RDB News

Special Olympics Qualifier in Vilamoura

Associação de Equitação Adaptada Barlavento | Riding for the Disabled Barlavento

The Special Olympics Qualifier at the Vilamoura Equestrian School is coming up on Friday 20th March. Our riders will be competing, so come along and support them! More details coming soon, or email rdb.algarve@gmail.com

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Riding for the Disabled Barlavento

Riding for the Disabled Barlavento

Riding for Disabled Barlavento is a voluntary, non-profit making organisation dedicated to making a

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RDB Volunteer - Ann Margret Engstrom

Qualifications / Experience

  • Previous experience with horses

Joined RDB


Ann-Margret Engstrom


Ann-Margret has been volunteering at RDB as a leader/sidewalker for around 10 to 12 years. She used to have horses in Sweden and used to ride a lot, so by volunteering she gets her horse fix!

“Horses have always  been part of my life.
Riding schools once a week during my years of studies and thereafter three times a week sharing privately owned horses. Some Summers working in a stud. Driving one or two in hand. Lounging and a lot of fun riding in the fields and in the forests.
Good pastimes off work and a lot of laughter when mocking out chatting with friends doing the same. No competitions and quite a lot of private lessons.”
Clive Williams - a volunteer at RDB

Qualifications / Experience

  • Retired Electrical Contracts Manager

Joined RDB


Clive Williams

Leader / Sidewalker & General Maintenance

I moved to Lagos in 2015 and joined RDB some time later having little or no experience  of working with horses or the disabled.

I enjoy the company of other volunteers and especially seeing the reaction of the riders.

My role at RDB is as a side walker or horse leader and the maintenance of the grounds and mechanical equipment.

My main pastime is sailing my yacht SHENANIGAN locally around the Algarve.

Screenshot 2022-01-23 at 22.43.16

Qualifications / Experience

  • Retired Nursery Nurse

Joined RDB

In 2022

Heather Piper

Leader / Sidewalker

I wanted to carry on using my skills acquired through life. Ponies, ponies, ponies as a child and teenager, then 40 years working with children of varying abilities in special school settings. Of which, 10 years spent with young people with hearing impairment and another 10 years working 1:1 with children and young adults with autism.

I love coming to RDB, everyone is so nice, friendly and cheerful!

IMG_1493 (1)

Qualifications / Experience

  • Joana has experience with horses

Joined RDB

At birth!

Joana Wilson Luz

Leader / Sidewalker

Joana is Sue Wilson‘s daughter and has grown up surrounded by horses at QPA. 

Joana has been helping out with RDB ever since she was tiny.

Joana loves seeing the progress the riders make and is a great help!

Rod Frew

Qualifications / Experience

  • Founder member of Algarve Wednesday Walkers
  • Founder of RDB

Joined RDB


Rod Frew

President of the General Assembly

Rod is President of RDB and original founder along with Jinny Harman, Secretary.

Rod & Jinny set up the initial ‘Ride the Algarve Way’ fundraiser, an epic 240km 6-day marathon ride, which raised over €35.000,00 euros. These funds were split equally between Riding for the Disabled Barlavento, to set it up, and the Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP) Association. 

Jinny Harman

Qualifications / Experience

  • Owner of QPA
  • Founder of RDB
  • Over 30 years’ experience working with horses
  • Qualified trainer

Joined RDB


Jinny Harman


Jinny is Secretary of RDB and original founder along with Rod Frew, President of the General Assembly.

Rod & Jinny set up the initial ‘Ride the Algarve Way’ fundraiser, an epic 240km 6-day marathon ride, which raised over €35.000,00 euros. These funds were split equally between Riding for the Disabled Barlavento, to set it up, and the Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP) Association. 

Jinny is also owner of Quinta Paraíso Alto Riding Centre where the RDB sessions are held, and donates Sue, her Stable Manager, to RDB as a fully certified Trainer.

Jinny set up QPA in 1992 and has extensive knowledge and experience in working with horses.


Qualifications / Experience

  • Treasurer for school PTAs &
  • Volunteered for RDA in the UK
  • Prior horse experience

Joined RDB


Tenney Cotton


Tenney owned horses in the UK and has prior experience of volunteering for RDA in the UK, so as soon as she learned about RDB she joined the team and is now Treasurer.

Tenney volunteers on a Friday supporting private clients and feels that RDB is such a valuable resource for the kids.

“Being out in the fresh air, getting physiotherapy is so good for them. The children definitely get stronger physically but also their communication skills and confidence improves greatly. For example, I have seen a huge change with Bea during the time I have been helping her. Her communication and confidence has improved and I can see she is really enjoying it. Also, Bea’s core strength has developed greatly.”

Not only does Tenney loves supporting the children, she gets a workout whilst walking around the arena and gets her horse fix at the same time!


Qualifications / Experience

  • Denise worked in Community Care in the UK supporting autistic children plus has prior horse experience

Joined RDB


Denise Kelly


Denise has been volunteering at RDB since 2019. She had moved to the area and met Jinny and as soon as Jinny found out that Denise was a horse woman she signed her up!

Denise has two of her own horses still back in the UK and misses them greatly. She loves being around horses so volunteering enables that but she gets the most satisfaction from seeing the smiles on the riders’ faces. “Seeing their mobility improving and knowing you are helping and enriching their lives is very rewarding”.

Denise volunteers on a Friday between 9am & 12:30 pm, supporting individual riders and riders from NECI.


Qualifications / Experience

  • Lawyer

Joined RDB


Maddie Grossey

Committee President

Maddie had no previous experience with horses or working with people of physical or mental disabilities before joining RDB, which just goes to show that experience is not necessary to join our team! 

Maddie has been president now for around 5 years and is in charge of organising all the sessions. 

Maddie gets great satisfaction and happiness from seeing the delight on the faces of the riders.

Ângela, our qualified Physiotherapist and Hippotherapist

Qualifications / Experience

  • Graduated in Physiotherapy in 2006
  • Specialist in Neuropediatrics and Child Development

Joined RDB


Ângela Mesquita


Ângela has been working with the Barlavento Adapted Riding Association since 2007, initially with the training of Therapeutic Riding Assistant, as a technician who accompanied the Users of the NECI Institution, and since 2018 with training of Therapeutic Riding Technique working as a Responsible Technician for Therapeutic Riding of the Association.

Together with Sue Wilson, responsible Riding Monitor for the Association and the Equestrian Centre, they promote Adapted Riding competitions in the Algarve as responsible for EquiSpecialAlgarve, the organising committee for Adapted Riding events. In addition, Ângela & Sue promote the participation of several Athletes with Disabilities, competing in the Special Olympics.

Sue Wilson Riding 4 Disabled Barlavento

Qualifications / Experience

  • Trainer in General Equitation, RDB and Equitação Adaptada
  • RDB trainer since 2003

Joined RDB


Sue Wilson


Sue has 30 years general equitation experience and has worked at Quinta Paraíso Alto for 23 years. Sue originally trained as an RDA trainer through the RDA in the UK and has implemented her knowledge at RDA in Portugal since 2003.

Sue’s favourite bit of working with the riders is all the smiles & hugs she receives! Some riders when they start at RDB are scared of the horses as they are much bigger animals to those that they are used to. Sue introduces them gently to the horses and slowly builds their trust.

Travelling to Abu Dhabi with the National Portuguese Special Olympics team was one of the highest points of Sue’s journey with RDB and an out of this world experience. Seeing Lucelia win medals, having been scared to even touch a horse when she first started, was simply incredible.

One memory that really sticks with Sue is something said to her by Eugênio, a past rider with RDB. When he was asked what he liked most about RDB Eugênio said, ‘when I’m on a horse I am walking again’. Sadly Eugenio is no longer with us, but to know that RDB helped him ‘walk again’ is validation of how important RDB is to the lives of those with physical, intellectual, emotional and social challenges.

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