Our StructureOur Structure
Shiresmill Therapy Riding Centre is a member group of Riding for the Disabled (www.rda.org.uk). As such we comply with all current legislation regarding Health and Safety, safeguarding children and protected adults, risk assessment, fire and accident procedures as advised by RDA UK.
We are a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation, Charity Number SCO28672.
Shiresmill Therapy Riding is governed by a Board of Trustees with a maximum of 11 people. We have regular meetings throughout the year and welcome suggestions by all riders, parents and carers, and all our volunteers.
Our members are divided into two categories dependent on whether the individual wishes to become more involved in the running of the group attending the AGM and having voting rights or not.
Chair and Safeguarding Officer
I have a background in Mental Health Nursing and have experience of working with young people and adults.
I am new to RDA work having joined the Group in 2015. It is something that I wished I discovered sooner as it is such a rewarding experience seeing the positive impact that horse riding has on our riders. From a personal perspective it's also a great experience spending time with our amazing horses and ponies.
Part of my role within the Group is to ensure that Safeguarding Policies and Procedures are adhered to, that all of our volunteers have PVG scheme membership, to handle any complaints or allegations of abuse should they arise, and to co-ordinate our wonderful team of volunteers.
Rachel StewartMy background is in accountancy having trained as a Chartered Accountant in Edinburgh.My first experience of Shiresmill was as a parent of a child with additional support needs. Due to the high demand we waited for almost a year for a space. In 2015 my son started therapy riding and it was well worth the wait. It was eye opening to realise how much time and preparation was involved for just one session. Besides the head count requirements of having a coach, leader and side walkers for every session there is training, preparation time, pony welfare, site maintenance, fundraising (to list just a few areas) that goes on behind the scenes.It is truly humbling to see the dedication and enthusiasm that all volunteers give to ensuring that Shiresmill can continue to provide beneficial therapy to individuals whatever their ability. In this environment they can set aside difficulties and focus on what they can do.Seeing this first hand gave me the motivation to give something back and was why I volunteered to take on the role as Treasurer.
Aileen NicolsonI am retired having worked in banking for 42 years. After a year of retirement I felt I needed to go out and do something. So what better than to volunteer at Shiresmill where I can fulfill my love of horses and help the riders have fun and a laugh. It is great to see the difference in the riders as they improve and enjoy the rides. It is very satisfying and rewarding meeting other volunteers, children, parents and carers and looking after the ponies.
I have been involved in RDA for many years and began volunteering when a previous Physiotherapist moved South. I then completed the training to enable me to offer hippotherapy and also qualified as an RDA coach. In 2018, I officially retired as a physiotherapist but still offer therapy riding as a coach. I am a training advisor for the Region for new and current coaches.
I thoroughly enjoy the lovely enabling atmosphere at RDA sessions and am still often surprised by the amazing things that happen when a horse and human meet. As a retired physiotherapist I feel it is a movement session that is hard to replicate by other more traditional methods.
I love seeing the joy on a riders face when he or she starts to control the pony. I hope to encourage many more therapists to become involved.
During my career with a large insurance company in Edinburgh, I worked in IT, then Facilities, finally moving into HR as Fleet & Expenses Manager.
I retired in October 2009 and found I really wanted to do something worthwhile but outdoors. In April 2010, I came across a recruitment leaflet for Shiresmill and I’ve never looked back. It’s been an amazing journey of discovery working for a charity. There are so many elements that go into to making Shiresmill the wonderful place it is. Working with the riders and ponies is so satisfying, as is working in a group and learning new skills.
From 2011 to 2016 I was a Trustee and Secretary and it was a great experience having the opportunity to do some major fundraising for three large projects. I stood as a Trustee again in May 2017. On behalf of the Treasurer, I record and bank monies received.
In 2013, I became County Chairman for Fife and then in 2015, Fife merged with Edinburgh & Lothians, so I’m now County Chairman for Edinburgh, Fife and the Lothians and a member of the Regional Committee.
I started volunteering in 2009 as part of my Duke of Edinburgh’s Award when I was 14 years old and since then I have never looked back. I find volunteering at Shiresmill very rewarding, especially seeing the enjoyment gained from interacting with the horse and both the physical and broader health benefits gained through Therapy Riding. During my time volunteering, I have completed a degree in Biomedical Sciences, competed for the Edinburgh University Equestrian team and I am currently studying medicine.
Within the team I am a Coach and the Volunteer Coordinator. As part of my role as Volunteer Coordinator, I keep a record of the active volunteers, help support our volunteers and answer any questions about volunteering at our centre. I also help with our group’s social media accounts by updating our website, Facebook page and Instagram account.
When I retired as an Early years Officer over 5 years ago, I began volunteering at Shiresmill. The opportunity to work with ponies and children was too good to pass up! I am on the committee as the Event Organiser and along with other volunteers, organise events and fundraising throughout the year including our Fun Day in September and Christmas with the Ponies in December. It's great fun and extremely rewarding work and I would recommend anyone with a few hours to spare come along and join us at Shiresmill!
Jane ConnorMy background is Management Accounting working in both the electronics and oil and gas industries.In 2018 I took early retirement and saw that Shiresmill RDA were looking for volunteers. I joined the group as a Thursday volunteer and in 2019 became a trustee.I have experience with horses having had ponies as a child and then my daughter having her own pony, which I have now inherited.It's so rewarding to see the bond both adults and children have with the ponies and great to see the progress the riders make.
Pony Sponsorship Organiser
For 25 years I was Postgraduate Secretary in the Department of Management & Organization in a Scottish University. I retired in 2009, taking early retirement (and have never looked back!)
I started riding about the age of ten and was one of the first members of the Forth Valley Pony Club – during this time I attended many Pony Club rallies, Pony Club camp and also took part in musical rides at Alloa, Stirling and Dunblane. I joined RDA in 2007 as a volunteer after taking up riding again – and love it. I help on Monday evenings, Thursday evenings and Friday mornings but will help out at other times if needed. My favourite pony at Shiresmill is Harry!
As well as lots of other tasks I work on at Shiresmill, I look after ‘Sponsor a Pony’, our Ragbag collection and our used stamp collection. I also get very involved when we take young riders to dressage competitions – and they do extremely well!
Volunteering is a really good way to continue with my love of horses and to help riders overcome their disabilities and meet their aims.
The coaches at Shiresmill are all RDA qualified Group Coaches who regularly update, meet and attend Regional and County training days. In addition they are all assessed by the Regional Coach regularly in order to ensure that they are current with all procedures and coaching skills.
Weekly Coaches Schedule
Monday Evening Class - Sheena Campbell
Tuesday Morning Classes - Lesley Furnell
Wednesday Morning - Lesley Furnell
Thursday Morning - Ruth Thompson
Thursday Evening - Eileen Turnbull and Alison McKilligan
Friday Morning - Lesley Furnell
Saturday Morning - Linda McCloy, Sheena Campbell and Jade Sheil