Third Rest Stop at Pendle RDA

Starts for leg 3: miles covered, 70.39; accumulated mileage, 249.56; average miles per day, 14 miles.

Tuesday, 25th to Sunday, 31st May, going nowhere, on a Mechanical Horse.

Kate Bailey is one of a rare breed of people who dedicate their lives to helping others.  She has always wanted to work with horses and carved an early career in Intermediate Eventing.  When the children came along, she channelled her considerable knowledge and experience into coaching others, such as the Silver Medal winner, Felicity Coulthard.  Felicity, aged 22 at the time, won her coveted medal for her Grade II, Freestyle to Music, on her gelding, Roffelaar, at the Beijing Paralympics in 2008.  Kate has coached Felicity since she was 12 years old.  Here is a picture of her competing taken from a magazine article.


Here is Kate on a visit to Skipton, standing on a bridge over the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.  She took me and her friend, Tracey, on a little browse around the shops one wet afternoon last week.


Kate also started working for the RDA early on in her career.  She works tirelessly as an instructor, as well as administrator, advisor and trainer for a large number of groups in her area.  She doesn’t get paid for any of this valuable and important work which she fits around her busy family life, caring for her husband, Andrew, and two teenage boys (including vagrant horse wanderers!).  Her own committed group of volunteers at Pendle give up their time and attention to helping a host of people from toddlers, to clients in their nineties with a whole range of illnesses, as well as mental and physical difficulties – often a combination of these – some severe and very debilitating, whilst others are less obvious, like arthritis and joint problems.  I was privileged to be invited to join in a few of the sessions – in my capacity as the tea lady.  These gatherings are filled with a lot of laughter and good hearted banter.  A cup of tea, a biscuit and the social chit chat are all part of the therapy, indeed expected, and much merriment is had by all.  This is not to overlook the real purpose of the work that goes on here, each case dealt with sensitivity and good humour by these dedicated unpaid professionals who know what they are doing.

Personally, I can’t thank Kate enough for all she did for Tommy and me.  Too many things to mention, but to name a couple of important ones such as her eagle eyes spotting my reins needed stitching and it got sorted.


And fished out a redundant hi vis vest which I adapted to cover my bags.


She made us feel so welcome and part of the family.  Her fabulous suppers are already a distant memory, sadly.  She’s a real gem.

Pendle Pride


Four years ago, Kate’s group at Pendle won a National Lottery grant worth £44,000 to buy a mechanical horse, which they named Pendle Pride.  The beauty of this addition to the group is that people who would not normally be allowed to ride a real horse, such as those who suffer with epilepsy for instance, could now benefit from the experience, in the comfort and safety of an indoor space under the supervision of Kate and her team of helpers who are all trained to work with people who have special needs and requirements.  The Pendle committee also manage to find time to continue to find ways of raising funds for the work of the RDA, organising events such as a ‘Pridathon’, sponsoring rides on the mechanical horse.

If you would like to make a donation towards the valuable work that people like Kate and her team are doing for the RDA, then please go to my donate page here.


In between sessions, I was allowed to have a go on ‘Pride’.  I must point out that all riders have to wear a hard hat whilst riding Pendle Pride, but I insisted, be it on my own head, and all that.  This beauty is calibrated for doing dressage and we went through some of the moves such as pirouettes and flying changes in canter (something I haven’t even done on a real horse).  It was thrilling and the screen in front of you can either take you for a ride in the park or you can opt to do a dressage test in the arena.


I was also delighted to discover that the sensors, depicted by the red dot in the saddle on the diagram of the horse on the screen, showed that the body weight from my core muscles meant that I was sitting in the middle of the saddle and therefore pretty well balanced.  Allan (who supervised my session and kindly took these pictures) says, the sensors never lie.  This was wonderful to know as I had thought I might be quite lopsided due to my scoliosis.  That’s extremely good news for Tommy.  Here he is getting fat and looking wistful in his temporary paddock.


Healing Ribbons made from Recycled Rosettes.

Collecting more ribbons to be added to our banner.  Some of the sentiments expressed for healing intention were: relief from silent suffering; freedom from constant pain; a place of darkness for contemplation, free from distractions, amongst other more personal requests for loved ones who were suffering.  If you would like to make a donation and request a healing ribbon to be added to the banner, please email me at  To find out more about the healing ribbon banner, go to my post, Healing Ribbon Clouties

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