Who we are

About us

The Rossway Group is one of the founding groups within The Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA)  . Formed in 1968 and now based at Shardeloes Farm Equestrian Centre, Amersham, RosswayRDA provides unique opportunities for people with all forms of disabilities – physical and cognitive – through riding therapy.

Riding gives people with limited mobility the chance to stretch and move muscles in a way that may not be possible with other forms of exercise. The rider’s position in the saddle and the movement of the horse is a therapy in itself, improving balance, co-ordination and muscle tone. Riding also gives a great sense of freedom and the empathy, which develops between our riders and their horses, is lovely to see. Confidence often improves, along with increased self-esteem and well-being.

We run most of our sessions on a Thursday afternoon during term time in groups of 1 to 5 riders. We use a purpose-built indoor riding school and have access to rides through the adjacent fields and woods on the farm. Cost is kept to a minimum through the generous support of sponsors and donors.

Our Coaches are fully qualified and we have a wonderful team of enthusiastic and experienced volunteers who are also trained in all aspects of horse care and safety procedures. Appropriate DBS checks are run on everyone attached to the Group.


Rossway RDA is overseen by a group of Trustees who are responsible for the organisation and running of the group, and cumulatively have excellent communication, teaching and equine skills – not to mention years of practise!

Our Coaches are all RDA qualified and regularly re-assessed.

Our Committee comprises the Coaches, Pat Allison, Ros Goose & Heather James. The Committee is responsible to the Trustees for the smooth day to day running of the group, for the welfare of the horses and safeguarding.






Safeguarding Officers

History of RDA

The Rossway Group was formed in 1968 by Mrs Mary Rose Hadden-Paton and her sister-in-law Mrs Pam Garthforth Bles and was named after Rossway House, Mary Rose’s beautiful country home set high in the Chilterns, just outside Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire. Each Thursday afternoon, Mary Rose, Pam and others would teach disabled children how to ride on a pony and a donkey both belonging to one of the founders, plus a donkey and ponies loaned for the day by friends. This they did on the lawn in front of the house and then moved during the winter, to Pendley indoor riding school (which now houses the Pendley Court Theatre).

In 1972 the group, having become very successful locally, began to use Hastoe Hill Riding Stables during the winter months and, excepting one or two short-term moves to other local stables, made it their base until December 2017 when closure of the riding school prompted another move to neighbouring Shardeloes Farm Equestrian in Amersham, Bucks. We meet up mainly on Thursday afternoons during term time to teach riders of all ages and abilities. Rossway RDA currently owns 3 horses and 3 ponies who are cared for and used by Shardeloes Farm Equestrian in their riding school when not being used by Rossway.

Our riders join us either as individuals, or in groups from local schools, colleges and homes and when the opportunity arises, we try to take our riders out to a friendly competition to sample life outside the riding school. To date, we have been involved in fancy dress shows at Windsor Horse Show and dressage and riding challenges at Oaklands in St Albans, the RDA Regional competitions and gymkhanas for the younger members. We hold improvement badge sessions for all our riders, which is a wonderful measure of their abilities, along with Achievement Award days. We try to hold Open Days regularly so that we can showcase our riders’ and ponies’ improvements and abilities to parents or carers.

Recollections of times with Rossway RDA by David Wright – one of our original riders from the Rossway House days – and who has only just recently stopped riding with us:

“In the summer of 1968, Rossway RDA was formed. To begin with, as I recall, there were about five or six riders in total and I was lucky enough to be one of those. Riding was at 5 pm and for the first year was summer time only as there was no indoor school. During the second year, in the winter months, riding took place at an old indoor school at what is now The Court Theatre, Pendley, just outside Tring.

It was very cold and damp and four ponies were transported there each week, again in the evening. The first pony I rode at Rossway was called Lemon, a lovely grey Dartmoor pony lent by a neighbour to Rossway each Thursday.

Other ponies I remember were Lollipop, Merrylegs, and Rosie, all bought in by other helpful owners. During those first few years I remember going on a trip to the Royal Tournament at Earls Court and we all travelled together in two Landrovers and sat about three rows behind the Queen; it was very grand. I think this must have been about 1972.

I also remember going to Pony Club Camp with Rosie which was hard work with feeding, grooming, mucking out, cleaning tack and, of course, riding. I get a little stiff now and my disability sadly prevents me from riding any longer, but my memories are as fresh as ever.”

Rossway House – where it all began