THE PRINCESS Royal trotted into Warwickshire to launch a national coaching academy to train those working with disabled horse riders.
The Princess Royal Coaching Academy, on behalf of Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA), will include training for newly appointed ‘coach mentors’, was officially launched by Her Royal Highness Princess Anne, on a visit to the RDA’s National Training Centre in Shrewley.
The scheme aims to increase the number of coaches moving to advanced training, which in turn will increase the number of disabled people RDA can support, helping to tackle waiting lists and unmet demand for its services across the UK.
Speaking to RDA UK volunteers, coaches and staff, The Princess Royal referenced the early pioneers of RDA Coaching: “It was that early understanding and example of standards that has made the organisation what it is. And for those of you who have followed in those footsteps and developed in your own ways in your own groups and in your own areas, there is a huge amount we have learned. I hope you will agree that the Coaching Academy is an appropriate use of that experience – and will make all of that experience go a little bit further, to encourage more people to take their places in the RDA, and to make that change for each of those individuals that they come across.”
The academy is named after The Princess Royal, on the 50th anniversary of her becoming the RDA’s patron in 1971 before becoming president in 1985.
RDA CEO Ed Bracher said: “We are enormously excited to launch our new coaching academy. Our coaches lie at the heart of the RDA’s work and through the academy, we aim to nurture talent, innovation and excellence. This is a core part of our plan to dramatically increase the number of disabled people we can support by our 60th anniversary in 2029.
“We are delighted that The Princess Royal has agreed to lend her name to the academy, 50 years after she first became involved with RDA.”
The Princess also visited Warwick Boys School where she met a handful of local charities including Leamington-based homeless charity Helping Hands.
CEO Lianne Kirkman said: “Her Royal Highness, Princess Anne, was so friendly and spent time chatting with our team, finding out about our work in the local community through the Covid pandemic and over the last seven years.
“It was an honour to meet her and we are just so grateful for the opportunity.
“It’s not been an easy year by far, but moments of acknowledgements like these are just worth treasuring!”