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Yorkshire and Cleveland Region RDA

Middleton Park


Soapy arrived at Middleton Park RDA around 6/7 years ago and quickly became a firm favourite with the clients because she was ‘safe’. She is a very laid back horse who will do her best to please (although she can be a bit stubborn occasionally)!!! She was always being requested by the clients and had a very busy life.

This busy life gradually caused Soapy to become a bit withdrawn and her appetite started to go and she lost some of her ‘zest for life’. This was around Spring/Summer 2015.


Following the loss of her pony approx 10 years Jemma (who has a deteriorating congenital heart disorder) also lost some of her ‘zest for life’ and her Cardiac Consultant recommended that we find somewhere for Jemma to go where she could ride again. Middleton Park RDA was recommended and we booked a lesson and we were still booking lessons 6 years later.

Jemma gained some success with her riding, attending competitions, doing some Para-dressage and also riding ponies/horses owned by others. Jemma qualified for Hartpury 5 years running, keeping improving her position until in 2013 Jemma and Harry were fortunate to be Grade III winners (seniors) at the RDA National Championships. Harry was owned by Helena Tucker who currently works at MPEC. 

In January 2015 Jemma had a heart operation which did not go entirely to plan as there were complications. Five weeks in hospital and then re-admitted in May for another procedure by which time Jemma had lost all muscle and stamina. She was not fit to ride her own pony so we reluctantly sold him and decided she needed a pony that would be patient with her recovery.


Anna (MPEC Manager) and Cathy (ex MPEC RDA Manager) put their heads together and at the end of July 2015 Anna rang and asked us if we were interested in having Soapy on long term permanent loan as they were looking for a home for her. Jemma knew Soapy (having jumped her at the RDA National Championships the first year they allowed jumping) and immediately said YES!!

We collected Soapy from MPEC at 12.00 pm 8th August 2015 and took her to her new home. The first time Jemma rode her she needed help to mount and could only sit on her for 5 minutes but with patience and perseverance they have gradually improved together. Both Soapy and Jemma only do ‘light’ work but it suits them both. They have two lessons a week with a very patient trainer and are making good progress.

Soapy and Jemma's Milestones so far are:

March 2016 - competed in first Intro competition at Wakefield RDA together

April 2016 – took part in Para Dressage training at Unicorn Centre

May 2016 - Soapy rode the Maypole Parade at Ossett

May 2016 – Soapy and Jemma competed at MPEC in the RDA National Champs Qualifiers – and Qualified

(This was their first canter test together and Jemma had only started cantering Soapy 4 weeks earlier)

May 2016 – Soapy and Jemma competed at Manor Grange Stud in their first affiliated competition


NONE of this would have been possible without the help of the RDA charity, employees and volunteers– thank you so much. We have had so much support and encouragement from the MPEC staff who have gone above and beyond our expectations and consequently we have always tried to give ‘something’ back.