The BDHRA is entirely led by volunteers. We are a diverse and inclusive organisation and welcome individuals from a wide range of backgrounds. We look for enthusiastic people with different skills, not everyone is horsey! We foster a community spirit.
We also encourage volunteers from industry on a day release basis and currently have boys volunteering with us from Bedford School. Volunteers must be over 16 years old.
If you would like to volunteer please contact our Liaison Officer, Gill Smith.
I first heard about BDHRA in September 2016 when I met Gill. We got chatting and she invited me along to see if I would enjoy it and become a volunteer. Needless to say I did, enjoy it that is. Not only do I feel that I am giving a little bit back to the world, helping to give some joy to children who have more struggles than most of us in life, but also I get my “fix” of being around horses.
The timing of meeting Gill was perfect as I had just stopped working (after far too many years to mention – I’m now in my 60s!), as a management consultant, and although I play golf, which takes up big lumps of time, I really wanted to do something. I can still remember my first day, walking into the reception room attached to the indoor school, it was lunch time and all the volunteers were chatting, eating their lunches, the weekly raffle was being drawn and I felt like the new girl. I was quickly made to feel welcome and joined Gill for the afternoon session consisting of 3 half hour rides with up to 10 riders per ride. It was interesting to see how the children engaged and communicated with the horses, even those that are non-verbal, and to witness the fun it gave them.
I am comfortable around horses as I used to have my own (shared with my sister) through my childhood and loved the feeling of freedom as well as getting a good workout. We spent many hours riding through the woods, with our friends having a great time. Later I used to compete. Cross country was always my favourite although also the most scary. So for me I just love being able to spend time with horses again, especially with Muffin who is a rather single minded small pony who is just wonderful with the children. There are always plenty of things to do - leading one of the horses, being a side helper who looks after the rider, clearing the fields, filling hay nets etc. There is something for everyone, whatever you are comfortable with.
My name is Sarah, I am 45 years old. I have lived in Willington for the past 15 Years. I have been around horses since I was a little girl. I saved up for my first pony when I was 9. I was lucky enough to have him in my life until I was 34.
My husband and I then had twin girls and our lives took a new and very exciting path. Our daughters are now 11 years old and have a busy school life. My work days reduced to 2 days a week so I decided I now had the opportunity to become a volunteer at the BDHRA.
I saw an advert in our village magazine back in September 2018 saying they were looking for volunteers so I called the number and am so glad I did.
Now every Wednesday during term time I walk up to the riding school for about 9.15am to help get the ponies in from the field, groom them and tack them up ready for the first ride of the day.
There’s always time for a nice cup of coffee and a catch up with all the other helpers before the first school arrives.
The children I think gain so much from coming to the riding school. From what may sometimes be a very nervous start, they normally soon start to relax, smile, laugh and feel at home on the ponies.
I love being around ponies and children so it’s a bit of a no brainer for me. The other volunteers are a lovely group of people and I enjoy staying to have my lunch with them before returning home to get ready for my own children to come home from school. However, many stay on for the afternoon rides as well.
My girls and I enjoy helping at the riding schools summer fete and like trying to raise money in other ways if we can for the riding school.