Cotswold horse riding charity appoints new CEO

Riding for the Disabled Association has appointed Michael Bishop as its new chief executive, joining the team from his current role at Historic England from Monday 8 April 2024.

By Chloe Gorman  |  Published
Michael Bishop joins Riding for the Disabled Association as its new CEO this April 2024.

Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA), which has a base in the Gloucestershire, has appointed a new CEO. 

RDA is a charity which provides horse riding and activities to disabled children and adults to help them get fit, learn new skills and grow in confidence. The association was officially established in 1969, but has been operating in Gloucestershire since 1965 and has been at its base at Cheltenham Racecourse since 1982. 

Michael joins the charity on Monday 8 April 2024, leaving his role as director of corporate strategy and business improvement at Historic England. 

With a career that has spanned the public, private and voluntary sectors, Michael brings a wealth of leadership experience and expertise in strategy, organisational development, major project delivery and income generation to his new role.

As a keen amateur event rider and a trustee of the British Racing School, he also has a passion for horses which he has had from a young age. 

He said: 'I do not come from an equestrian family background, but from an early visit to the local riding school I was hooked. I gained so much confidence and learnt so much about what I was capable of, beyond the classroom, through those early experiences with horses, sport, and being outdoors. That connection with a horse is the most powerful therapy I have experienced.

'Opening up that experience to more people, particularly those with less opportunity and diverse needs, is paramount to me. And that is why I am so excited about this role. RDA’s ‘can do’ ethos, and the incredible network of volunteers, local groups and staff make a profound impact through providing disabled people with the opportunity to take part and experience the social, physical and mental benefits of spending time with horses.'

RDA's UK chair of trustees, Helena Vega-Lozano, added: 'This is an exciting appointment for RDA as we continue to evolve and develop for the future. Michael brings a unique set of skills and experience, as well as a love of horses and a personal passion for RDA and supporting disadvantaged people.

'I am delighted to welcome him as our new CEO and I am confident that he will be able to lead us into the next stage of our RDA journey and shine a spotlight on the incredible impact we make for all our participants throughout the UK network.'

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