Our StructureOur Structure
Shiresmill Therapy Riding Centre is a member group of Riding for the Disabled Association Incorporating Carriage Driving (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, Scottish Registered 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.
My 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.
Carole CooneyIn 2019, after nearly 20 years of management and doing long commutes, hours in meetings and staring at computer screens, I decided that I wanted to get back to my roots and to do something that gave more back to the community. I took a gamble, left my job and promised myself a couple of months away from everything to do the outdoor things that I love with my trusted beagle companion Murdo.A good friend, who knows how much of an animal lover I am, recommended that I get in touch with Shiresmill. Having not ridden much since I was a lot younger, I tentatively went along to introduce myself – the glorious smell of horses and tack immediately took me back to my youth and banished any nerves I had - and the lovely, welcoming greeting I received made me feel right at home. I immediately knew this was where I wanted to be! I started volunteering and I’ve never looked back - and now that I’ve started another full time job, I condense my working hours so I can still come along to Shiresmill. I love it, the day I volunteer is the best day of the week! I took up the reins of Secretary from Aileen in September 2020 and I have a lot to learn, but everyone is so supportive!
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 and i also administer the group pony sponsorships.
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 have been a part of RDA for over 10 years and joined Shiresmill in 2018 when I moved up to Scotland to study. Shiresmill is like a big family open to volunteers and participants from all backgrounds and walks of life. I find volunteering at Shiresmill extremely rewarding, enjoyable and no two days are the same! I am always amazed at the interactions and bonds that form between the horses and participants and the enjoyment they get out of each session.
When I am not at Shiresmill, I am currently completing a PhD in pest resistance management in UK horticulture. Within the Shiresmill team I am a trainee coach, help run the social media accounts 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.
Social Media Coordinator
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 part of the social media team. This involves me helping with our group’s social media accounts by updating our website, Facebook page and Instagram account.
When I retired as an Early years Officer, 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!
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