before going on to stand overall SEIB Reserve Champion. As a result, Dory and Theo were invited to take part in the Your Horse Master Class at Stoneleigh in November where they were placed fourth.

As an RDA pony, in 2018 Dory competed and won with rider Kayla Pratt at the first ever British Dressage ID championships. He qualified for the RDA National Championships with three different riders, Kayla Pratt, Nayana Booker-Dodds and Ellie Griffiths and was placed in all of his classes, which included winning the pair’s competition and standing overall champion in the individual dressage section.

“What sets him apart from the rest is his absolute versatility,” said Theo Hopkins. “He has competed in pair’s dressage, dressage to music, individual dressage, the Countryside Challenge, going both on and off the lead rein and not forgetting his forte, costume dressage - top hat or Indian headdress included. At home Dory can be the world’s biggest pest, but he loves people and likes to get himself involved in everything!” Theo also payed tribute to Dory’s owner, Claire Robinson.

“Claire has literally taught us both everything that we know. She has owned Dory since he was five months old and I can’t thank her enough for teaching me how to ride when I was eight years old, and also for ‘letting me loose’ on the most amazing pony.”