Musical Ride & Carriage Drive Competition 2017

This year’s finalists in the Drill Rides were of a high standard. The dvds, and other recordings, gave great pleasure to the judges. We were impressed. The winners and runners up attained high scores with the rest of the ‘field’ presenting a higher standard than in previous years.

This year there were entries from 11 Regions, which is more than previous years and is very encouraging. Our thanks to those who entered for the first time.

There were only a few entries in the unled class which was won by Haworth Group. Well done to them! There were 17 entries in the class for those with leaders and/or side helpers. This class was won by Barrow Farm whose display entitled ‘A Military Exercise’ was beautifully presented and obviously very well practised. It was much enjoyed by the riders – as well as the judges! South Bucks entry was a close second – entitled ‘Teamwork 2017’. A true sentiment of RDA aims we thought.

Musical rides, whilst giving the opportunity for Groups to practise a variety of riding skills and school movements at home, also provide a valuable tool to illustrate what we can achieve and can be shown to help with local fund raising opportunities.

There were just two good entries for the Musical Carriage Drive class. We do hope more Groups will enter this class in the future.

Sally Campbell-Grey MBE FRDA HLVP
Discipline Co-ordinator

Page Last Updated: July 21, 2017

SEIB RDA Search for a Star competition wows judges at Championships

SFAS RDA LogoJudges at the second qualifier for the SEIB Insurance Brokers-sponsored Riding For the Disabled (RDA) Search for a Star (SFAS), held at Hartpury College on Friday (14 July), were so impressed by the standard that they sent four – instead of the planned two – through to the September final.

“It was a fantastic competition with an extremely high standard,” said judge David Bartram, who used to help at Wetherby RDA centre and officiated here alongside David Ingle and Richard Ramsay. “We had 30 entered and because they were so good, we decided to put four riders through to the final at Addington.”

The winner at Hartpury had only been riding her horse for a month. Gabby Blake, 24, who lives in Whatton in Nottinghamshire but is from Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, beat 29 other hopefuls riding The Rose of Derry, as her own pony, Geronimo, was unsound.
“My horse went lame a month ago — we tried to get him ready for today but he was too sore, so I used Rose,” explained Gabby, who does volunteer work. “She does lessons during the day and is an ex-show jumper, but she was so good, I couldn’t have asked for anything better. She was fantastic.”

Gabby, who is in the South Notts RDA group, has a rare and painful condition but has been riding for most of her life. “My parents are horsey and I have been for as long as I can remember — I got my first pony when I was two months old,” she said. “My main problem is pain, but when I’m riding I don’t feel the pain. I don’t get sore and it’s a lovely feeling.”

She competes with Geronimo in para dressage but used to do showing and has been considering returning to the show ring. She was impressed by the standard at Hartpury, where this qualifier was held as part of the RDA National Championships over the weekend of 14-16 July.

“All three classes were very good and it was quite a buzzy atmosphere,” said Gabby. “It’s great to have a showing series because it’s something different for us to do, and this has encouraged me to go back to showing. I hadn’t competed at Hartpury before and I certainly didn’t expect to do so well.”

David Bartram commented: “It was a fantastic competition with an extremely high standard. The winner was quite severely disabled but had the most lovely core position and rode really well. She got her horse in a beautiful rhythm and way of going, with its ears pricked the whole time. It was a lovely, quality animal and they were fabulous to watch — out-and-out worthy winners.”

The judges were full of praise for the runner-up, too – Lizzie Bennett, who rode side saddle on the coloured cob Rolo. In contrast to Gabby’s previous showing experience, it was Lizzie’s first show ring outing but she was undeterred.

“I’ve never done showing before in my life so I didn’t know what to expect, and I didn’t really know what I was doing,” joked Lizzie, 27, who rides one-handed with specially adapted reins from Mulryan Saddlery. “They’re normal reins but with holes along their length and three bars with metal spikes that slot in. You can move them up and down to make a shorter rein for jumping and a longer one for a nice long-rein walk or something like that,” she explained. “They’re really nifty! There’s another girl in my group who rides one-handed [Eleanor Currington, who finished sixth on Minstrel] and she uses them too.”

Lizzie had her own horse when she was younger, but had to sell him when she broke her back doing gymnastics about 13 years ago.
“It took me about 10 years to get back to riding but I was trying at a normal riding school and sometimes they had to pull me off the horse because I couldn’t move,” she revealed. “I joined the RDA about three years ago and it’s worked really well — I wish I’d done it before. My back will never be right; I’m in constant pain but it’s been that way for half of my life so I’m used to it.”

Her weakened left arm is due to a genetic condition that also affects her left shoulder. “It’s not helped by the fact that I keep falling off and landing on it,” she admitted.
Like many of the SFAS contestants, she was also competing in dressage and show jumping at the national championships. She and Rolo finished seventh in dressage on the second day and won their show jumping class on the first day.

“I’m very proud of Rolo,” said Lizzie, who works part-time at primary school intervention for special needs children in Saffron Walden, Essex. “The Cambridgeshire College RDA group was told he wasn’t an appropriate RDA pony because he can be quite naughty. But I love riding him because I know that even if he has his silly, spooky moments, he’s just a sweet little horse. I wish I owned him so I could ride him every day.”

Steward Chris Bartram-Lawton, who also helped with David Bartram at Wetherby RDA group, said: “Despite only being able to use one hand, the runner-up had a fabulous position and rode quite beautifully in a really good rhythm. She had only ridden side saddle four times so this was an incredible achievement.”

A last-minute decision to enter paid off for Middlesbrough-based Brooke-Leigh Johnson, 10, when her charming 15-year-old pony, Wrentnall Snowman (Spider), took the third qualifying ticket. Brooke-Leigh, who suffers from hearing loss and speech problems, has been a member of the Unicorn Centre for the past five years and is a keen competitor at all the shows held there.

“She’s come on in leaps and bounds and has a great partnership with Spider,” said yard manager Christine Beedle. “We had three ponies here at the [RDA] championships and thought we’d enter them in this competition for a bit of fun. I knew Brooke-Leigh would give it her best shot, and we’re delighted for her. We’ll definitely make the long journey down to Addington for the final.

“This pony had the sweetest outlook,” said David Bartram. “It went with its ears pricked, the jockey was smiling all the time and the whole package was picture-perfect.”
The fourth qualifier was Imogen Darke, 18, who was inspired to take part in this competition when she attended the initial lecture/demo given here last year, when the SEIB concept of the class first took root.

Imogen, who suffered a severe head injury in an accident at the age of 11 and spent two months in a coma, has little peripheral vision but she partnered Chandaem My Guy, her family’s 14-year-old hunter, with great aplomb.

“As a family, we’ve been involved with horses all our lives and we’re very lucky as the Erme Valley RDA group — which Imogen has attended for the past three years — is only 10 minutes from our home,” said her father Ross, a former jump jockey. “We are over the moon to qualify for the final. It’s a fabulous competition and we’d like to thank SEIB and Hartpury College, as well as all the judges for giving up their time.”

SEIB marketing director Nicolina MacKenzie, who first thought of the competition and pushed to make it happen, was delighted with both the numbers forward and the standard they represented.

“These riders are truly inspirational,” she said. “Many of them would give able-bodied riders a good run for their money, and the difficulties they have overcome in their lives are a lesson to us all. I am so very pleased that SEIB as a company has been able to launch this series and we are very grateful to RDA for its help with running this competition and its support generally.

“I am so delighted to be involved with this – it is completely new and one of the most important things I have ever done. I am sure it will go from strength to strength and we are all looking forward to a superb final at Addington Manor on 7 September.”

Page Last Updated: July 21, 2017

Three days of achievement and fun at National Championships

The weather was set fair for the 20th RDA National Championships, which took place over three fun-packed event-filled days from 14-17 July. With 400 individual competition entries, 200 horses and countless volunteers, the Championships was as inspirational as ever.

Special guests Carl Hester, Paralympians Anne Dunham and Ricky Balshaw and a film crew for CBeebies added to the sense of occasion – and with 1692 rosettes handed out there was certainly plenty to celebrate.

Fun-filled Friday
Friday visitors were treated to the ever-popular Countryside Challenge, VI Dressage and Showjumping, with Carriage Driving provided a thrilling spectacle as competitors and ponies navigated cones and obstacles to the delight of the crowds.

When Olympic dressage legend Carl Hester popped in to present awards to YELA Gold volunteers, the scene was set for a vintage Championships year.

Spectacular Saturday
Saturday was a big day for dressage, with a range of Freestyle and Championships tests. Team and individual vaulting classes resulted in wins for Perry and Cambs College in the individuals and the team of Berwickshire, Rainbow and The Brae.

The evening brought the creatively supercharged Costume Freestyle Dressage (a breath taking Bullfight assured the winning spot for Penniwells for the second year running).

Super Sunday
After Saturday’s ‘SuperHero’ Disco, Sunday started more sedately for some, but with twelve dressage and four Countryside Challenge classes, plus Horsecare and Knowledge and Best Turned Out continuing throughout the weekend, there was no let up for competitors and volunteers.

“I am so proud and delighted by everything that our groups have achieved this year,” said Championships Chairman Anne Coney. “We don’t underestimate the effort that it takes to make this event happen and I am grateful to everyone involved for helping to make this such a memorable experience for our competitors. The standard of horsemanship and the turnout of horses and ponies improves amazingly each year.”

Click here for a full list of results

Page Last Updated: July 21, 2017

British Reining Team slides to Silver

The first British Team to compete at a World Para Reining Championship took the Silver medal position on the podium on July 6th at the competition hosted by the Royal Dutch Equestrian Centre in Ermelo, Holland. The team riders consisting of Sir Lee Pearson, Fiona Durston and Ricky Balshaw posted solid scores to only be beaten by the more experienced riders who flew in from Canada. First out, Balshaw, riding stallion Yelena My Way banked a solid score, “It felt really good to be back in the saddle and with a flag on my chest. I am really looking forward to Saturday”. Durston, on Smart Like Valentino who rode a fluid and graceful test to post the high score of the day. Pearson on Shiners Lenas Oak brought the result home with an accurate and precise ride to seal the Team silver. Commenting on her run Durston said ~ With Ricky having already posted a score I was in a great position to go for it a little more and Tino knew exactly what to do. I think we both really enjoyed it. ~
Pearson commented after the event” Showing a wonderful, well behaved horse in a different discipline with a very enthusiast audience is credit to the temperament and training of these horses I think this is a very exciting time for another Para Equestrian discipline
Chef D’Equipe Francesca Sternberg said ~ I am really delighted. These riders have crossed over from the Dressage arena to compete in a new sport and in a very short period of time achieved an incredible amount. The medal is the icing on the cake and well deserved. They have all been an inspiration in the Dressage world and now they have become the same in the Reining arena, I am very proud of them
All three riders advanced to the Individual finals where Pearson placed 5th , Durston 6th and Balshaw 7th.
The whole team would like to thank the owners of the horses and sponsors that made this all possible.

Page Last Updated: July 12, 2017

Are you an experienced Equestrian Centre Manager? RDA has an exciting vacancy….

RDA Lowlands logo update_01_17_FINAL_OL-page-001
RDA’s National Training Centre is being built at Lowlands Farm, Warwickshire and we are looking for an experienced Equestrian Manager to lead us through the transition period. The role is an important part of this exciting project and we are looking for a confident person to take us through the set up phase, develop processes and put systems in place in time for completion and opening of the site.
Closing date for applications is Monday 3 July 2017.
Apply by email with a covering letter explaining why you would be suitable for this role along with your CV to jelliston@rda.org.uk
For more information download the RDA Transition Manager Job Description

A1 panels jpgs RDA_National_training_centre

 

Page Last Updated: June 20, 2017

Opportunity to join Coaching Committee

Could you play an active role in shaping the future of Coaching at RDA?
We are looking for an experienced and qualified coach (not necessarily in equestrian) to join our Coaching Committee. This voluntary position will involve helping to implement our coaching strategy with the aim of developing and promoting coaching within RDA.

The committee meets 3 times a year, usually at RDA National Office in Warwick or by teleconference.

Please see the Terms of Reference Here: Coaching Terms of Reference

For further information or to register your interest please email Fiona Harris at fharris@rda.org.uk

Page Last Updated: May 22, 2017

Work For Us At RDA National Office

We have two exciting opportunities to join the staff team at RDA National Office, please see the job adverts below for full details.

The application deadline for both roles in Wednesday 31st May.


Coaching Qualifications Coordinator

Riding for the Disabled (RDA), Warwick

Summary of Job:
We are seeking a new member of staff to play a key role in supporting RDA coaches in delivering an excellent service to our riders.

This role is an excellent opportunity for someone who prides themselves on their administrative capabilities and organisational skills, and is keen to develop these further.

The main responsibilities of the role include:

  • Administering all RDA coaching courses and qualifications
  • Organising and making all administrative arrangements for coaching related events
  • Handling day-to-day enquiries from coaches and ensuring the coach review system is maintained.

About you:
The role is primarily office based and we are looking for someone with excellent administration skills; in an ideal world you will have coaching and/or equine knowledge.

You will need to be organised and self-motivated, being be able to manage your time effectively; providing telephone and email support to coaches and RDA groups, whilst working on a varied range of administrative tasks.

It is important that you are a confident communicator with exceptional customer service skills as you will be providing advice and guidance to our coaching workforce on a regular basis.

About Us:
RDA is a leading national charity, dedicated to enriching the lives of disabled people, through the provision of opportunities for riding, carriage driving and vaulting.

Our mission is to enrich the lives of disabled people through horses and our team at National Office work closely with our coaching workforce to ensure our groups are able to provide an excellent experience for those who take part in our activities.

This is a permanent full-time role, working 34 hours per week, although flexibility will be needed leading up to events, with extra hours covered by time off in lieu.

Salary is £20,000 per annum plus benefits.

Please ring Claire on 01926 405969 or email her on cmilican@rda.org.uk for a full job description. To apply please send a CV with covering email to cmilican@rda.org.uk.


Group Support Administrator (Maternity Cover)

Riding for the Disabled (RDA), Warwick

Summary of Job:
We are seeking a new member of staff to play a key role in supporting RDA groups in delivering an excellent service to our riders.

This role is an excellent opportunity for someone who prides themselves on their administrative capabilities and organisational skills, and is keen to develop these further.

The main responsibilities of the role include administrative support in three key areas:

  • Administering the service providing disclosure checks for volunteers
  • Providing administrative support in the delivery of an RDA national equestrian competition, held in July
  • Organising the collection of information and annual statistics from our 500 member groups and ensuring our database is kept up to date.

About you:
The role is office based and we are looking for an excellent administrator.

You will need to be organised and self-motivated, being be able to manage your time effectively; providing telephone and email support to our groups whilst working on a varied range of administrative tasks.

It is important that you are a confident communicator with exceptional customer service skills as you will be providing advice and guidance to our volunteer workforce on a regular basis.

We also value adaptability, we are looking for someone who will enjoy working on new projects and the challenges associated with a varied workload.

About Us:
RDA is a leading national charity, dedicated to enriching the lives of disabled people, through the provision of opportunities for riding, carriage driving and vaulting.

Our mission is to enrich the lives of disabled people through horses and our staff team at national office work closely with our network of national volunteers to ensure our groups are able to provide an excellent experience for those who take part in our activities.

This is a temporary role, providing maternity cover, working 34 hours per week although flexibility will be needed leading up to events, with extra hours covered by time off in lieu.

Salary is £18,000 (pro rata) per annum.

Please ring Matt on 01926405966 or email mcobble@rda.org.uk for a full job description. To apply please send a covering letter and your CV to mcobble@rda.org.uk

 

 

Page Last Updated: May 23, 2017

First #BigRideRDA completed in East

Sunday 9 April, Abbots Ripton, Huntingdon

The first RDA Big Ride kicked off in glorious spring sunshine on Lord and Lady de Ramsay’s estate near Huntingdon, more famous for hosting the Secret Garden Music Festival. Five disabled riders along with five supporting riders and RDA Chairman Sam Orde mounted up, most of them on trusty RDA ponies and set off into the countryside.

For some this was their first ride of this kind. Young rider Louis who is waiting for a liver transplant had spent a frustrating two hours that morning failing to catch his pony. Luckily he was able to borrow a brilliant grey pony Mifty. As he had only ridden this pony once before in an RDA session, Louis planned to do 2 miles and was delighted to complete 6! When asked ‘What do you like to do when you are not riding? Louis answered ‘riding’.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sam Orde and Louis

Para dressage rider Olivia was also on a borrowed horse as she continues to crowd fund for a new advance medium dressage horse (www.gofundme.com/oliviacornickdressage to see how much riding means to Olivia after major brain surgery and subsequent challenges). Two riders rode using one hand: Para dressage rider Eleanor and para vaulter Lizzie. Lizzie put 100% effort into completing the 6 miles and had to wait a while for energy to come back into her legs at the end. Claire Cooper a rider with Downs Syndrome took up the challenge to complete 2 miles and got a good cheer on doing so.

There was a great support team and one volunteer walked and ran the whole way to help riders achieve their challenge safely. The ride was organised by Woodhurst RDA Group who raised funds for their group with 100s of  riders setting of before the Big Ride. Many of the Big Ride team came from Cambridgeshire College RDA Group along with others from across the East Region. RDA volunteers put in a lot of work to organise it beautifully.

Sam Orde said ‘It is brilliant to have the first Big Ride successfully completed. All who took part had wonderful rides in glorious sunshine. The RDA riders achieved something new while helping fundraise for the RDA National Training Centre. I am really excited about the next 17 rides happening across the UK’

Support Sam’s #BigRideRDA at mydonate.bt.com/events/bigride2017/432482

Find out more here: www.rda.org.uk/join-sams-big-ride/

Page Last Updated: April 20, 2017

Nominations for 2017 RDA Gala Awards are now open!

Celebrate achievement by nominating RDA riders, drivers, volunteers and horses for the 2017 Gala Awards.
http://www.rda.org.uk/rda-gala-awards-2017-nominations-now-open/

Winners will be presented with their awards at the RDA Gala Dinner on 26 September 2017 at The Underglobe, London.
Hosted by Clare Balding and attended by Alastair Stewart, Anneka Rice and Peter Egan.
Closing date for nominations is 22 July 2017.

Page Last Updated: April 10, 2017

Join Sam’s Big Ride

sam orde picRaising money for RDA’s National Training Centre, The Big Ride will see RDA UK Chairman, Sam Orde, complete rides or carriage drives in each of RDA’s 18 regions throughout the summer.

Travelling an average of 15km for each ride, Sam will be joined by RDA members and supporters en route.

“I can’t wait to begin this challenge, which will take me from the Highlands to Northern Ireland, Wales, the South Coast and everywhere in between. I hope to raise lots of money for the National Training Centre, and I am encouraging RDA members to join one of the 18 rides or carriage drives and raise money for their own groups too.”

Find a ride near you:

East Region  Sunday 9 April redman.tessa@gmail.com
NE & S Yorks  Wednesday 31 May bobjude@btinternet.com
Yorks & Cleveland  Sunday 28 May clairepope184@hotmail.com
South  Monday 12 June flochrane@btinternet.com
South East  Wednesday 28 June gilly_roper@btinternet.com
South West  Tuesday 1 August sue@schumacher.com
South Wales Friday 4 August judith.england@btconnect.com
Northern Ireland  Sunday 20 August rdaniregion@yahoo.co.uk
Yorkshire & Cleveland (ride 2) Wednesday 23 August purpletracy@hotmail.co.uk
W & Central Scotland  Wednesday 13 September susanduncanmillar@hotmail.com
Grampian & Highland  Sat 9 September gandhrda@aol.com
North West  Sunday 17 September sheilas@nantwichcc.co.uk
North Midlands  Friday 22 September dencorrall@gmail.com
North Wales  12/13 October rdanwaleschair@outlook.com
West Mercia  Tuesday 17 October anonamay@btinternet.com
Mid West  Sept/Oct lizzieblair@btconnect.com
Greater London  Sept/Oct mike.locke@outlook.com
North  tbc carolebarr2@aol.com
Edinburgh & Borders  tbc lawhittaker@live.co.uk

For general information contact Sam: orde@btconnect.com

To donate to Sam’s Big Ride visit: mydonate.bt.com/events/bigride2017/432482

Page Last Updated: June 23, 2017