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Future events

• Top award for Natalie at the Park Lane Stables

• Top award for Natalie at the Park Lane Stables

Natalie O'Rourke, standing, with apprentice rider Hannah on Prodny

We offer our warmest congratulations to Natalie O’Rourke of Park Lane Stables, Teddington, on receiving this year’s annual Riding for the Disabled Association UK Award.

The citation paid tribute to her advocacy of the RDA over many years, as well as taking her ponies to isolated people and to terminally ill children at the Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Natalie, her volunteers and ponies are a familiar sight around the streets of Teddington, as well as in Bushy Park, and they also delight children with free pony rides at the Teddington Society’s annual Village Fair. But what may be less known is the fact that the Stables are a registered charity who do a huge amount of work with people with special needs and with disabled or underprivileged children.

“We really are totally inclusive” says Natalie, the leading light and driving force behind the Stables. “It’s why we’re here.” That inclusivity was seen throughout Teddington when she and her team took their ponies along many of the town’s streets during the first Lockdown to visit and cheer up young and old people alike.

Natalie – a long-term Corporate Member of the Teddington Society – opened the Stables 12 years ago in premises that long ago housed the local fire station. The staff and volunteers look after 27 animals and know each one by name. The horses and ponies work for four days, then rest for four days in fields a few miles away. “The schedule keeps them happy, keeps them content” says Natalie.

She and the Stables have been active members of the RDA for years, and in 2016 they were visited by the group’s president, the Princess Royal, who spoke warmly of their work.

Accepting the RDA award, Natalie paid tribute to her “brilliant volunteers, mentors – and ponies, of course.”

• The RDA annual award is sponsored by Andrews Bowen Ltd, equine surface manufacturers

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