Royston’s Sarah receives top award for coaching horse riders with disabilities

Royston's Sarah Healing with Ed Bracher, chief executive of RDA UK. Picture: Veronica Newsom

Royston's Sarah Healing with Ed Bracher, chief executive of RDA UK. Picture: Veronica Newsom - Credit: Archant

A Royston woman who has taught horse riders with disabilities in Herts for a quarter of a century has been named Coach of the Year in a UK-wide competition.

Royston's Sarah Healing her award. Picture: Bella Craven

Royston's Sarah Healing her award. Picture: Bella Craven - Credit: Archant

Sarah Healing, who is the manager of Penniwells Riding for Disabled Centre in Elstree, won the award at a special RDA coaches conference held in Warwickshire.

She said: "Unbeknown to me, people from Penniwells RDA nominated me for the award - it then went to a judging panel who chose me as the winner from throughout the UK.

"I feel so proud to have been given this award for my coaching and privileged to be able to do a job I really enjoy every day. "To watch riders of all ages and abilities achieve their goals and aspirations is so rewarding."

When Sarah started at Penniwells, she intended to spend a year to add the experience to her wide-ranging equestrian qualifications. However she loved it so much that 25 years later she is still travelling from Royston to manage the busy yard in the south of the county. During her time there, Sarah has helped to develop Penniwells into one of the most efficient and successful riding for the disabled centres. In addition to coaching hundreds of riders with disabilities, she has helped a number of riders reach national and international standards. She is also involved with training coaches to progress along the RDA pathway.

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Sarah has lived in Royston since the early 2000s with her husband David and her 18-year-old daughter Olivia, who has been assisting at Penniwells for many years and is now also a qualified RDA coach herself.

Each year disabled riders from around the United Kingdom compete at regional level and the winning riders go on to the national championships which are held in Gloucestershire every July.

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Over the years Penniwells has had considerable success and this year proved to be an exceptional one with five riders becoming national champions.

Penniwells RDA Centre was established in 1980 and is reliant on the support of its volunteers throughout the week who help with leading and side walking the ponies and riders.

If anyone can spare an hour or two a week to help out then go to

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