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Barrow Farm
Riding and Carriage Driving For the Disabled
Registered Charity 1139280
Welcome to Barrow Farm Riding and Carriage Driving for the Disabled

Our aim at Barrow Farm is to enable people with special needs and disabilities to develop their abilities and enrich their lives through riding.

Barrow Farm is a specially equipped riding centre in Mid Essex providing the opportunity for people with special needs and disabilities to ride. Barrow Farm is a registered charity.

Why not take a look round our website and meet the wonderful team that makes it all possible, the instructors, ponies, riders, supporters and volunteers. Come and join our team!

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Such a Wonderful Response After Tack Stolen

It was a terrible shock to discover that all our bridles and saddles had been stolen during Monday night, 7 December, which meant that all rides had to be cancelled until further notice. However the response from people and organisations locally and throughout the country has been amazing. Clare did us proud giving interviews to Essex Radio and the local press and we also appeared on Anglia News Equipment stolen from disabled riding centre. We have been overwhelmed by the offers to lend or donate bridles and saddles which means we will be able to reopen for some rides earlier than expected as although we were insured it will take time to replace the lost tack. We have also received donations via the website and directly at Barrow Farm which will enable us to install better security to protect our property in future. A HUGE THANK YOU to you all for your support and kindness.

The Carol Service will definitely be going ahead on Saturday 12 December and we will be celebrating that fact that the majority of people are goodhearted and generous.

Please see our Facebook page for regular updates.

Barrow Farm Newsletter - November 2015

Carol Service - Saturday, 12th December 2015 - 6.30pm for 7.00pm

The Highwood chior will be joining us again this year. Everyone welcome.

Fun Dog Show - Sunday, 20 September 2015

Many thanks to eveyone who supported our April dog show where we raised just over £1000 towards Barrow Farm's running costs. We are pleased to announce our next Fun Dog Show will be on Sunday 20 September 2015. The show will be held in the indoor riding school so will go ahead whatever the weather. We will be serving refreshments, including filled rolls and snacks. Friends of Wallace Kennels will be joining us plus various stalls. Please contact us if you would like to sponsor a class (£10 each) or sponsor the trophies.

Fun Dog Show Schedule

Barrow Farm Newsletter - June 2015

Please see our latest newsletter, packed full of pictures of our riders at competition and loads more news about our latest activities and forthcoming events:

The Fun Walk Trust Logo

Barleylands Farm - Crays Hill, Billerciay - Sunday Afternoon - 12th July 2015

We are looking for sponsored walkers/families for this fun-filled afternoon, including music, BBQ, and large barn full of stalls - including our own. Local businesses and corporate sponsors will add a bonus to any money raised for Barrow Farm by our walkers and we will be supported by Sarah King, World Power Lifting Champion 2013, Silver & Bronze Medallist 2014.

photo of The Fun Walk Trust 2014 walk

There are 2 walks to choose from:

  • 3 miles - circular public walk around Crays Hill, including a couple of stiles; or
  • Shorter walk within Barleylands Farm - suitable for toddlers, families, buggies and wheelchairs.

The event starts at 12pm with the opening of the BBQ. If you are interested in walking and would like further details and a Sponsorship Form please contact Linda Poole via email

Fun Dog Show - Sunday, 26th April 2015

We are pleased to announce our next Fun Dog Show will be on Sunday 26 April 2015. The show will be held in the indoor riding school so will go ahead whatever the weather. We will be serving refreshments, including filled rolls and snacks. Friends of Wallace Kennels will be joining us plus various stalls. Please contact us if you would like to sponsor a class (£10 each) or sponsor the trophies (£35).

Fun Dog Show Schedule

Term Dates for Riding

We finish riding for Christmas on Saturday, 20th December 2014 and reopen on Monday, 5th January 2015.

Last ride in
December 2014
First ride in
January 2015
Monday Riders15th5th
Tuesday Riders16th6th
Wednesday Riders17th7th
Thursday Riders18th8th
Friday Riders19th9th
Saturday Riders20th10th

Anne receives her MBE

Anne Mitchell receives MBE

On 15th October Anne went to Buckingham Palace to collect her MBE! She was awarded this in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for her outstanding work at Barrow Farm. Anne has worked here since 1976 initially helping her parents and then gradually taking over the leadership with skill and dedication. Within this role the benefits she has provided to disabled children and adults and to the local community are legion. She has taught and supported hundreds of children and adults to appreciate riding and driving and just being with horses and ponies. She has enabled endless children to achieve, something many of them find impossible in other areas of their lives.

Anne tells us she had a wonderful day and HRH The Princess Royal remembered her from coming to open the then new indoor school in 1984! Despite very inclement weather in the days leading up to her big day the sun shone on her and her mother Mary, brother Michael and sister-in-law Maria who accompanied her to the Palace. It was great that Mary was able to go as well as she has been so involved in Barrow Farm over all of those years as well.

The photo shows Anne in her finery - doesn’t she look fabulous?! We all want to know why she doesn’t dress like that every day?! As you know Anne doesn’t like ‘blowing her own trumpet, but I have asked her to write a little something about her very special day. Well done, Anne, we are all so proud of you!

Anne Mitchell receives MBE

"It was a lovely day; everything about it was exciting and memorable. Michael drove us up and we all got very excited about driving into the palace inner quadrangle to park. The most exclusive car park we will ever be in. As a recipient I went a different way to mingle with others and attend the briefing about how to behave during the investiture. My mother, Michael and Maria went to take their seats in the ballroom where the investiture is held. Finally the moment came, it was my turn and I felt quite nervous. Walking in to such a beautiful room, full of guests with beautiful music playing, a moment to remember forever.

To finish the day off we had lunch by the Thames, a lovely view and nice food.

I would like to thank Barrow Farm Trustees for nominating me for the Award, and the many people who supported the nomination. Barrow Farm is and always has been a team, that team has changed over the years but has always been there to support me and I want them to feel that my MBE is for them all, the Barrow Farm team, 1976-2014. In particular my thanks to my mother Mary and my late father Peter Mitchell. He would have been so proud."


I have had a fantastic year, as well as an MBE I have been awarded an Honorary Degree from the University of Essex. The ceremony was at Writtle College Graduation at Chelmsford Cathedral and I had to give a short speech, very scary, the Cathedral was packed. It is wonderful to have the work of Barrow Farm recognised. My thanks to Writtle College for showing such wonderful appreciation of the work I and the team do here at Barrow Farm. Over the years a mutually beneficial partnership between Writtle College and Barrow Farm has developed, many students have attended on equine and animal care placements. We have benefited from their youth and enthusiasm; and they have developed communication skills and an understanding of disability.


Opening of refurbished Riding school November 8th

On Saturday 8th November we welcomed our MP Sir Alan Hazlehurst and the Mayor and Mayoress of Chelmsford to officially open the recent work on our indoor school. Thanks to a Sport England grant we have a new roof and a new riding surface.

Opening of refurbished riding school photo

It was a lovely day, lots of people came to see us and enjoyed homemade cakes and hot drinks. Riders showed off their skills and the 12.00 ride were presented with RDA test certificates by the mayor.

Kath Hatwell photo

Congratulations to Kath Hatwell

Part time coach Kath Hatwell has passed UKCC Level Three in RDA Coaching. She has worked very hard for this and we are all very proud of her.

Funding News

In August we were thrilled to receive £1,500 from The Heart of Essex Awards, coming 2nd in the public vote.

In October we were shortlisted for the Provide Foundation grants and invited to attend the award ceremony. A wonderful evening for local charities and we were delighted to receive a grant for pony keep for £4,905. A big thanks to Provide.

Thanks to The Walter Farthing trust for awarding us £2,400 to buy an Arenamate. This is a piece of equipment to keep our new floor in mint condition.

Arenamate photo

Sport England Grant

Sport England Lottery logo

Please see our newsletter for news about our fabulous grant from Sport England Inspired facilities Fund. An amazing £49,560 to repair our leaking indoor school roof and replace the worn out floor. Huge thanks to our treasurer Gill Philpott who did the lion’s share of the work.

Barrow Farm group photo

New Stables built but, money still needed...

Also read about our stable project. Last minute funding of £8,303. from the Chiron Trust via Essex Community Foundation means we have reached the target for the stables. Our thanks to them and our other main stable funders.

Thanks also to some riders and parents who donated, thanks to all for your patience during the works, some rides had to be cancelled.

To keep in touch with daily life here visit and like our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter.

Rebecca Rynor photo

Endeavour award for Becks

One Oaklands rider Rebecca Rynor (Becks) was very unlucky and had to ride a different horse at the last minute. She made a huge effort and kept a positive attitude throughout. We were very impressed with her and have awarded her a RDA Endeavour certificate. Well done Becks.

Open Day and Grand Garden Opening May 17th

What a brilliant action packed day we had here at Barrow Farm. The weather was perfect, the horses, ponies, riders and volunteers didn’t put a foot or hoof wrong all day. Riders took grade tests, level 1 RDA show jumping tests, performed musical rides and demonstrated Countryside Challenge obstacles.

Our work based learning students performed an exciting musical ride and little ponies Tawny and Rocket a musical pair display.

There were lots of delicious cakes, a huge thanks to all bakers and to kitchen volunteers.

The highlight of the day was the lunchtime opening of our wonderful new garden behind the indoor school. We were thrilled to welcome Kate Fisher, daughter of Eric Fisher, President Europe of Valero Energy Ltd who officially opened our garden. In an inspiring speech Kate shared with us her love of horses and her understanding of how important and beneficial interaction with them is for all our riders. Kate and her father were very impressed with Barrow Farms facilities and the achievements of our riders. See newsletter for more about garden story,

photo of Kate Fisher cutting ribbon to new garden
Clare & Isobel

UKCC success for Clare and Isobel

We are delighted to congratulate Clare and Isobel on achieving their United Kingdom Coaching Certificate, Level 2 in R.D.A. specific coaching. It involved a four day course and final assessment at Penniwells RDA centre. They were assessed coaching a group lesson and an individual rider. Well done to both of them, they should be very proud of themselves, we certainly are.

Success of student placements

We are very pleased to have young people on work based learning placements from two local schools. St Martins in Brentwood and Hylands in Chelmsford. The students attend two days a week and receive training in all aspects of horse care. They also assist with the RDA rides, giving them an invaluable insight into the challenges faced by people with special needs and disabilities. As well as learning horse care they are learning how to interact with people of all ages and abilities, a real preparation for future work in whatever career they choose. We enjoy having them and hope the partnerships formed with the schools will continue. We have also built a strong relationship with Writtle College who administer the work based learning scheme and do all relevant checks on progress.

Our horses and ponies benefit from the variety the extra work with the students gives them and our RDA riders, especially the teenagers, benefit from interaction with people of their own age.

Dressage Anywhere

Friday afternoon riders Becks and Emily qualified for Dressage Anywhere Championship

Here are the girls with their ponies and score sheets. Dressage Anywhere is an online competition and they were able to compete by having the test videoed and sent off to be judged. They now go forward to compete in the Championship competition held during April and May. Congratulations to them and their coach Clare.

photo of Emily & Lula photo of Becks & Rhia

Dressage Anywhere is a wonderful opportunity for riders to get a taste of competition. Please ask your ride coach if you would like to have a go yourself of would like your son or daughter to. Competitions start again in the autumn.

Monday rider William Swire

Has also qualified for the Dressage Anywhere Championship. Congratulations to him and his coach Kath.

We hope they will be showing off their skills at Open Day.

photo of Emma & Lee Pearson

My lesson with Lee Pearson

On the 2nd March I went to Ocklandscollege to a dressage clinic with Lee Pearson. When Anne and the girls arrived with Lula Clare rode her to calm her down as she was really excited to be somewhere different. After Lula calmed down a bit I got on her. Once I was on we went into the ménage to get settled, Lula was looking around but, was very good.

I got settled and picked up my rains then it was time go in. I couldn’t believe I was about to have a lesson Lee Pearson! When we went in Lee Pearson gave Lula and I time to settle. Once we were settled I rode my dressage test. Afterwards Lee helped me with the parts I needed to improve. We worked on getting into the corners, 10m loops, free walk, getting Lula to walk on and turning down the centre line. Every time I didn’t get on the centre line Lee told me to do it again. We worked really hard on the walk, so much so when I got off Lula my leg hurt. Although Lee worked hard he made laugh, he didn’t make it too serious. It the end of the lesson, i got to wear Lee’s gold medal from London round my neck!!

I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who helped, it was amazing to have a lesson with Lee Pearson.

Companion Dog Show - Sunday, 4th May 2014

Our next fun dog show at Barrow Farm is on Sunday 4 May 2014 and will be held in the indoor riding school. Entries will be taken from 11am and judging starts at 12 noon. As well as the usual pedigree and novelty classes we will be running an Obedience Test throughout the day as something extra, but not to be taken too seriously. Please see schedule for details.

If you are interested in sponsoring the rosettes for any of the classes (£10 each class), or £35 to sponsor the trophies, please get in touch or add your details to the display at Barrow Farm. If you or anyone you know is interested in having a stall at the dog show in exchange for a class sponsorship, please let me know. Looking forward to another successful show. Jo mobile 07763343766.

RDA Competitions

PostboxOn the weekend of 13th/14th July Macie and Tawny went to Hartpury in Gloucestershire to take part in the National RDA Championships with their riders Lucy and Harry. As you may remember it was a scorching hot Saturday. Sally W and Isobel, who were driving the horsebox, had to get up early so that the ponies could beat the heat for the drive of over 4 hours. Luckily the roads were clear and they had arrived at Hartpury by midday so the ponies were able to spend the afternoon relaxing before their classes on Sunday.

It was a busy weekend this year as both Lucy and Harry were competing on the same day. This meant Clare had to be up early to plate Macie before Harry and Tawny did their Countryside Challange at 9.15. Tawny did ever so well and despite being in a field of grass, Tawny didn't eat either grass or props. Harry work really hard and did a really good job, especially picking the apple off the apple tree. The pair of them came 4th overall out of a big class, so well done to them. Lucy and Macie competed in dressage.


Lucy's first test was the partial vision test, there were only two juniors in the class which Lucy won by a considerable margin with only one senior getting a higher score than her. As usual Macie behaved herself impeccably on the day.

Next came Harry's dressage which was in one of the outdoor arena's. It was hard to tell who was the hottest, Harry, Clare, Sally W or Tawny. All I know was that Tawny felt it was too hot to walk very fast and Harry worked hard to keep him moving. The scores for the Countryside Challenge and the Dressage for Harry are combined for a class called Combined Training and Harry and Tawny came a very credible sixth. So well done to Harry, Tawny and all the team for a very good performance. Don't forget that this was Tawny's first National Championships. He really did behave himself rather well and made Anne very proud of him.


Then came Lucy's second dressage test which was the freestyle. This was a much bigger class with a wider ability of rider taking part. Lucy did exceptionally well to come second after performing a very accurate and pleasing test. I believe Lucy had a major role in devising her routine so a big congratulations to her and big pat on the back for all the hard work.


It was a fantastic weekend for all at Barrow Farm and we are very proud of both our ponies and the riders. We are always looking for more help at these events so please let us know if you would be interested in coming along to help us next year. (We have a great time with a picnic on the Saturday night). If you want to know more about it please talk to a member of staff. Video from the event will be coming soon so watch this space with more photos in the gallery below.

Hartpury 2013
Click on the thumbnail to see the photo album




Fundraising Appeal for New Stables

Our oldest block of stables was put up during the mid-1970's and although has served the group well is now reaching the end of its useful life with repairs no longer an option. The long and short of it is that we need new stables, which of course cost money. Gill has been frantically writing grants and submitting the necessary forms for planning permission but if anyone knows of anyone who would be interested in contributing please let us know.


Video of the month

Here is a taste of what we got up to at the RDA National Championships. You can see more of Tawny with Harry and Macie with Lucy on the ponies own pages.



Celebrate Jet's time at Barrow Farm

Jet has been at Barrow Farm 24 years and in the last year he has finally retired. He has worked very hard for the group, both riding and driving. This year at Open Day it was a special celebration of Jet's work with RDA. It was caught on film and broadcast on Blue Peter on 13th June. He is now enjoying his retirement spending plenty of time in the field with his friends and generally doing whatever makes him happy - he still comes running when he wants something!

Jet is going to be a special pony of the month soon and we are looking for your stories about him. Please email to:


Pony of the month is Rhia

All the latest from Rhia is at the bottom of this page.


Dates for your diary

If you have any queries about any of the events below please email

Saturday 14 December 2013 Christmas Carol Service


Have you thought of sponsoring one of our hardworking ponies

You can now sponsor our ponies online (in monthly payments) or via the traditional paper method. Currently Macie has the most sponsors, so how about sponsoring your favourite pony? Sponsoring a pony could not be easier and you will receive a certificate and updates about your pony. See the Sponsor a pony page for more details.


Pony of the month is Rhia

Rhia the pony of the month kindly gave an interview one sunny Saturday afternoon in April with the help of one of our teenage volunteers, Livvy and Rhia’s rider, Amie, so read on to find out more about Barrow Farms Blond Babe.


So what do you particularly like about living at Barrow Farm?
When I came to Barrow Farm I was not really used to life in a stable. But I love my stable at Barrow Farm, it’s clean and cosy and food turns up very regularly. You can’t ask for better, and my stable has a great view of the yard and all the goings on.
The people are lovely too, I get a daily pedicure, with all the dirt being picked out of my hooves and every day I get my blond mane and tail brushed and my coat groomed. It can take quite a long time to do the job thoroughly, as I have a lot of mane and tail. I do enjoy a brush and I think it is nice to look well groomed for when I am working.

What’s your favourite food and do you have to watch what you eat to stay in shape?
Besides the 24lb of hay I eat a day, that’s 3 bales of hay a week, I love carrots and pears as a treat, but of course nothing beats grass. Sally Waumsley the yard manager helps me to keep trim by watching my weight and making sure I don’t eat too much, it’s not healthy for us horses to get too fat, you know, and I do like to keep my waistline in shape.

Do you have a favourite film?
Amie and I agree you can’t beat the Sound of Music. I love those rolling hills and mountains, all that grass in the opening sequence of the film, mmm. Plus I am a Haflinger, and although I came from Holland to Barrow Farm, the breed is actually a mountain breed from Austria.

What is your favourite music?
I love to trot to In the Mood by Glenn Miller you should see my blond tail bobbing along to that in trot. But I enjoy a wide range of music anything with a good beat to move to suits me.

What is your favourite TV show?
Well, I am not sure I have a favourite, but Amie reckons you can’t beat a bit of Friends, and I agree it is great to have Friends in your life, to have fun with.

Thanks to Amie, Livvie and Gill for their help in producing Rhia's pony of the month article.

Click on the thumbnail to see her photo album




If you would like to support Rhia why don't you sponser her. See the Sponsor a pony page for more details.


Coming soon to the website - watch this space!

The next Pony of the Month is going to be Jet - we will be celebrating Jet's long life at Barrow Farm so please if anyone has any stories about Jet please email


Updated 11th August 2015

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Riding offers so many benefits, to find out more check out our Benefits of Riding page which also includes comments from riders on how riding has benefited them.