Pembrokeshire College Senior Lecturer Michael Butcher has been awarded the prestigious Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) President’s Award.

The accolade for the year 2023, presented by Her Royal Highness Princess Anne, recognises Michael’s exceptional dedication and invaluable contributions to the field of equestrian education and therapeutic riding over the span of three decades.

Throughout his illustrious career, Mike has been a keen supporter of the RDA, collaborating closely with coaches and riders to foster inclusive and empowering experiences for individuals with disabilities.

A trailblazer in his own right, Mike is credited with introducing show jumping as a new discipline within the RDA, a move that has since become the most popular competitive activity among riders. Under his guidance, riders have progressed to compete in British Para show jumping competitions, with aspirations of representing Team GB on the international stage.

Mike’s vision and leadership have extended beyond the borders of the United Kingdom. He spearheaded the implementation of Equine Assisted Therapy in Northern Ireland, collaborating with RDA and local authorities to enhance the well-being of individuals through equine interactions.

In addition to his pioneering efforts, Mike is celebrated for his role as a mentor, providing unwavering support to coaches and ensuring that educational principles are integrated seamlessly into every riding session. His advocacy for safeguarding practices underscores his commitment to creating a safe and nurturing environment for all participants.

Reflecting on his remarkable journey, Mike said: “I am deeply honoured to receive this prestigious award from our President, and I am humbled by the opportunity to continue serving others through the transformative power of education and horses. My mantra, ‘Safety, Fun, and Achievement,’ encapsulates my unwavering dedication to empowering individuals with disabilities to unlock their full potential and thrive.”

Mike was one of five volunteers presented with RDA’s most prestigious award, for outstanding service to the association over a period of 30 years or more.

Riding for the Disabled Association wishes each volunteer a huge congratulations and thank you for their unwavering dedication.

The community of Pembrokeshire College in Haverfordwest extends heartfelt congratulations to Michael Butcher on this well-deserved honour.