Princess Anne to lead Carriage Driving celebrations at charity championships

RDA President HRH The Princess Royal at Hartpury College, Gloucestershire, Friday 17 July

RDA is welcoming its President, Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal to the National Championships this summer to help celebrate 40 years of RDA Carriage Driving. The charity’s flagship event, which takes place on 17-19 July at Hartpury College in Gloucestershire, starts on Friday with a celebration of RDA Carriage Driving featuring dressage tests, cones & obstacles and a VIP reception.

Friday’s programme continues with Showjumping, Visually Impaired Dressage, Countryside Challenge and Horsecare & Knowledge. Saturday and Sunday features Dressage, Vaulting, Countryside Challenge, Horsecare & Knowledge, Arts & Crafts and Best Turned Out.

The family-friendly event attracts over 400 competitors, including children and adults, all of whom have qualified for entry at regional competitions organised around the country throughout the spring. Entry to the event is free for visitors and there is plenty to see and do for all ages.

“We are delighted that Her Royal Highness can join us for this special occasion as we celebrate 40 years of RDA Carriage Driving,” says Championships Chairman Anne Coney. “This wonderful event captures the spirit of the whole organisation. We bring together competitors from all over the UK who have overcome sometimes unbelievable challenges to qualify for their place. The courage and skill displayed by many of our riders and drivers is truly inspiring and our volunteers work hard throughout the weekend to make sure everyone has a good time.”

The Championships is famous for its friendly atmosphere, helpful volunteers and ‘can do’ attitude. A free shuttle bus runs throughout the weekend from the carpark to the arenas to make the site more accessible for both visitors and competitors.

Friendly dogs on leads welcome.

Page Last Updated: June 8, 2015

Rossington Hall says ‘thank you’ to long-serving Secretary

After 28 years as Secretary to the Rossington Hall Group, Stancee Wedd decided at the recent AGM that it was time to hang up her pen and hand over the reins to someone else. She thanked her husband Colin for his support over the years. Colin Wedd founded the RDA in 1985, starting with nothing, to build the group up to the incredible facility that it is today.

It provides a unique horse riding and horse experience to hundreds of adults and children each year, something which they wouldn’t normally be able to access. Colin responded, “It has taken years of hard work to get to the stage we are at now, something that is of great value and a fantastic asset to Doncaster, South Yorkshire and RDA, and I thank everyone who has contributed to make it so. Stancee in particular has done a tremendous job over the years”. Colin and Stancee remain as Trustees and volunteers of the Group. Further information about the group can be found at


Page Last Updated: May 12, 2015

RDA named Equifest Charity of the Year 2015

Press Release 

RDA has been chosen as the official charity for Equifest 2015.

Held at the East of England Showground, Peterborough, August 12 to 16, this action packed event includes competitions, shows, shopping, celebrities and demonstrations plus the opportunity to meet the team behind RDA. Visit the RDA stand stop by, say hello and do some shopping.

Paralympic Gold Medallist, and award winning rider Natasha Baker, who started her career with RDA, will be doing a demonstration on the Saturday and Sunday.

There will also be plenty of fundraising happening with all the proceeds from the shop and drop going towards the charity. 

Said Ed Bracher, RDA Chief Executive: “RDA is delighted to be the chosen charity at this year’s Equifest.  Being at Equifest will really help raise awareness of RDA and we are looking forward to meeting visitors who want to find out more about the work we do and how they can support us.”

 Added Betsy Branyan of Equifest: “RDA carry out invaluable work and we are very pleased to be supporting their magnificent efforts by choosing them as our charity for 2015.” 

RDA Fenland Group will be running a demonstration  showcasing their wonderful riders, horses and ponies. 

For further information contact Equifest on (01733) 363500 or visit


For further press information from RDA images please contact Sal Atkinson, email Tel 01926 405 975 

Page Last Updated: April 16, 2015

People’s Postcode Lottery awards RDA an additional £25k

We are delighted to confirm that players of People’s Postcode Lottery have awarded RDA an additional £25,000 in funding.  Since the Lottery’s launch in 2008 an amazing £58.6 million has so far been awarded to charities and good causes. The support has made a massive difference to hundreds of communities with funding awarded to numerous grass roots groups and local projects as well as national and international charities.

This additional award will allow RDA to support more Group projects and activities in Great Britain in 2015.

RDA Group projects already supported by players in 2014 include:

Middleton Park RDA Yorkshire purchased a new Driving Carriage. The group had a waiting list and the new carriage will provide an extra 4 sessions, reducing the waiting list by 20 people per week.

Tyne and Wear Group have installed new lighting for their outdoor arena.  This has made it possible to offer more rides during the darker days, creating an additional 600 sessions in the first year alone.

Mount Pleasant Group, South Wales needed a new riding arena to continue sessions during the winter months.  The group have 25 young people on the waiting list. The part funding for the new arena will allow the group to provide more sessions and reduce the waiting list.

Quest Group, South East received funding to buy a new pony which will enable the group to run two more classes per week and reduce the current waiting list which at present includes 26 disabled riders.

Dyneley Group, North West, the new arena will allow them to run a longer season on a safe, weatherproof surface. Sessions have previously been cancelled due to unsafe, slippery conditions.

Gareloch Group, Scotland set up their Stable Management therapy sessions to cope with the increased demand for sessions for disabled people who wish to work with horses but who are unable to ride.  At least 20 new places will be created as a result of the new Stable Management project.

Penniwells Group, London, the new Saddle Club has made it possible for 20 more riders to take part in activities over a 10 week programme. The group have a waiting list of 50 riders and the new club will reduce the list.

Travel grants were awarded to 8 RDA Groups to enable them to travel to the 2014 National Championships in Hartpury.

Other projects funded by players include; RDA Holidays, trailer transport for the mechanical horse, the volunteer recruitment memory stick, the 2014 photographic competition, the publication of the new Handbook and Impact Report and the Yard Health Plan chart.

The news of the additional £25,000 was announced at People’s Postcode Lottery’s annual Charity Gala held in Edinburgh on Wednesday 28th January 2015. Over £3 million in additional funding for supported charities was announced at the Gala. Dame Kelly Holmes joined 300 guests to celebrate the impact that players of People’s Postcode Lottery have on charities and good causes.

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Page Last Updated: February 2, 2015

Nominations for the 2015 Gala Awards are now OPEN

 RDA Gala Awards logo 2015 gold

Nominate now to be part of the Gala Awards Wednesday 30 September 2015, The Long Room at Lords Cricket Ground, London

Tell us about the outstanding achievements of RDA participants, volunteers, horses and supporters. Send in your nominations using the forms below, to download just click on the link. There are two versions of each form, a Word document which can be filled in electronically and a PDF version for printing and submitting hand written nominations.The six award categories are:

Volunteer of the Year – sponsored by Perkins Slade
Nominations are now closed.

Brilliant Idea – sponsored by Automotive Insulations Ltd
Brilliant Idea Application Form 2015 PDF
Brilliant Idea Application Form 2015 Word version

Business Partnership – sponsored by BETA
Business-Partnership-Form 2015 PDF
Business-Partnership-Form 2015 Word version

Most Improved Participant – sponsored by Childs Farm
Most Improved Participant Form 2015 PDF
Most Improved Participant Form 2015 Word version

Vet of the Year – sponsored by Merial Animal Health
Vet of the Year Form 2015 PDF
Vet of the Year Form 2015 Word version

Horse or Pony of the Year – sponsored by Snuggy Hoods
Horse or Pony of the Year-Form 2015 PDF
Horse or Pony of the Year Form 2015 Word version

Guidance for Writing Citations

The closing date for nominations is 30 July 2015.

Awards will be presented by Clare Balding at the 2015 Gala Awards dinner at Lords Cricket Ground on Wednesday 30 September 2015.

The Long Room Lords


Page Last Updated: August 3, 2015

Introduction to therapeutic Riding

‘Introduction to therapeutic Riding’, a new study day for Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists interested in assisting riders with disabilities and RDA Groups or for therapists who are already working with riders and want to update their skills. More details are available below:

FLYER Intro to Therapeutic Riding course

Page Last Updated: January 22, 2015

RDA Cash Raffle Winners announced

The winners of the 2014 RDA Cash Raffle are: 

1st Prize of £1,000 Raymond Smith of Manchester with ticket no 01019
2nd Prize of £500 Heather Inchley of Chard with ticket no 02528
3rd Prize of £250 Sarah Curtis of Coventry with ticket no 00696

Congratulations also go to the RDA Groups who won the separate prize draw:

£500 for selling the most tickets goes to Royal Forest of Dean Carriage Driving Group
£100 each also goes to the following Groups who entered the draw selling batches of tickets:
Old Park Farnham
Lodge Farm
East Fife and Scoonie Hill

Page Last Updated: November 28, 2014

Princess Anne to attend RDA AGM

RDA President, Her Royal Highness Princess Anne will be attending this year’s RDA AGM, which is taking place at Aintree Racecourse for the first time.

The meeting will he held on 12 November, and features a lively programme of presentations in the morning session with the AGM in the afternoon. Speakers include representatives from BT Supporters Club and Comic Relief, and Alex Mills of SportEd. Princess Anne will attend the AGM and present awards.

Download the programme and booking form here: AGM 2014 booking form 

North West Region is hosting a Pre-AGM dinner at the racecourse on the evening of 11 November. With after dinner speech by Snooker champion John Parrott, the event will be a great chance to catch up with RDA friends before the following day’s meeting.

Details of the Pre-AGM dinner can be found here: invite PreAGMbookingform

Page Last Updated: October 8, 2014

Grand National winning trainer to talk at Avon fundraiser

On 23 September, Avon Riding Centre is hosting a fundraising lunch, with talk from Grand National winner Venetia Williams. For more information visit the centre’s website here:

Page Last Updated: September 18, 2014

Launch of Junior Stevenage Support Saddle

Stevenage RDA has launched a junior version of its Support Saddle so that lighter and smaller riders can benefit.

In 2011 the Stevenage and District RDA Group began to develop the idea of a specially modified Support Saddle together with Shane Mulryan of Mulryan Saddlery. Following this successful partnership, the first Saddle was delivered to the Stevenage Group early in 2012 and was featured in the article “Sitting Pretty” which appeared in the Spring 2012 edition of RDA News. Since then a number of saddles have been purchased by RDA Groups in the UK.

During 2013 the Stevenage Group began to see the need for a junior version of the Saddle, which could be used by lighter and smaller riders who were more suited to small ponies rather than those of 15 hands and above. A further period of development with Mulryan Saddlery resulted in the creation of the Junior Stevenage Support Saddle. This mirrors the features of the full size version and incorporates various modifications and improvements.

 The basic saddle is a Bates 15” with interchangeable gullet system to suit a variety of pony withers sizes. The saddle also has the C-AIR system of air filled cushions in place of more usual flock. This allows for comfortable and supportive use on different shaped backs as well as reducing the saddle weight.

 Additional design features include:

– Removable cantle extension with adjustable side pieces to suit rider’s shape.

– Removable knee supports under saddle flap

– Removable behind the leg supports

– Removable front support bar

 For more information about the saddle contact Mulryan Saddlery at

Page Last Updated: September 2, 2014

Stratford RDA to hold charity garden concert – 10 August

On Sunday 10th August 2014, the Stratford-upon-Avon Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) group is hosting an open-air charity concert with music from the A440 Chamber Orchestra in a bid to raise £3,500.

The charity concert commences at 5pm and ends at 7pm, and will be held in the beautiful gardens of Ridgeway Lodge, Manor Road, Adderbury, Oxon. The A440 Chamber Orchestra will be directed by Kenneth Woods of the English String Orchestra.

“With wonderful music in such a picturesque garden setting, it’ll be a great evening,” says Carol Collins, RDA Sponsorship Secretary. “People can bring a picnic and enjoy a lovely summer evening relaxing with their hampers and champers, and win one of the great prizes in our raffle!”

The concert is a fundraiser to help provide livery for the five resident ponies and raise funds towards buying a hydraulic mounting lift, which allows for a wheelchair to be positioned right next to the pony at the correct level, making it easier for disabled riders to mount.

“The garden is perfect for hosting concerts, and I wanted to help a local charity,” says host and cellist Graham Appleton. “RDA is doing great work, but it needs more funding to continue giving those with learning and physical disabilities the opportunity to learn to ride.”

In addition to the concert and raffle, there will be a demonstration ride by RDA with ponies Marco and Keira.

“Our motto is ‘it’s what you can do that counts’,” says Donna Jenkins, RDA Group Organiser. “The benefits to the riders can be huge; for example one of our regular riders has cerebral palsy and riding has really helped improve his walking. We are very grateful to Graham for helping us host this event.”

RDA Stratford-upon-Avon is one of 500 groups in the UK working in conjunction with registered charity, the Riding for the Disabled Association, that provide riding lessons for people of varying disabilities. The Stratford group runs over 800 rides a year, with lessons on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Gates open at 4pm. Tickets cost £15 for adults and £5 for those aged 16 and under. For more details, contact Carol Collins at or 07460 319275 or Donna Jenkins at or 07818 413107 or visit

Page Last Updated: July 10, 2014

Job vacancy at Clwyd Special Riding Centre

Clwyd Special Riding Centre provides people with additional needs the opportunity to ride, carriage drive or equestrian vault to benefit their health and wellbeing. The Centre has 24 horses and ponies and is an active yard with the need to recruit:

2 x Grooms

£13,520 per annum 40 hours per week

to include some evening and weekend work.

There is a requirement to undertake evening stable checks for 2/3 nights per week and therefore shared accommodation is available for both posts. Successful applicants are welcome to live in.

You will join an existing dynamic team and be required to hold a Level 3 equine qualification. You will be committed to developing your skills within equine care, be confident in producing horses to a high standard and demonstrate an understanding of and be committed to the work of CSRC and RDA. You will be willing to undertake RDA qualifications in order to support the Equine Manager in the coaching role.

For application forms please contact CSRC on 01352 770446

Closing date: 2 July 2014


Page Last Updated: June 16, 2014

RDA Gala Awards Dinner – reserve your tickets now

RDA Gala Awards logo 2014 gold solid 
Tuesday 30 September 2014 at The Hotel Russell, London. 
Join us and Clare Balding to celebrate the outstanding achievements of RDA participants, volunteers and supporters. Tickets are on sale now and include:

*  Sparkling drinks reception
*  Three course dinner with wine
*  After dinner speech by our special guest
*  Awards presentation
*  Live auction

If you missed last year’s Awards here is a taste of the event, filmed by Horse and Country TV

To reserve your places download the ticket order form or email
Numbers are limited and tickets are allocated on a first come first served basis so please book early to avoid disappointment.

Page Last Updated: August 5, 2014

Entries still open for the Intro Para-Equestrian Competitions

There are still two Intro para-equestrian show dates to go, with entries still being taken, in the first of this British Dressage summer show series. Visit the BEF Intro Para Show page to find out more information about how they work and if you are eligible to attend.

 Summer dates still open for entries are:

• Sunday 8th June – Unicorn RDA, Middlesborough

• Sunday 15th June – The Diamond Centre RDA, Surrey

The new webpage, full of information about the show series can be found by clicking the link below:

Para-Intro Show Series: click for further information

If you have further queries, please contact Beccy Phillips – / 02476 698871

All entries are made directly to the centres themselves using the Intro Para entry form; schedules can be found on the British Dressage Schedules page.

To download a copy of the entry form, please click here

To view a copy of the British Dressage schedule, please click here


As part of the 2013-2017 British Equestrian Federation Excel funding from the National Lottery through Sport England, British Dressage (BD) and British Equestrian Federation (BEF) have introduced a new competition series of Para-Equestrian Dressage Competitions.

This competition series has been introduce to help riders to ‘bridge the gap’ between competing at Riding for the Disabled dressage competitions and affiliated British Dressage competitions. The aim is to break down some of the perceived barriers that stop riders starting in what is now one of the best competition pathways in the World. The first steps are often the most difficult ones to take and the initiative will help riders to take those steps in to the British Dressage competition structure.

Riders do not have to be members of British Dressage to compete at these shows, but are encouraged to become British Dressage Associate member, which is free to join, as this means any results and scores achieved at these competitions will be listed on the British Dressage database.

Page Last Updated: May 20, 2014

RDA is recruiting – Corporate Fundraiser

RDA is recruiting a full time, permanent Corporate Fundraiser to join the team at RDA UK, Warwick. Download the Job Description & Person Spec to find out more. Closing date for applications is 16 May 2014

Page Last Updated: April 24, 2014

Supra Regional Conference, 29 April, The Hand Equestrian Centre

The Supra Regional Conference for South West, Mid West and South Wales with the theme, ‘From Head to Tail’ will take place on Tuesday 29 April at The Hand Equestrian Centre.

The full programme includes presentations from equine dentist, Milosz Grabski and Physiotherapist Ros Boisseau, with a scurry driving demonstration by Jeff Osborne. More information and booking details here:

Page Last Updated: April 15, 2014

Kesteven RDA wins Enterprise Award

The Annual business awards represent a marvellous opportunity to celebrate the success and innovation of the best companies in Grantham. Each year competition is fierce and standards grow as more and more companies take the chance to showcase their achievements. This year a new category was announced which gave charities and not for profit enterprises in the Grantham area an opportunity to enter.

Kesteven RDA was delighted to make the short list and four trustees attended the Black tie event enjoying a champagne drinks reception and four-course meal followed by the ceremony which will took place on the evening of Wednesday 2nd April at the luxury corporate hospitality marquee in the grounds of Belton House.

The atmosphere in the marquee was electric as winners and runners up took centre stage to receive their awards. Kesteven RDA representatives waited with baited breath for their category to be announced. It was a huge surprise and greeted with much excitement when Darren Point from Total Networking announced “ …….and the winner is Kesteven Rideability.”

All the trustees went forward to collect the award and Founder Karen Thompson spoke about how thrilled they were to win the award and commented on the commitment of the volunteers within the group.

She said “This is to recognise the hard work of all the volunteers who have been part of this amazing enterprise for the past 25 years. The work and dedication of the volunteers is truly inspiring – without their commitment the charity would not function. Many of the volunteers participate in order to give something back to the community. This award will give them a huge pat on the back and thank them for all their hard work.”

Runners-up in the category were Inspire+ and Grantham Disabled Children’s Society.


Page Last Updated: April 9, 2014

RDA Holidays – supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery

Book your RDA 2014 holiday now through your RDA Group.  This year RDA registered Riders and Carriage Drivers have more venues than ever to choose from including the new
RDA Recommended Venues.  

Taking place all over the country between April and September RDA Holidays are a great way to meet like-minded people, enjoy the outdoors and have fun.

More details can be found in the RDA Holiday Brochure 2014 and on our
website RDA Holidays



Page Last Updated: February 20, 2014

Dunfermline RDA becomes Shiresmill Therapy Riding Centre

Dunfermline RDA will now be known as Shiresmill Therapy Riding Centre, Shiresmill, (where the arena is situated). This change has been made to reflect more accurately the Group’s activities. The Group will retain its full membership of RDA UK and will always have this noted on any fundraising or publicity material.

The Groups said of the name change: “We feel this change of name is relevant to the times and to our aims for the future development of our centre including our exciting new project – a 5 acre Sensory Park which now has all basic fencing and gates installed. This will be unique to Scotland and, hopefully, will attract many groups and expertise to the centre. This change has been welcomed by parents, current riders and schools involved.”

In addition, the Group hopes to encourage new volunteers: “We are always keen to welcome new volunteers with or without experience of horses as we can only grow in proportion to the volunteer base. We also require help with fundraising events (including a used stamp collection, old clothes collection), ground maintenance, gardening and general secretarial work. The centre is open Monday – Saturday, 0930-1300 hours. If you would like to help please contact our Secretary at – or Tel 01383 882700.”

Page Last Updated: February 11, 2014

Instructor vacancy at Conquest Centre

The Conquest Centre in Taunton, Somerset has a vacancy for an Instructor. Visit their website for more details:

Page Last Updated: January 31, 2014

Publicity Opportunity for all RDA Groups

RDA National Office is pleased to announce that it is now able to offer all Groups the opportunity of publicity by featuring them on the RDA National web site. [Read more…]

Page Last Updated: February 29, 2016

Bannockburn celebrates!

Bannockburn RDA is delighted that Sara Smith has been nominated for Coach of the Year at the HorseScotland Awards. Sara took a team to the Special Olympics this year and they returned with Gold and Silver medals. In addition to this Sara supports a number of riders and they made this nomination to recognise her commitment and encouragement. This is a well deserved Award and all at Bannockburn RDA wish Sara many congratulations!

For more information, contact Gillie Drapper on 01360 860 243.


Page Last Updated: December 18, 2013

New book to boost funds for Somerset Levels

Somerset Levels Carriage Driving Group has published a beautifully illustrated book called Reflections from The Somerset Levels – a series of stories and memories from drivers and volunteers.

The idea for the book came about after carriage driver Ann Turner told her story to a regional newspaper. “From the depths of despair” was the headline, but she sees her story in a much more positive light “Upwards and onwards” describes her story of first cancer then a broken back left her disabled from the chest down but now with a special seat able to compete and beat able bodied carriage drivers in open competition. Group founder members, Philippa and Martin Willey and retired architect and landscape architect Stephen Harte devised a concept to capture the motives and enjoyment of carriage driving in an illustrated book.


The book features a foreword by eight-times Champion Jockey Peter Scudamore , who says of the contributors: “These are not writers but people born to put horse to carriage, or who have learned to love the effort and experience. The SLRDA is a wonderful charity that, as well as allowing disabled people to continue to be involved with horses, helps with self-confidence and most importantly offers a great deal of fun.”

Sales of book from the SLRDA website £10 + £3 P & P or in various outlets in Wells and Glastonbury and shortly in Frome price £10.

For more details, please contact Philippa 01749 673097

Page Last Updated: December 10, 2013

A bit of Christmas cheer from Avon Centre RDA

Struggling to get into the Christmas spirit? Watch the Avon Centre’s brilliant mockumentary, In the Stables, here:

Page Last Updated: December 4, 2013

New Equipment for Yorkshire Wolds RDA thanks to Charitable Trust

Youngsters at the Yorkshire Wolds RDA have been trying out a range of new equipment bought with funds from the Neil Hudgell Trust.

The Trust has given £878.88 to the charity, which operates from The Chesney Riding Stables near Driffield in East Yorkshire. The funds have been used to buy interactive games to encourage the development of balance and horseback skills, a new sound system so the youngsters can ride along to music, learning and creating routines, and some riding gear including boots and helmets.

Peter Greenhough, Chairman of Yorkshire Wolds Riding for the Disabled, said: “This funding is very welcome and will make an enormous difference to the youngsters and the volunteers. The new equipment means we’ll be able to increase the range of activities for the children which will give them a real boost and help to improve their riding.”

The Yorkshire Wolds RDA was established in 1975 and works exclusively with children from Kings Mill School in Driffield. In any one year up to 50 children can be involved in sessions.

Jo Hudgell, who heads The Neil Hudgell Trust, visited the stables to meet the young riders and the volunteers and to see the new equipment in use.

Jo said: “It’s wonderful to see these young people gaining so much from riding and clearly enjoying themselves. The dedication and enthusiasm of all those involved in Yorkshire Wolds Riding for the Disabled Association is marvellous. I am delighted that the Trust has been asked to support this very good cause.”

The Yorkshire Wolds RDA is among twenty three community projects sharing more than £16,000 from the latest round of funding from The Neil Hudgell Trust. So far, the Trust has given grants totalling more than £75,000 to over 80 organisations since it was established in April 2012.

The Trust was set up to mark the 15th anniversary of Neil Hudgell Solicitors, specialists in compensation claims for personal injury, medical negligence and professional negligence. The firm, which employs 100 staff, serves clients in England and Wales from offices in Hull and Leeds.

The Neil Hudgell Trust can give up to £60,000 a year, in grants worth up to £1,000 each, to good causes in Yorkshire which support local communities and promote sports, health, wellbeing and educational aspiration. The Trust is administered by the Hull and East Yorkshire Community Foundation.

Applications for funding are always welcome; more information is available from

Page Last Updated: July 31, 2015