First RDA National Coaching Awards recognise excellence in equestrian coaching

RDA has recognised the work of five outstanding Coaches in its first ever Coaching Awards. The winners are: Karen Thompson of Kesteven RDA for Coach of the Year; Joanne Orr of Ballyward Carriage Driving RDA for Driving Coach of the Year; Rebecca Hewitt of Berwickshire RDA for Vaulting Coach of the Year; Joyce Truscott from Upminster RDA for the ‘Extra Mile’ Award and Greg Block from Chigwell Riding Trust for High Performance Coach of the Year.

Coach of the Year, Karen Thompson was praised for her ability to build confidence and self- belief in her riders. Awards organiser and RDA Coaching Coordinator, Fiona Harris said, “Karen’s sessions are delivered with encouragement and positivity. She is dedicated to her work as an RDA Coach and always shares her knowledge and experience. Her leadership has created an RDA group which truly embodies the motto of the RDA ‘it’s what you can do that counts’.

“We are delighted to have launched these awards which recognise coaches like Karen and the other winners, whose dedication and unrivalled expertise is making a real and lasting impact to our riders, carriage drivers and vaulters.”

Presented by Paralympian Sophie Christiansen OBE, the awards ceremony took place as part of the charity’s annual Coaching Conference, where coaches from RDA’s 500 groups around the UK, as well as Regional and County Coaches, come together to share their experiences and learn from others.

Also receiving awards on the night were RDA Fellow and Chairman of the Coaching Committee, Sue Adams-Wheeler, who was presented with the RDA Presidents Award and Sister Mary Joy Langdon of Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre, who has been awarded a Fellowship of RDA.

Page Last Updated: September 18, 2018

£40,000 ‘Big Ride’ boost for charity build project

Riding for the Disabled Association Chairman’s epic journey ends in triumph

A fundraising campaign for RDA has reached its triumphant conclusion, with £40,000 raised for the charity’s National Training Centre and local groups. The ‘Big Ride RDA UK’ involved RDA Chairman, Sam Orde, undertaking a series of distance horse rides and carriage drives around the UK, accompanied by hundreds of the charity’s disabled riders, carriage drivers, volunteers and supporters.

The 18 big rides have notched up thousands of kilometres from both horses and humans, with over 750 people taking part overall. The money raised will go in part towards RDA’s National Training Centre project, with the rest to the individual RDA groups and regions that took part.

Sam’s final ride, featuring RDA riders and volunteers from the West Mercia region, ended at Lowlands Farm in Shrewley – the site at which RDA will develop its National Training Centre.

From Princess Anne to Game of Thrones – 6 months of highlights for RDA Chairman

It was barely spring when RDA Chairman Sam Orde set off for her first Big Ride in April at Abbots Ripton, Cambridgeshire. Six months, 18 rides, 750 participants and £40,000 later, Sam’s adventures have taken her around the UK, meeting hundreds of RDA’s disabled riders and volunteers.

Among her many highlights she has been hosted by RDA President, The Princess Royal, at Gatcombe; tried her hand at carriage driving in Dorset and Northern Ireland; had a mounted police escort in London; ridden the Ridgeway in Wiltshire; joined an endurance competition in Scotland; visited the location of Game of Thrones in Northern Ireland and been welcomed with Welsh cakes and traditional costumes in South Wales.

“RDA members and supporters have done brilliantly, joining forces to have a wonderful time riding over 2,500 km in our stunning UK countryside to raise funds for RDA’s exciting, new National Training Centre,” said Sam. “Every contribution – from a disabled child riding their first km in open countryside to those flying along tracks and beaches at canter – has been inspiring to watch. We have all had the most fun possible raising £40,000!”

About the National Training Centre

Sam’s RDA Big Ride is raising money for the RDA National Training Centre. The Centre – to be built at Lowlands EC, near Warwick – will bring together, train and inspire the charity’s volunteers and coaches from around the UK.

Project Patron and RDA President HRH The Princess Royal said: “RDA has built a world class reputation on the strength of its expertise, coaching and horsemanship. These are strengths that must remain at the heart of everything we do in the coming years. The Lowlands project will ensure we can maintain our high standards and develop our training programmes to ensure the best possible experience for RDA’s riders and carriage drivers long into the future.”

The Centre will offer RDA activities to disabled people in the local community and include stables and grazing for 20 horses; indoor and outdoor arenas; training and conference facilities; some overnight accommodation and offices. As a working yard with indoor and outdoor arenas and classrooms, the Centre will provide the ideal environment for hosting practical training sessions; workshops and demonstrations as well as events and competitions. The focus of training will be putting riders’ and drivers’ needs first, and this message will be at the heart of everything that happens at Lowlands.

You can still sponsor the Big Ride RDA UK at https://mydonate.bt.com/events/bigride2017/432482

Page Last Updated: September 18, 2018

Big Ride heads out on Pennine Way

North West Region near Burnley on Sunday 1 October

With the tail end of hurricane Maria due to reach the UK, a careful eye was kept on weather forecasts as this Big Ride approached and the decision was taken to go a little earlier in the day. RDA members from Seaside Venture, Pendle and Pegasus RDA Groups gathered in a farm yard between Burnley and the Pennine Hills before 6 riders and 7 walkers headed out to find the Pennine Way. Riders used RDA North Region’s new mobile ramp to mount, which can be pulled behind a car and had been brought in especially.

Several riders were on young horses and were pleased with how they settled and enjoyed the 7 km ride. This included Pendle Group RDA rider Karen who had competed at the RDA Championships on 5 year old Blaze who she has owned since a foal. Karen explained how much Blaze has helped her recovery from a stroke. Regional participant representative Sarah Underwood soon made a happy partnership with King, borrowed from regional endurance rep Sarah Metcalfe.

The views from the Pennine Way and back past Coldwell Reservoir were stunning and the weather just rather windy until the last hill when the threatening storm started to edge in. The group of walkers were mainly from Pegasus RDA Group and included one of their riders, Fiona and her family and RDA Young Volunteer of the Year Megan. We were all delighted to return to hot soup and tea.

Page Last Updated: September 18, 2018

RDA President HRH The Princess Royal hosts Mid West Big Ride

Gatcombe Park on 30 September 2017

What a treat to be in the beautiful surroundings of Gatcombe Park for this Big Ride. With a 2 and 5 km route passing through Gatcombe Woods and a longer 14 km route starting at Highgrove and finishing at Gatcombe, there were plenty of options for RDA riders, volunteers and supporters to enjoy this stunning countryside – there was something for everyone.

Lyncombe Lodge Group set off as a group to clock up 10 km with two of their coaches riding with their 3 accomplished RDA riders. Wellow RDA Group brought 8 ponies for their riders. They described how much they had enjoyed riding out in the countryside, particularly going through the woods with quite a number experiencing this for the first time. Several of their 17 volunteers explained that they could not have organised the day without their ‘linch pin volunteer Anne Allen who puts hours and hours into their group’. Julia a blind rider from Dauntsey Group was last to go on the shorter routes. With her own horse lame, luckily Julia was able to borrow a horse that had just finished the longer ride. Full marks to Caroline from Dauntsey Group who having ridden the 14 km route then walked and ran next to Julia on her horse.

Lots of volunteers organised by County Chairman Rachel Vaughan-Johns helped out as stewards and made sure the day went smoothly. Two Groups Summerhouse and Clavenham & Winford who could not bring riders had volunteers stewarding and Sarah Hadley came from RDA National Office. Three young volunteers from Wellow Group walked 6km as part of their YELA and to add funds to the Big Ride for the National Training Centre Project.

Volunteers stewarding at Gatcombe were pleased to have a chance to talk to the Princess Royal when she came past them on a morning ride, before the Princess returned later in the day to present rosettes and certificates to happy riders. We were delighted that multi medal winning para rider Anne Dunham came to chat to riders at the finish.

Lucy an RDA rider from Wellow Group was pleased to complete the longer 14 km route on her young horse, which settled beautifully as she took the lead alongside regional chairman Lizzie Blair. This group of 14 had a couple of experienced Beaufort Hunt members along to help keep us on the right tracks including Pammy Jane Farquhar and Jane Tuckwell who helps run Badminton Horse Trials. Talland RDA organiser Caroline Longsdon was on a lovely dun horse bought to hunt with grandchildren. Sam and deputy chairman Sheila Saner were lucky enough to be on horses leant by past RDA Chairman Jane Holderness Roddam, who later came to the finish to catch up with RDA friends. Volunteers from Hauserley Hollow Group and Saxon Group talked about how much they enjoy RDA and it was good to get a chance to congratulate Kady, coach of Darren RDA Rider of the Year.

A lot of planning went into organizing this successful Big Ride and we were very grateful to our President the Princess Royal and the teams at Gatcombe and Highgrove for making it possible.

Gatcombe riders happy rosettes

Page Last Updated: September 18, 2018

London Marathon 2018 – places available

Looking for a place in the 2018 London Marathon? Why not run for RDA, we have guaranteed Golden Charity Bond places available on a first come first served basis.
Runners are asked to raise £1,500 for RDA UK Charity no 244108 and there is a £100 registration fee to sign up.  All you need to do is email satkinson@rda.org.uk with your details and a brief description about how you could raise the funds for us and we can add you to our charity draw.
Good luck!

Page Last Updated: September 18, 2018

Big Ride gets even bigger in Greater London

Greater London Region at Bushy Park on Sunday 24 September

Wow what an amazing event emerged from Horse Rangers and Park Lane RDA Groups joining forces! Over 100 riders on 30 lovely ponies rode in well organised groups round a beautiful 3 km course through Bushy Park in London. This was all made possible by lots of wonderful volunteers led by Nicky Wyss from Horse Rangers and Natalie O’Rourke from Park Lane, who organised registration, ponies, mounting, course stewarding, rosettes, cakes and more.

30 ponies gathered in the indoor school before the first ride set off entering Bushy Park in front of White Lodge led by two mounted police from the City Police Force, going up wide and grassy Lime Avenue heading towards Diana’s Fountain. There was lots of wildlife to be spotted including red deer.

Another 20 groups of riders followed throughout the afternoon and most were supported by volunteers and parents on foot. There was a great atmosphere and the enjoyment of riders many of whom were riding out in the park for the first time was evident. The parents of one young rider who had raised over £500 were keen to provide feedback on just how much riding with RDA had helped their son’s mobility. 35 RDA riders completed the beautiful course accompanied by coaches and non disabled riders with the volunteers and staff who had worked so hard all afternoon getting their turn later on. Fantastic weather added to the special feeling for this event and there was talk of these groups doing another Big Ride next year!

Sponsor Sam at: https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/samorde

Police Horse in lead

Page Last Updated: September 18, 2018

North Midlands – next stop for Sam’s Big Ride

North Midlands Region at Beacon Hill Country Park

Friday 22 September

Beacon Hill Country Park was an excellent location for a Big Ride with tracks for a 1km and a 5 km circuit in beautiful countryside, a big car park allowing an area to be sectioned off for mounting and mown grass area with plenty of space for refreshment gazebos and end of ride celebrations. It is also close to Dawn Kirby-Whitmore’s Meadows School of Riding, home of Ashmount and Wenlo RDA Groups and Dawn kindly provided ponies for these riders. Riders from Scropton RDA and Kimberley House RDA also joined brining in their own ponies.

The Big Ride started with a series of groups of led riders from Ashmount, Wenlo and Scropton RDA Groups completing the 1 km circuit, each coming back to line up for rosettes and certificates. We were delighted to have these presented by Nicky Morgan MP, Councillor David Snark and by Ashmount School Head Teacher and Chairman of Governors. All were attending the Big Ride to help Ashmount RDA celebrate 35 years, which was done in fine style with at least 3 cakes with candles!

Later the longer 5 km route was tackled by a medium speed and then faster group of mixed RDA riders and volunteers. We were delighted that participant representative Matt Dalley was able to ride on a borrowed RDA pony after being ‘gutted’ when discovering that his own horse had lost a shoe that morning.

Sponsor Sam at: https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/samorde

Page Last Updated: September 18, 2018

Sam’s Big Ride in W&C Scotland

Crieff, Wednesday 13 September
The overriding characteristic of the Big Ride in this region was that as many groups as possible joined in when and as they could, so the fundraising challenge included:
Sam Orde riding 5 km at Crieff stables with 3 of the more experienced RDA riders from Strathearn RDA Group known as Rideaway. 2 coaches from that group and volunteers from Rideaway and Gareloch Group joined the beautiful ride up Knock Hill, which started in ‘breich’ weather (a bit of light drizzle) and ended in sunshine. This was just part of the day at Crieff which saw 4 regular RDA sessions in the morning, long service RDA awards being presented to the wonderful Crieff Hydro stables manager Liz and coaches Sarah and Fiona, as well as to 4 ponies. Of course there was lots of chatter and refreshments along the way and quite a number of RDA regional officers there to help everything go smoothly.
Later the event moved to Gleneagles Riding Centre to see the impressive venue for Auchterarder RDA Group. Other representatives of RDA Groups had also gathered there including Brian Cuthbert representing two Carrick RDA groups. Brian and his wife kindly offered to use an art event later in the year to fundraise for the Big Ride project. Gleneagles coach Jane Cepok showed all around the Centre, before long service awards were presented to three Auchterarder volunteers. The day ended with the arrival of two of their young riders straight from school and just in time to give lovely RDA pony Paddy his long service badge.
Jane Isaacs organised a picnic carriage drive for 15 Argyll Group drivers, who were joined by Patsy Muir-Simpson and half a dozen Forth Valley drivers. They ‘had a great day, missed all the rain, drove a decent distance and ate a lot’
Breadalbane & District Group held their own Big Ride for 7 riders earlier in the week to join the fundraising efforts. Group organiser Jennifer Valentine reported that ‘Everyone riders and volunteers had a ball and raised plenty of money’.
What a wonderful Big Ride day with seeing so many RDA members from various groups!

Page Last Updated: September 18, 2018

Job vacancy at The Brae – Physiotherapist

Part-time Physiotherapist, Band 6, required to provide therapeutic riding to clients of all ages and conditions. Minimum of 2 years post graduation experience required. Some experience in therapeutic riding preferred.

Fixed Term contract for 2 years initially.

Hours of Work -16 per week to be agreed

Job description and application form can be obtained from www.brae.org.uk or for more information contact

Closing date 22nd September 5pm

Interviews to be held on Friday 29th September

Mary Sneddon, Centre Manager
Tel : 01382776880
07885851881

Page Last Updated: September 18, 2018

Sam’s Big Ride: Festival of Endurance in Grampian & Highlands

RDA Scottish Festival of Endurance, Highland RDA Group on Saturday 9 September

It was a great experience for the Big Ride to be part of an RDA Endurance Competition at Highland RDA Group’s wonderful venue overlooking the Moray Firth. We were welcomed by owner Christine Anderson, who was carrying a home baked cake to sustain riders across her yard which stables 100 horses.

10 RDA riders and 6 RDA coaches were soon getting kit ready for the competition: maps, bibs, water bottles, ponies. We were supported throughout the day by crew from Scottish Endurance Riding Club, who were brilliant and I learnt a lot about endurance from them. Farrier and vet checks were completed before we set out on a beautiful route organised by RDA Endurance Committee member, Brenda Burnett. Brenda had a busy day not only running the competition, but also competing herself taking two RDA riders along at a cracking pace.

At their allocated times riders set out in pairs with a coach to ride 15km, 11km or 8km through woodland and along grassy tracks on the beautiful Rosehaugh Estate. We were met at check points by crew who helped refresh the horses with a wash off and drink of sugar beet water. I was able to ride with regional coach Lorna Clark and use these points to change the group of RDA riders we accompanied, so that we got to ride with everyone.

There was a really positive vibe and during the ride and afterwards over cake riders explained why they enjoy RDA endurance so much:
Jill who has also been an RDA trustee for 14 years said: ‘It is all about enablement. I can’t walk without sticks & splints, but I can go out on a horse and enjoy the countryside.’
Mary who had rheumatoid arthritis at 17 said ‘I wouldn’t have had the recovery I had without riding. Why wouldn’t you enjoy riding in the countryside!’
Lisa talked about the ‘sense of freedom’. As well as being an RDA rider Lisa is the group’s volunteer coordinator and a big cheer went up at the prize giving when Lisa was presented with a trophy and certificate for achieving 160 km total for endurance rides. The celebrations did not stop there as a delighted Stuart received his certificate for 200km!

Highlands tracks collage

Page Last Updated: September 18, 2018