RDA National Championships 13-15 July

The RDA National Championships – the biggest event of its kind in the world for disabled horse riders and carriage drivers – returns this July with nine new classes in equestrian vaulting and the first ever Endurance competition. The three-day event, which also features dressage, showjumping and carriage driving, attracts over 400 qualifying competitors from all over the UK.

From the technically demanding fun of the ‘Countryside Challenge’ to top flight dressage, the Championships is a display of skill, horsemanship and determination from competitors of all ages and abilities.

“In response to its growing popularity with RDA groups around the UK, we have added nine new classes to the Vaulting competition this year,” explains event secretary Sarah Hadley. “Since we first included it at the Championships it has proved a big hit with spectators and competitors alike, and this year the competition will take centre stage in the main arena on Saturday afternoon. Visitors can expect an inspiring and gravity-defying display of gymnastic skill, teamwork and horsemanship!”

Endurance will be making its debut at the event, with an introductory competition of up to 2 km. “We would love endurance to become a permanent fixture on the schedule after this year’s event. Testing the horse/rider partnership in a totally different way from our other activities, it will be great to see how our teams approach the challenge and get the most out of their horses and ponies,” says Sarah.

For classified riders, the Championships is an important fixture in the competition calendar, and with talent spotters on the lookout for the next Sophie Christiansen or Lee Pearson, the pressure will most definitely be on. “We pride ourselves on the friendliness of our event, but don’t underestimate the seriousness of the competition,” says Sarah. “There isn’t a competitor here who isn’t trying to do their very best and go home with a red rosette.”

The RDA National Championships takes place from 13-15 July at Hartpury College, Gloucester. Free entry. Visitors welcome.

Page Last Updated: June 8, 2018

Volunteer opportunity: Could you help to raise awareness of RDA and its work in West & Central Scotland?

We have two volunteer roles available to help raise awareness of RDA. Please take a moment to read the descriptions below and see if you could give your support.

Regional Publicity Officer

RDA is looking for a volunteer for West & Central Scotland Region to publicise the work of RDA and its member groups to the public through online, print and social media.  The role would suit someone with communications and PR experience who is looking to use their skills for the benefit of others.

Event co-ordinator for the RDA stand at Blair Hose Trials.

RDA has been supported by Blair Horse Trials for many years, and we benefit from a great position at the event, where we sell a range of merchandise, including RDA branded items and RDA Christmas cards.  In addition, we take the opportunity to publicise the work of the RDA and particularly the activities of the groups within West & Central Scotland.

We are looking for a volunteer to be in charge of this project, including liaison with Blair Horse Trials, organising the stock and information displays plus other additional events or occasions.

For more information on either of these exciting and rewarding roles please contact Gillie Drapper, Regional Publicity Officer, West & Central Region Scotland  Mobile: 077481 83239 or email: drapper@kilewnan.org.uk

Page Last Updated: April 24, 2018

NAIDEX 2018 is nearly here!

We are looking forward to seeing everyone on the RDA stand at NAIDEX 2018, we are pleased to be an official partner for the event taking place 25-26 April at the NEC.  Come and say hello, meet the team and have a go on our mechanical horse!.
Book your FREE tickets today!

 

Page Last Updated: April 12, 2018

Appointment of a new Chair for RDA

After three terms of three years Sam Orde will be retiring as Chair of RDA UK at the end of March 2019. Sam has been (and continues to be) an exemplary Chair for the Association and does an incredible amount to further our work. We are extremely grateful to Sam for her hard work and commitment.

The Chair of RDA UK is a vital role combining a number of different requirements in terms of skills and experience as well as being the key leadership figure for the association. Candidates may come from either within or beyond RDA and can be nominated by one of the following:
a) 2 RDA member groups;
b) 2 Regional Chairs;
c) The Board of RDA UK

In order to ensure that we fill this post in a way which is fitting for our development, we have appointed a recruitment consultant – Hanover Fox – to help the current Board nominate its preferred candidate. Therefore we would like any interested person to speak to, and apply via, Hanover Fox. This will enable us to ensure that all applicants are assessed against the same criteria and we can work with Hanover Fox and our panel made up of people representing the constituents of RDA to find the best person for the role and for RDA.

The advert for the role is here below, and as you will see, if you want more information, or to discuss the role, please contact Phil de Glanville at the address shown.

AdvertForNewRDAChair

Page Last Updated: March 26, 2018

RDA AGM announced

Notice is hereby given that the Fiftieth Annual General Meeting of the Riding for the Disabled Association Incorporating Carriage Driving will be held at The Trades Hall of Glasgow, 85 Glassford Street, Glasgow G1 1UH on Wednesday 14th November 2018 at 2.00pm.

The RDA Memorandum & Articles of Association allow Member Groups to submit resolutions for inclusion on the AGM Agenda. Please see clause 8.3 of the Articles of Association. Resolutions must be received by Friday 21st September 2018. Please note that this year we will be electing a new RDA UK Chair at the AGM. 

The Agenda and accompanying papers (including a location map), will be circulated to all Member Groups prior to 14th November.

Page Last Updated: March 26, 2018

A World First Trek to Everest Base Camp

In Spring 2018, RDA rider, Max Stainton will attempt to reach Everest Base Camp to raise funds for Riding for the Disabled Association. Max, who has cerebral palsy, will be leaving the electric wheelchair he relies on daily in Kathmandu and swapping to a Nepalese horse for the ascent up to Base Camp with a team of supporters walking alongside. We believe a trek of this kind has never been achieved before.    This is a once in a lifetime challenge for Max and the Riding Everest team, who are aiming to raise £50,000 towards the first ever RDA National Training Centre, helping to make this dream project a reality. Find out more about this amazing event, how you get involved and show support 

Max is a disabled finance professional who works in London. He has lived with Cerebral Palsy all his life and has ridden with RDA since aged 5.

Page Last Updated: January 15, 2018

RDA official partner for NAIDEX 2018

RDA are pleased to be event partner for NAIDEX 2018  Europe’s biggest show dedicated to the care, rehabilitation and lifestyle of people with a disability or impairment.
Come and visit our stand in the Sports Arena section, have a go on our mechanical horse and learn more how you can get involved with our charity.
Register online today for your FREE TICKETS  NAIDEX 2018

Page Last Updated: January 11, 2018

Vacancy for Council Chair at British Equestrian Federation

The BEF is seeking a new Council Chair. Please follow this link for details on the role and application process: BEF Council Chair Vacancy

Page Last Updated: January 8, 2018

We are recruiting! Trusts and Grants Fundraiser vacancy

A brand new role has been created at RDA UK’s National office in Warwick. We are looking for a dynamic, enthusiastic and experienced Trust fundraiser to join us in 2018, the successful candidate will have the opportunity to significantly contribute towards our major new project to build the first ever RDA National Training Centre and to increase our annual income overall, in line with our strategy.   If you are a confident fundraiser with a proven successful track record in writing high quality bids and applications then this is the ideal opportunity for you.  Apply by email direct to satkinson@rda.org.uk  sending a covering note explaining why you are an ideal candidate along with a current CV.
Closing date is 26 January 2018, interviews will be held Friday 2 February 2018.
This role is a full time, 2 year fixed term contract and the successful applicant will be tasked with raising in the region of £150,000 per year for the duration of the contract.  To find out more download the Job Description  

Page Last Updated: December 19, 2017

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