Meet the team

Coaches and Staff.
It takes around a 100 volunteers and staff to run our activities, care for our horses and do the myriad of other essential jobs behind the scenes. Whilst there are too many to mention them all individually we thank each and every one of them for their hard work and dedication. Listed below are our volunteer coaches and staff some of whom you will meet during the course of your RDA activities.

Felicity Burrows, Carriage Driving Coach
Felicity is a volunteer driving coach. Before joining us as a volunteer in 2022, she had been involved in the of driving of horses for over 25 years. She became a volunteer and driving coach because she wanted to share the experience, thrill, enjoyment and excitement of driving a horse can bring.

Sharon Evans, Riding Coach
Often seen with two pairs of glasses on her head, Sharon loves being part of the riding coaching team. "It's absolutely fabulous seeing how horses help people relax, build their self-confidence, learn something new, and even reduce some aches, pains and stiffness", she says. Sharon had a horse called Henry many years ago, but took a break from horses while working and having a family. She is now so happy to be with RDA and back working with horses again. By the way, Sharon loves making things for riding sessions. Look out for the washing machine!

Kay Bye, Groom
After horsey beginnings working with horses, riding and competing just about any horse offered to her, Kay pursued a career in the IT industry. After 20 years of office work she went back to horses and has been helping to look after our fabulous RDA horses and ponies since 2018. Outside of work she cares for her own two wonderful retired horses and spends many hours walking the lovely Suffolk countryside.

Meg Day, Riding Coach
Meg has been around horses since she was 2 years old and later worked with horses. She joined the RDA team in 2021. Meg is a qualified RDA riding coach and can usually be found at Clopton 3 days a week, when she is not coaching she spends time pampering Cooper.

Victoria Gallantree, Head Coach
Victoria has 40 years’ equestrian experience back by formal qualifications, a BHS Instructor and a UKCC Level 4 coach, she began riding in the Isle of Man as a child and participated in Pony Club championship events, becoming a professional rider while a teenager. She was the proprietor of an equestrian centre in Warwickshire for over 20 years before moving to Suffolk and joining RDA. She loves working with horses and people and this role enables her to do both. Her values are attuned with those of the RDA as she has spent her working life supporting others to achieve and succeed.

Ty Hearne, Carriage Driving Coach
Ty started riding with an RDA group at 3 years old due to Cerebral Palsy.  She joined our group as a volunteer in 2017 as she wanted to give back something of what she had been given as a child. She qualified as a driving coach in 2020 and is now in training to become a riding coach as well. She is very passionate about riding and driving, and loves spending time at Clopton riding, driving or just pampering Mr Tom.

Claire Hinitt, Centre Manager
Claire's earliest link to RDA dates back to when her pony was ridden by members of a group at the riding school where he was kept. This was run by Shirley Green, who later founded the Hollesley Group.  It was over 30 years later that they worked together again when Claire joined us March 2017. At that time we were based Sutton (and were known as the Hollesley Group). Claire now lives on site at The Bays with her family, their dog and her horse Sunny who is part of the RDA equine team for both carriage driving and riding sessions.

Caitlin Morrow, Carriage Driving Coach
Caitlin has been involved with horses since she was six and has been volunteering with us for over 10 years now, assisting with the riding sessions on Saturdays. In September 2022 she qualified as an RDA driving coach and is now the coach for Saturday afternoon driving sessions for under 18s.

Stacey Reed, Groom
Stacey has a BA (Hons) Degree Special Educational Needs & Disability studies, which she did to help better understand her son who has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) & ADHD. She has been riding since she was 7 years old and after working in SEN roles in schools, in 2020 Stacey came back to working with horses to improve work-life-balance. Her personal values are aligned with those of the RDA, so she views her role working here as an ideal job. She is getting back into riding via sharing Fern. Stacey is often seen driving Rosie our 1960s Massey Ferguson tractor.

Elaine Townsend, Carriage Driving Coach
Elaine first volunteered with RDA in 2008 helping with children's riding on Saturday mornings and remembers the children getting stronger week by week and laughing as they enjoyed their lessons, especially the races. Not competitive at all! After Elaine retired, she was asked if she could help with the driving and it wasn't long before she was learning to drive. Elaine tells us that while some of the participants cannot communicate verbally, they smile, laugh or sing as they drive along. They get pleasure in the movement, the light through the trees, even the wind. Seeing the pleasure it gives the participants makes volunteering very worthwhile.

Beckie Tilley, Riding Coach
Beckie started volunteering with us in November 2017 after relocating to Suffolk for work. She joined our group as a way to meet likeminded people and make friends. It wasn’t long before she saw the benefits RDA has on all who are involved. It is down to Fern that Beckie was asked to become a riding coach for us. She was watched by many on our yard at Hollesley bringing Fern along from a green, unsure 6-year-old to the bold, loveable mare you know today. Beckie coaches on Tuesday afternoons where she encourages her participants to be chatty and enjoy themselves.

Sazzy (Sarah Wigzell), Carriage Driving Coach
Sarah started volunteering with the Hollesley Group at Sutton helping with riding sessions, just before the move to the new site at The Bays.
Sazzy was then asked to help with the carriage driving sessions and after learning about every aspect of what would be required (and always cleaning the harness after every session!) was invited to train to become a driving coach. The rest, as they say, is history.

Gemma Williams, Riding Coach
Gemma spent much of her childhood riding and helping out at her local riding schools. She had a break for just over a decade to have her family and “found” horses once again when her children showed an interest and began working and coaching in a small riding school. Gemma began volunteering with us in 2019 and qualified as an RDA Coach. She was delighted to join the team as a member of staff in July 2022. 
Gemma says, “I’m very passionate when it comes to the use of animals, particularly equines, for therapy. They have this incredible way of being able to calm people".