RDA AGM: Chairman’s Report

Thank you to all members of RDA for working together to continue to provide the best possible experience for our participants.

This year 5,000 endeavour awards have been given out by groups to their riders, carriage drivers and vaulters. These awards focus on each participant’s needs and achievements and are just one example of RDA focusing on ‘what people want’.

This approach has been used when reviewing the coaching pathway to come up with a plan reflecting what coaches want to take RDA into the future as leaders in our field.

We are excited about the plans for our National Training Centre at Lowlands and now that we own the site and have planning permission, it is great to see progress being made on fundraising and on getting the building project underway next year with plans to complete in spring 2019.

Thank you to everyone who is supporting fundraising efforts. It was brilliant to have support in all parts of the UK for the Big Ride project and to feel the unity of purpose across RDA for our plans.

I am delighted to report another strong year for support given to existing RDA groups. This has included:
200 workshops being delivered to 1,400 volunteers on
governance, safeguarding, customer service and disability awareness;
we are also expanding e-learning options.
On the coaching front there were, 18 National training days and countless regional and county training days;

Groups need funds. I am pleased to report that RDA National has given groups a total of £190,000 in grants to help them help even more disabled children and adults and provide them with the best possible experience.

Focussing on helping new groups is showing results and it is pleasing to have 20 new groups currently attending workshops and in the process of setting up, and 7 new groups that have joined our 474 groups in the UK in the last year.

Our participants have once again achieved great things. Proficienty tests have been updated this year, so that riders can continue to be rewarded for their achievements.

The standard continues to go up at our 3 day National Championships. It was exciting to see support for the showing classes in their first year so great that the classes were split for initial judging.

Many congratulations to the para dressage team, who with new faces representing GB retained their 100% gold record. It was heartening to hear Suzanna Hext say in our RDA magazine after winning 3 gold medals that
‘Being part of your local RDA brings exciting opportunities to compete in the future.
Dreams really do come true.’

What we do in our RDA works. Therapy is provided through horses. We see improvements in our participants’ and their families’ lives, but of course we need to measure the impact so that we can tell others about this. RDA’s outcomes tracker is now widely used in the UK and in 8 other countries including Australia and the USA.

We have a lot to look forward to in RDA and are currently asking for ideas on how best to celebrate RDA’s 50th year in 2019!

Thank you to our wonderful volunteers at group, county, regional and national level and to our excellent staff at National Office and to everyone who has helped RDA over the past year.

Sam Orde, Chairman, RDA UK

Page Last Updated: November 15, 2017

RDA AGM: Princess Anne and Alastair Stewart champion the needs of the individual and celebrate expert volunteers

RDA has held its 48th AGM, Chaired by RDA President Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal. The Princess was present for the full day’s programme before chairing the formal business of the AGM.

In her President’s Report, The Princess acknowledged the changing landscape RDA is working in, the need for evaluation and how RDA has responded to that challenge; the fundamental principle of putting each individual’s needs first and of working with the person rather than the label of their disability. She recognised the experience and expertise of RDA’s coaches and volunteers – and how those skills can come together in the vision for RDA’s National Training Centre.

Broadcaster, journalist and RDA supporter Alastair Stewart OBE opened the morning’s proceedings with a talk on the Importance of RDA. In his open and frank address, he reminded delegates of the power they have to change lives when they ask: “What can you do? What would you like to do? What do you dream of doing?” He praised volunteers and RDA’s collaborative approach to meeting participants’ needs: “We don’t look down at people. We look across at each other. And together we look up and decide what we can achieve.”

RDA rider, East Region Participant Rep and Para-Vaulter Lizzie Bennett likewise spoke from the heart when she gave her presentation on ‘Why RDA is Important to Me’. Having achieved more than she ever thought possible through her riding and vaulting, she explained how RDA has helped her overcome the isolation and fear that disability that cause.

Sam Orde, RDA Chairman, inspired delegates with tales from her ‘Big Ride’ Challenge, which raised £40,000 for RDA groups and the National Training Centre. In her Chairman’s report she commented: “. It was brilliant to have support in all parts of the UK for the Big Ride project and to feel the unity of purpose across RDA for our plans.”

In an interesting and informative presentation, Barry Horne from English Federation of Disability Sport revealed the results of their research into the motivations and barriers for an active lifestyle experienced by people with disabilities. Representatives from CELT at The Clwyd Centre North Wales explored the wide range of educational and therapeutic opportunities that exist with horses as a catalyst and motivator for change.

Claire Milican, Director of Activities and Fiona Harris, Coaching Coordinator both at RDA UK presented the details of the Coaching Pathway review, which will ultimately lead to changes in the training and qualifications journey for the charity’s coaching workforce around the UK.

“Our AGM should be a reflection of where we are as a charity, an exploration of the challenges we face as we strive to be better, and an inspiration for all of us as we look forward to another extraordinary year,” said Ed Bracher, RDA Chief Executive.

“This meeting was all that and more and I am grateful to all our fantastic speakers for entertaining, informing and challenging us. The work we are undertaking on our coaching pathway and our National Training Centre; our commitment to evaluating our activities and listening to our participants; the skill and expertise of our volunteers – all these things have been acknowledged and celebrated. We continue to have the invaluable support of Her Royal Highness, not just in chairing our meetings but her regular visits to groups all over the UK, her unfailing interest in and scrutiny of our activities and her instinctive understanding of all the good that RDA achieves.”

Resolutions (all passed):
1. To appoint Sayer Vincent as Auditors of the Association in respect of the accounts for the year commencing 1 April 2017

2. To elect Lindsay Correa as a Trustee of the Association, with specific responsibility for volunteer development

3. To elect Sally-Anne O’Neill as a Trustee of the Association, with specific responsibility for activities

4. To confirm the re-appointment of Ms Jacqui Scott as a Trustee of the Association, with specific responsibility for fundraising

5. To appoint Judi Singer as an Honorary Life Vice President of the Association

6. To appoint Anne Dunham OBE as an Honorary Life Vice President of the Association

Awards:
Hon Life Vice Presidents: Judi Singer and Anne Dunham OBE

Susan Dudley-Smith Award: Stephen Henry Dale, East Park RDA
Birt Spooner Cup: Margaret Morgan

Loriner’s Education award: Lyncombe Lodge

President’s Awards: George Masson, Maryculter Driving group; Sarah Baker, Herts & Essex Border group; Kath Hatwell, Essex County Chairman

Page Last Updated: November 15, 2017

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: October 20, 2017

£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: October 20, 2017

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: October 6, 2017

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 29, 2017

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 29, 2017

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 20, 2017

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 14, 2017

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 12, 2017

Sam’s Big Ride reaches North region

Tuesday 29 August in Cumbria
In this large region the Big Ride was to be undertaken in two parts. First in Cumbria a beautiful carriage drive and ride with two fantastic ponies: Monty a skewbald driving pony owned by Westmorland RDA whip Jenny Harris and Jack a Clydesdale cross riding pony owned by RDA driver and volunteer Faith Billington. These two are used to working together so there were no problems mixing carriage driving with riding.
Four people, two ponies, one carriage and one bike set off on a 10 km route. It was a bit like musical chairs as we got a turn in at least one saddle/seat! I was in the carriage for half and then riding lovely Jack. Where we could Jack went along off road alternatives before meeting up again with the carriage. This included an old railway line ‘The Hincaster Trail’, going past the Lancaster canal and Kent River and following a magical woodland path with fairy trees and decorations!

Thursday 31 August in Northumberland
After all the work that others are putting into organising Big Rides, it was about time that I helped out. It was a pleasure to welcome Morpeth Hunt Pony Club to a rally at my Ritton Farm and to combine this with a Big Ride. Close ties between pony club and RDA are helped by Michelle Macaulay, who is both District Commissioner and an RDA trustee/treasurer/coach.
Morpeth RDA Group and Newcastle & District Group each brought two riders and ponies as well as plenty of supporters. The morning saw the 4 young RDA riders set off leaving the rally field for a 3km route around the farm, accompanied by Sam, 7 young pony club riders and 14 on foot either leading or side walking. As we topped the hill we could see the North Sea, heather clad hills and views of 30 miles stretching away to the south. This was the first time that the RDA riders had been away from their usual venues to ride out in the countryside, although they were all quite experienced riders.
The two Newcastle RDA riders had recently returned from an RDA holiday week in Yorkshire, where they had learnt to canter and were delighted to pass their bronze RDA riding tests. Their coach Avril Lomas explained how helpful they had found one session on a mechanical horse for improving their canter. Avril has now found one that they can use in Northumberland for when it is raining as this group rides in an outdoor school.
Everyone joined together for a large and jolly pooled picnic lunch, before Sam headed out to add further kilometres to the Big Ride total with 4 Pony Club teenagers. The families at the pony club rally and others too donated funds split between the RDA Groups and RDA’s National Training Centre, in addition to riders getting themselves sponsored. There was mutual agreement that this partnership approach had been successful for all and enjoyable.

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

PC & RDA

Page Last Updated: September 5, 2017

Applications closing soon for the Young Professional Programme and BEF England Excel Talent Programme

Applications for the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) Young Professional Programme and England Excel Talent Programme, funded by Sport England, will close on 31 August 2017.

A new and exciting programme for this year, the BEF Young Professional Programme’s aim is to support athletes moving out of the youth development pathway by giving them a transition plan designed to help them engage with the wider equestrian sport network. The 12-month programme is run in collaboration with British Dressage, British Eventing and British Showjumping and will help athletes with their personal development and career planning; instilling them with confidence to thrive in the equine industry.

The BEF England Excel Talent Programme is embedded into the equestrian talent pathway and helps to identify and nurture up-and-coming riders who demonstrate potential to win medals in the future within the Olympic and Paralympic disciplines: dressage, para-dressage, eventing and showjumping. In order to maximise funding and resources and offer a more tailored approach in delivery, this year will see a reduction in the number of athletes being accepted.

For more information on how to apply for the BEF England Excel Talent Programme, click here.

The selection criteria and the application forms for the BEF Young Professional Programme can be found here.

All programme queries from potential applicants should be directed to Georgie Wheeler: georgie.wheeler@bef.co.uk / Tel: 02476 698904

ENDS

For all media enquiries, please contact Richard Waterhouse – richard.waterhouse@bef.co.uk

Page Last Updated: August 25, 2017

Sam’s Big Ride reaches Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland Region at Shane Castle on Sunday 20 August
What a beautiful venue for a Big Ride and the sun shone too! There was plenty of room on Shane O’Neill’s wonderful property for riders and carriage drivers to head out in separate directions.
10 riders gathered at the farm steading with Robert Davis kindly bringing Cindy for Sam Orde to ride. Robert and his family host four RDA groups at their fabulous Laurel View Equestrian Centre. We enjoyed a 9 km ride along woodland tracks, passing along the banks of River Maine and Loch Neagh. Along the way it was great to hear from Patricia McClain, RDA coach for Lurgan Group about the successes of their new vaulting sessions and to hear more about their brilliant holiday programme.
The carriage drivers and some walkers gathered at the tea room next to the famous Shane Castle ruins. This was a hive of activity with a good gang of volunteers there to make sure that the day ran smoothly. 5 carriages and 14 carriage drivers from Ballyward RDA Group had come from two hours away and they were efficiently and calmly organised by Joanne Orr, who as well as running an RDA group provides carriages for weddings all over Ireland. The drivers aged from 5 to 70 years old took turns to complete a scenic 5 km drive, which I was told included passing spots where Game of Thrones was filmed. There was a great atmosphere and team work. The evident enjoyment of the carriage drivers was summed up by one young driver with autism:
‘I enjoy carriage driving because it is better than video games. It gets me out in the college holidays. I do it with 2 friends. I prefer doing this to anything else at the moment. I had never met a real horse until a few weeks ago and they are beautiful animals. Practising round cones in the indoor school taught me how to trot like this now. Now I would like to see what it is like to ride a horse and feel it trot when you sit on it. I still want to keep carriage driving as well.’
At the end of the afternoon all gathered for rosettes and certificates and to be thanked for fundraising for RDA’s new National Training Centre. This was the first Big Ride following completion of the purchase of Lowlands Farm, which is a big step towards this exciting project becoming reality!
Many thanks to Julie Frazer and all who helped make this a successful and enjoyable day.

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

From back of carriage

Big Ride RDA UK events so far 10
RDA riders/vaulters/carriage drivers 78
volunteers & supporters riding/carriage driving 56
volunteers walking 96
Big Ride Total km with ponies 1114 km
Distance by volunteers on foot 265 km
Big Ride events to go 11

 

Page Last Updated: August 21, 2017

Sam’s Big Ride Update: South Wales and South West

South West Region
Forde Abbey, Somerset on Tuesday 1 August
Exciting to arrive at this beautiful venue for the first carriage driving as part of the Big Ride project. RDA regional chairman Sue Ingleby and others were busy equipping an RDA tent with refreshments. Jenny Pennell carriage driving rep over saw the harnessing of 3 ponies to carriages in pouring rain as we all put on our waterproofs. As soon as the two RDA carriage drivers Linda and Denise arrived the sun appeared and thankfully shone all day. Three carriages with three RDA volunteers supporting on bikes and a car follower set off as a team through the stunning garden past Forde Abbey – what a view!
8 km later Linda, who drives from her wheelchair and whose CV includes having taught RDA riders as an BHSAI at one of RDA’s earliest groups and a stint of stunt riding in New Zealand, explained how much RDA carriage driving means to her: ‘It gives me the freedom to be out in the open and do something positive since my accident and the chance to be back with the ponies I love’. I had the interesting experience of being in a carriage driven by Judi and pulled by a lovely grey Dartmoor pony Demi. Demi has nearly completed his RDA training and it was great to see his pricked ears as he steadily navigated the narrow, high banked lanes and hills.
Lunch was a fun and chatty occasion with RDA supporters and Forde Abbey Carriage Driving Group overlapping with Chard and District RDA Group ready for riding in the afternoon. Two young RDA riders from this group completed 1.5 and 2km each, with many helpers walking alongside in support. William and Chloe were delighted with their rosettes and Big Ride certificates.
The day was capped off by a longer ride of 5km. RDA volunteer Greta kindly brought in two of her lovely hunters for Sam and Greta to ride over the hill and back, to finish off an active day with a very positive group of people.

South Wales

Green Meadow Riding Centre on Friday 4 August
The Big Ride received an enthusiastic welcome from Judith England and her brilliant team at her Green Meadow Riding Centre. This is a pretty special location in Dare Valley Country Park built on a reclaimed slag heap in 1976, with welsh hills on one side and the ex-mining town of Aberdare on the other.
A large group of people gathered to put on a special Big Ride day with a welsh twist. RDA riders, volunteers and ponies came from Green Meadow, Bridgend and Mount Pleasant Groups and all three regional chairmen were there to help. There was a real community effort on fundraising and RDA riders proudly produced their sponsorship forms at the start of the day. Our pre ride photos starred a welsh lady in traditional costume, welsh mascot toy pony and a big cheque for £1,500 raised by this event! With a bit of shepherding from Judith and regional coach Mike Butcher (who fundraised £350 with a fancy dress and raffle) we were ready. There was a tremendous team spirit as 10 RDA riders helped by 21 volunteers on foot and a dozen volunteers on horses set off together!
The RDA riders completed a 2km ride through the country park, before returning to rosettes, lunch, face painting and fun! The longer ride of a good 25km saw us climb to 446m for tremendous views across the welsh hills. This beautiful ride was virtually all off road. We rode through woodland with lunch provided under beech trees, where we sheltered from a brief shower. The wonderful ponies were sure footed up and down steep tracks and clearly enjoyed the ride including a couple of good spins. The end of the ride took us along an old coal railway line between ex miners’ houses. It was a chatty four hour ride and my favourite overheard question ‘Do you have a chicken called Darcy’……the answer yes and we all learnt quite a bit about hens!
This day gave a real boost to the Big Ride cumulative totals and it looks like we need to revise our 1000 km target upwards!

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

Greenmeadows_025

Big Ride RDA UK events so far 9
RDA riders/vaulters/carriage drivers 64
volunteers & supporters riding/carriage driving 46
volunteers walking 88
Big Ride Total km with ponies 837 km
Distance by volunteers on foot 231 km
Big Ride events to go 12
Page Last Updated: August 18, 2017

Job vacancies at Beechley Stables

ALLERTON, LIVERPOOL.
As one of the leading providers of riding for disabled for children & adults on Merseyside, Beechley Stables are seeking to appoint suitably qualified and experienced staff for the vacancies below. These key positions will steer the riding centre in a move from their current location to an impressive state of the art premises, within a mile of its existing site – at such point the Centre Manager will then be able to live on site, but in the interim will need to find their own accommodation.

CENTRE MANAGER F/T Circa £22,000
Tasked with being responsible for all operational aspects in the running of the stables, the Centre Manager will lead & train the staff team and volunteers; sustaining, maintaining and developing initiatives so as to ensure that the provision for our client group is not merely optimised, but operates to the utmost service standards. The post holder should ideally be a qualified BHSAI & RDAGC, who is well capable of all aspects of Horse Care by virtue of a minimum BHS Stage 2 / National Diploma.

GROOM INSTRUCTOR F/T Circa £17500
Alongside a fellow staff member and reporting to the Centre Manager, you will be responsible for the care and maintenance of all our horses and ensuring that the yard presentation is of best measure. With the ability to deliver high standard lessons to our service users, you will have suitable qualifications and experience including BHS Stage 2 Horse Care and an RDA Coaching Qualification enabling you to work unsupervised.

For consideration, please submit your current CV outlining your experience and qualifications to : beechleyrecruitme@gmail.com Please note candidates not receiving a reply within 10 working days, may assume their application has been unsuccessful, and in which case the Charity Trustees thank you in advance for your kind consideration.
PLEASE NOTE THESE APPOINTMENTS ARE SUBJECT TO ENHANCED DBS CHECKS

Page Last Updated: August 7, 2017

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

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

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

Make a Splash for RDA at the Lions Charity Raft Race

Wellesbourne & District and Shakespeare Lions Clubs are raising funds for RDA UK at the 2017 Raft Race.
Sign up today – Get a team together, build a raft then put the fun into fundraising by paddling your raft down the River Avon to Stratford on
Sunday 23 July 2017
a definite date for the diary!!
Find out more   http://www.raftrace.org.uk/  Tel: 07590 387 204 or email enquiries@raftrace.org.uk

Page Last Updated: March 14, 2017

Job vacancy at The Brae

The Brae RDA has a vacancy for a Chief Instructor/Trainer. Details on their website here: www.brae.org.uk/chief-instructortrainer-job-details/

Page Last Updated: January 25, 2017