Penniwells RDA is a riding school for disabled children & adults, found in the lush green countryside of Elstree. As a registered charity, Penniwells is primarily run by a team of volunteers, accompanied by a small team of professional riding instructors.

Not only does Penniwells offers lessons, but also provides riders with a unique bond with their horses and ponies, as well as giving stable management sessions. These activities and sessions not only allow riders to experience a new environment but often also provide a refreshing form of therapy for many, in addition to fitness, skills development and opportunities. The Riding for Disabled Association (RDA) is an organisation working all over the UK, helping enrich the lives of over 25,000 individuals.

In late 2018, I decided to start volunteering at Penniwells. I decided to apply, as I believed volunteering at Penniwells would provide me with skills that could be applied in countless situations in the future, that would be difficult to find in any other environment. Looking back, I was not wrong. Not only have I developed numerous skills since starting, but I believe now that the community and friendships I have made along the way are just as, if not more vital to my development.

Penniwells does not only teach its volunteers how to skip out a stable, tack up the feistiest of ponies or be more comfortable around such majestic animals, but also focuses on the human and social interactions. Volunteers interact with people from all age groups, from the youngest rider at 5 years old, to some of the older volunteers who have been with Penniwells for decades. To me though, the most valuable experiences have been with the riders.

All visitors of Penniwells are given the list of the “10 things that require zero talent”, including teaching everyone to have a positive work ethic, bring effort, energy and passion, to do extra and to have a good attitude. Everyone embraces this, and this leads to sessions with coaches, parents, riders and volunteers that are filled with laughter, fun and camaraderie.

Volunteers & riders at Penniwells are always welcome! If interested, please check out their website, as well as that of the Riding for Disabled Association.