Skip to content

Our Volunteers

Volunteers are critical to everything we do. We could have dozens of ponies available but without a team of willing volunteers each week we would be unable to do anything.



We are always interested to hear from potential volunteers.

Students volunteering for RDA can count their involvement towards their Duke of Edinburgh Award or the Pony Club’s Young Equestrian Leaders Award.

You are welcome to arrange to come and see what we do – by prior arrangement only please-Contact Us.

Roles can involve any or all of the following:

  • ‘Horsey’ people confident to lead ponies, check tack and ready the pony for a rider.
  • Side walkers to help the riders and encourage them.
  • Preparing the arena for the afternoon or clearing away at the end of the sessions.
  • Looking after our tack, changing room and equipment.
  • Ensuring riders stirrups and leathers are the correct size and hats are fitting correctly.
  • Helping with refreshments.
  • Trailer drivers for the ponies.
  • Fund raising activities.

Benefits for you

  • Learn new skills.
  • Help to make a difference.
  • Meet like minded people.
  • Be part of a team.
  • Keep fit!
  • Boost your CV.



Training for Volunteers

Hope in the Valley is committed to high standards of coaching, care and safety for riders, ponies and volunteers. We achieve this by ensuring that all volunteers are trained for the tasks they undertake.

  • New volunteers are required to attend an induction and initial training session.
  • RDA National offers a range of on-line courses for volunteers. For more information:
  • RDA South East Region also provide training courses both online and at various locations in the south-east. These are available to volunteers who want to expand their knowledge. Their courses currently on offer can be found on their training page here: RDA South East Region
  • We organise an annual in-house training session.
  • Some volunteers may want to progress to become coaches. Full support and assistance is given to those wishing to pursue this.
  • Our coaches are required to keep up to date with Child Protection and First Aid as part of their continuing professional development.   Any volunteer can attend these courses too.

Volunteer Your Pony

Most of the ponies used in our weekly sessions are loaned to us by their owners.

Here are three of our current equine volunteers:


Ru or Rudolf is a 13 year old 13.2hh cob kindly lent to us by Chrissy Wells of South Brockwells Farm. He leads a very active life at the farm and takes most things in his stride. Ru’s calmness is ideal for our nervous riders. His height means that volunteers are able to assist riders without having to reach too high whilst his cob stature allows him to accommodate our smallest to mid size riders.


Olde Oaks William or Billy is a 22 year old New Forest owned by Jane Walsh who continues to be generous lending her ponies to the group. Billy is 13.2hh and is an accomplished in hand veteran as well as a regular Pony Club participant. Billy is a little more responsive than Ru but equally dependable. He is rewarding for those riders who want to go up a gear. He is a good height for our volunteers to work with and a useful size for our small and lighter medium sized riders.


Swordale Violet Lady is a recent recruit. She is a 14 year old 15.1hh mix of cob, Shire and Clydesdale and is owned by Miranda Dart. Lady lives on a local farm, hacks out and takes part in low key local events. When at RDA she really enjoys being with the riders and volunteers. Lady is suitable for our riders who require less support and who are happy with a bigger, more forward going ride.

If you have a pony who is sound, sane and kind and who may be suitable for us, please Contact Us.

We always take plenty of time with a new four legged volunteer so that they are introduced slowly to the new environment. Many will come a number of times for a good look around. We want everyone to be confident that the horse is settled and will be happy with side walkers and a rider who may ask them different questions from those they are used to.

Expenses are paid for transport mileage and other benefits may be available depending on how much RDA work the pony undertakes.

We are always keen to recruit new equines.