Latest News from The Bays

Our big news for this month is that in early August we are launching ‘Pony Time’, which will offer our regular participants the opportunity to visit The Bays and spend a little time with one or two of our horses and ponies. 'Pony Time' will be a regular, outdoor activity, with sessions at pre-booked times, 5 days a week on Tuesday to Saturday mornings. The horse or pony will be tied up in a small paddock where participants will be able to stroke them, take photos and feed them a carrot or apple. We also plan to include activities that will contribute to the RDA proficiency certificates.

This is the first step in offering alternatives to our usual riding and driving activities that will allow us to welcome back our regular participants whilst maintaining social distancing. We also hope it is something that everybody will very much enjoy. If you would like to take part and you haven’t contacted us already please either telephone 01473 737087 (leave a message if there is no-one in the office) or send us an email.

A huge thank you to Glenny Stone one of our regular participants and a tireless fundraiser, who recently took on the challenge of making and selling 500 face coverings to raise money for us. The Co-op on Hamilton Road, Felixstowe kindly allowed Glenny a stall to sell to their customers which has been a run-away success raising over £1,000 to-date. Glenny isn’t stopping there though and she has now updated her target to 1000 face coverings! Check out Glenny’s challenge and how you can get your hands on a handmade face covering, available in an array of colours and patterns, at: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/glenicestone.

Glenny has become something of a local media star, featuring on BBC Radio Suffolk’s Lesley Dolphin Show on 17th July (available on ‘listen again’, just after 2:31:00 into the broadcast, until 6th August) and again on 24th July (available on ‘listen again’, just after 2:37:00 into the broadcast, until 13th August). When she is not busy sewing, selling or starring on the radio Glenny also runs our Support a Pony Scheme.

Many of you will have read about and even joined in with, the boom in cycling during the lockdown. Following the cancellation of this year's Prudential Ride London charity event, the organisers have created a cycling challenge open to everyone throughout the UK.

The idea is to sign-up for either a 19, 46 or 100 mile cycle ride, or a ‘free cycle' event that allows you to set your own challenge (minimum distance 1km) on the wheels of your choice: bikes, scooters, skateboards, trikes, balance bikes, roller skates, wheelchairs (e-bikes are fine too). Events should be completed on the weekend of 15/16 August and will raise sponsorship for the charity of your choice. If you would like to take part, head over to:
https://myridelondon.co.uk where you can register (there is no cost to participate) and create your fund-raising page. You’ll be able to download the RideLondon app from there too, so you can track, share and log your ride.

Everyone aged 18 or over who registers will have the option of being entered into a competition that has 25 top-quality prizes including a brand-new Brompton bicycle valued at more than £1,000 and top-of-the-range cycling equipment.

At this time of year, we are often asked why the horses and ponies are wearing masks and even rugs, which may seem a peculiar thing to do in hot weather. Unfortunately, the summer heat brings out the flying and biting insects (horrid things) that can plague the otherwise idyllic outdoor life of our lovely horses and ponies. So, while fly masks may give the appearance of horsey bandits (or 4-legged super heroes), they keep the flies, that are attracted to the moisture, out of their eyes. Too many flies and eyes can become weepy and inflamed so fly masks make for happier horses. They are made of a fine mesh and are very easy to see through.

Horses that have pink noses have masks with nose covers to protect their skin from sun burn. We often apply a spot of sun cream too, although this can be a messy process with more of it ending up on the volunteers’ shirts than the ponies’ noses. Milly has a particular fondness for the kind of sun lotion that smells of coconut – it’s that food theme again!

Like the masks, fly rugs are made of lightweight mesh material which is usually a light colour to reflect the heat of the sun, particularly helpful for the darker coloured horses. These rugs create a physical barrier to protect the horses from biting flies.

You may have seen Inca in her very fetching zebra print rug, this isn’t just a fashion statement, it actually disguises the outline of the horse and confuses the flies which helps to keep them away. Similarly, for those horses that don’t need a fly rug a few squirts of fly spray can help keep the bugs away by disguising the tell-tale smell of horse with essential oils like citronella, peppermint, lavender and eucalyptus that flies seem to dislike.

It’s not just flies that attack our horses, there are smaller critters out to get them such as feather mites. A lot of our horses are cobs, and cobs have hairy legs (called feathers). A feather mite infestation can result in horses’ legs becoming sore and infected. There are lotions and potions available to help but we have found this year that taking away the mites hiding places by clipping the feathers off the horses who are most effected has been a big help.


We were very lucky to receive funding from Sport England to help us through the first weeks of lockdown. Sport England is now carrying out a survey into returning to activity and volunteering after lockdown. The aim is to understand how participants and volunteers are feeling, and what can be done to support you as coronavirus (Covid-19) restrictions are eased. We would encourage you to participate and have your say, the survey will be open until Friday 7th August 2020, there are two versions:

Participants Survey: https://bit.ly/ClubMatters-ParticipantsSurvey

Volunteers Survey: https://bit.ly/ClubMatters-VolunteersSurvey

A reminder that the RDA UK Countryside Challenge competition is open for entries until 31 August 2020. All current RDA participants are eligible to enter and this is your chance to design a brand new element for the RDA Countryside Challenge course, and win the chance for your design to be built and feature at the 2021 RDA National Championships.

The RDA UK website has a selection of free online training courses for volunteers. The Equine Knowledge module is part of the training for coaches but it provides a useful introduction on how to work safely with horses and how to maintain their health and welfare suitable for everyone involved with RDA. To complete the module, you will need to enrol, but it is free-of-charge.

We wish you all the very best of health, as usual we will be keeping our website and FaceBook page up to date and we very much look forward to seeing many of you at The Bays again for ‘Pony Time’ in the coming weeks.