Job Vacancy RDA Fundraising Co-ordinator, Group Support

Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA UK) is seeking a confident, experienced and professional fundraiser who will play an important part in RDA’s growth strategy.  Providing life changing therapy through horses RDA has an ambitious plan to expand its activities and offer even more opportunities to disabled adults and children in the UK. The successful applicant will work with RDA’s network of 500 volunteer led riding and driving groups based in all areas of the country, to support their fundraising activities and increase their annual income. This challenging role involves some travel within the UK and will include the delivery of training workshops and presentations where required.  Based at RDA National Office in Warwick this role is full time.  Apply by emailing an up to date CV along with a covering letter explaining why you would be a good candidate  to satkinson@rda.org.uk  To find out more download the Job description  

Closing date for applications is 13 September 2018

Page Last Updated: August 14, 2018

International Para Dressage rider Diane Greene owes it all to Watershed RDA…..

A fabulous 3 days for me at The RDA National Championships where I was helping the British Dressage Team and supporting some of my riders who were competing – I had such a lovely time meeting some truly inspirational riders and horses and the teams that support them.  I was there to help answer questions riders and trainers had about making the step up into Para Dressage with British Dressage, but it was made even more special for me when I was asked to present the prizes on Sunday.  It was such an honour to make the awards and I really enjoyed meeting the riders and congratulating them, the joy this sport brings is priceless.

I started my own journey back in the saddle with the RDA after I was diagnosed with trauma induced MS 10 years following an accident which saw me suffer a horrific head and facial injury when I was kicked in the face by a horse I was leading.  My riding days ended there until some 17 years later a Consultant suggested I should go back to riding as I was struggling to sit up unaided for long and he thought it would be good for my core strength.  That is when I met the Watershed RDA Team and Beans the wonder pony.  At first I cried each time when I got home, I was nervous when I rode and couldn’t last more than 10 minutes at a time, I had to have 2 walkers either side of me and someone leading Beans, very upsetting for someone who in a previous life had had horses at Grand Prix Dressage level and I was sad that I couldn’t see that I would ever get that back.

The Watershed Team were fantastic with me and we did everything at my pace and with humour and as the months went by I got stronger physically and could sit up unaided again (something I had struggled to do being reliant on sitting in my wheelchair or the sofa) and more confident until I was able to move from the steady neddy that was Beans and start to ride off of the lead rein and onto Connor who was a much sharper pony and a real character.  I started doing some video dressage tests with him and at the end of our first year together we won a silver medal in the RDA online National Championships 2015.  I then started riding with Avon RDA as they had a lovely horse called Whitty a nice little TB horse and we won several competitions together.  The Avon Team looked after me just like Watershed did and it all went so well I decided it was time to get my on horse and I was lucky to find the perfect horse Winnie (Gunstone’s Pride) who we nickname the Unicorn.

Winnie and I joined the British Dressage South West Para Dressage Team in January 2016, were we attend a monthly training session with FEI trainers and Judges, attended the Para Dressage Camp with the team GB coaches and were selected to represent the region at the Inter County Championships, where we were Reserve Champions.

We were then selected to represent England at the Home International held at Vale View, Melton Mowbray.  Winnie and I won all 4 of our tests and our team were 3rd, the highest placing they have ever achieved at this event.  I also won the top prize for the highest scoring rider of the weekend. Something I would repeat a year later and boost the team into 2nd place.

Together we won Gold at the Dressage Anywhere RDA National Championships riding for Watershed RDA, And we were Reserve Champions in the Freestyle Championships at the RDA Nationals 2016

In 2017 I applied for entry onto the BEF Talent Pathway (Team GB training platform) and have been selected, this leads onto the World Class Podium and we hope to be selected onto that level in July this year working towards a Paralympic Team place in Japan 2020 and beyond.

Winnie and I also won the British Dressage Bronze National Championships and the Silvers – hard to believe that we have become double National Champions in our first attempt, and last year we were Reserve Champions in the Gold finals.  Our success through the levels has also meant that we have now been selected to represent Great Britain on three occasions and it is a real honour to wear the Union flag. Becoming an International Para athlete was a dream when I started and to have achieved it in such a short time has been amazing.

Without Watershed RDA I would not have started on this journey with Winnie and I owe them so much.  I have come to terms with the fact that I will never be able to ride a Grand Prix test but I can still ride a quality horse and compete at the highest level.  In the early days of my diagnosis there were times when I would be at home for weeks at a time without venturing out in my wheelchair, some very dark days.  Now I drive a car independently with hand controls and ride Winnie 3/4 times a week with a competition most weeks too and I am back at Watershed coaching 3 other budding Dressage stars.  I also mentor riders from other parts of the Country and have been asked to help more RDA centres improve their Dressage, so I am really living the dream and proof that it is what you can do that counts.

When you are diagnosed with MS it is a very frightening thing, I left the Neurologists very unsure of what the future would hold.  Because of the head injury my diagnosis took over 10 years and I had to get a bit feisty with my local hospital and transfer myself to the care of Prof Scolding at Southmead, where I at least got the diagnosis I already knew would come, by that point we had missed the relapsing form and moved to progressive so no medication for me.  But, that meant I could move on and fight it (once I had got my head around it that is – which took a year or two).  The Professor has seen a real change in me and when I saw him in July he said he wished he could bottle what I have and give it to his patients as I breeze in on my scooter with such optimism and fun, I told him to get horse riding added to the treatment list but I am not sure how NICE would react to that.  I now really don’t worry about the future, I am back doing the sport I love supported by a new team with Para Coach and Trainer Leonie Brown and her fabulous team at Daneswood Dressage (Team Unicorn) and Winnie of course who really has changed my life.  I would recommend to anyone who has had the same diagnosis to have a trip to your local RDA centre – you may not have Paralympic ambitions like me but it is the best therapy you can get and I know you will love it too – just be prepared to smile and laugh a lot and perhaps shed a few tears of joy!!

Page Last Updated: August 8, 2018

500 competitors, 1600 rosettes, countless tears of joy – and one elephant

RDA National Championships 13-15 July, Hartpury College, Gloucestershire

Over 500 competitors took part in this year’s RDA National Championships, a three-day event for disabled riders and carriage drivers. Featuring dressage, carriage driving, showing, vaulting, showjumping and RDA’s own event, the Countryside Challenge, the Championships is the biggest event of its kind in the world. Highlights of this year’s event included the first endurance ride, the introduction of Dressage Pairs and the first entry by an elephant – thanks to the creative genius of Penniwells RDA in the costume dressage freestyle to music!

The Championships, which celebrates its 25th anniversary next year, began as a dressage competition and now boasts seven main disciplines as well as Arts & Crafts, Best Turned Out and Horsecare & Knowledge. Over 100 of RDA’s 500 groups take part, with competitors travelling to Gloucestershire from as far away as Aberdeen and Omagh in hope of returning home as national champions.

“This was my first year as a competitor, although I’m also a volunteer so I could see life from both sides,” said Cass O’Brien, who is a rider with Unicorn Centre and RDA County Chair for North Yorkshire. “As a participant I was treated with a huge amount of respect, with lots of lovely comments from everyone, good luck wishes and well done’s after I’d done my test. I may have only come 7th but I felt as though I’d won the world cup! Not too bad for a worn out 65 year old!”

Another first timer was 13 year old Charlotte Roberts of Ynys Mon RDA. “One of my dreams was to ride at a National event in the same ring as Charlotte Dujardin, truly a dream come true. The Whole event was inspiring and we left really feeling it is what we can do that counts!”

Craig Harrison from The Foresters Horn RDA in Merseyside reflected: “An amazing weekend where I achieved a PB score in the Grade 3 Championship Test followed by a 3rd place in my freestyle. A massive thanks to all the volunteers and staff across the country, without whom this fantastic event wouldn’t be possible. Roll on next year and the 50th anniversary of RDA!”

Championships Chairman Anne Coney said: “This year’s Championships attracted more visitors than ever to witness the fantastic achievements of over 500 riders.  Volunteers from all over the country make this event happen and it is a privilege for me to be the Chairman.  The hot weather did not deter the enthusiasm – and the big smiles from the competitors and their supporters.”

Find all the results here

Get up to speed on the RDA National Championships:

  1. The RDA National Championships is the biggest event of its kind in the world for disabled horse riders and carriage drivers
  2. Paralympians including Sophie Christiansen, Sir Lee Pearson, Natasha Baker, Ricky Balshaw, Deb Criddle and Liz Stone all began their competitive careers at the Championships 
  3. This year over 500 competitors took part, with over 1600 rosettes presented over three days
  4. 102 RDA groups travelled to this year’s event. The furthest travelling from Garioch 490 miles away
  5. In recent years the Championships have welcomed VIP visitors HRH The Princess Royal, Carl Hester and Clare Balding
  6. Since 1994 the Championships has been hosted at Hartpury College. Their support over the weekend makes them one of the charity’s biggest and most loyal donors
  7. The Championships started as a dressage competition and now includes carriage driving, vaulting, showjumping, endurance, showing and countryside challenge
  8. Countryside Challenge is a unique event to RDA. Styled as a ‘walk in the countryside’ competitors are scored on their execution of a range of obstacles including the apple tree, the bridge, the gate, the post box and archway.
  9. The event is run by a team of over 160 volunteers – not counting the teams of volunteers who come to support their riders and drivers.
  10. The Championships has no age restrictions. Competitors as young as four and in their nineties have taken part
Page Last Updated: July 19, 2018

British Dressage launches new ID Championships in partnership with RDA

British Dressage (BD) and RDA have launched the inaugural RDA Intellectual Disability Dressage Championships in association with BD. Set to take place at Solihull Riding Club in the West Midlands on Saturday 1 September, the championships are an important milestone as they mark the first time riders with an Intellectual Disabilty (ID) have competed with the National Governing Body for dressage in the UK, and possibly the first time for any equine sport under the auspices of the International Equestrian Federation.

“This is a huge step forward for riders with an intellectual disability, who have until now had precious few competitive opportunities,” says RDA Chief Executive Ed Bracher. “In launching these Championships, BD is not only helping to drive change within equestrian but also within the broader spectrum of disability sport, where opportunities for ID athletes are still limited. We are delighted to have been able to build on our strong partnership with BD to support this initiative, and wish all participating riders the very best of luck.”

Currently, Para Dressage within BD covers only riders with a physical disability and this new invitational championship will be the first time ID riders have been welcomed to affiliated dressage.

Over 60 statemented riders have been invited by BD and the RDA to take part on 1 September after excelling at the RDA regional qualifiers.  Three levels of test will be on offer and the riders will be judged by experienced RDA judges.

Interim Para Director for British Dressage Julie Frizzell commented; “This is huge news for dressage and further widens the horizons the joy of horses, riding and competing reaches.  Full credit must go to the team at the RDA for helping us bring the Championship to fruition as we couldn’t have done it alone.  We share the same values of inclusion and diversity through sport and were determined to provide ID riders with a new aim and pathway to compete.  Para dressage continues to go from strength to strength and I hope ID dressage will now find a place in our community so riders can achieve their competition aims and fulfil dreams.”

Page Last Updated: July 2, 2018

Your Horse Magazine official media partner

RDA has teamed up with Your Horse Magazine for the 2018 Gala Awards

“We are thrilled to have Your Horse Magazine as the official media partner for the 2018 RDA Gala Awards.  The event is a special evening of celebration for our wonderful participants, volunteers and horses and to have the support of such a well-respected and well-read publication is a real boost, we are looking forward to working with the team in the run up to the dinner in September.”  Says Ed Bracher, Chief Executive, RDA UK.
Guests from the Your Horse Editorial team will be on hand to report on our evening of celebration and to congratulate winners on their outstanding achievements.

 

Page Last Updated: June 28, 2018

New partnership with SOS Group Ltd

We are really pleased to have agreed a new partnership with SOS Group Ltd who are generously supporting the 2018 RDA National Championships.  SOS are providing all the photocopying equipment, printers, stationery and technical support for the competition.  This is a real boost for the event where the reliability of our equipment and easy access to supplies is important and ensures we provide an efficient service to our participants and volunteers. We are really grateful for the support of SOS who are also able to offer charity rates to RDA Groups for new or used equipment, contact Andrew Skelton at RDA@sosgroup-ltd.co.uk or call 0345 230 8080 to find out more.

Page Last Updated: June 28, 2018

Apprenticeship role in accounts at RDA National Office

If you know someone who might be interested, please find all the details here: www.findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk/apprenticeship/-289371

Page Last Updated: June 12, 2018

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

Building starts at National Training Centre

RDA has broken ground on the building of its first ever National Training Centre. Due to open in spring 2019, the Centre at Lowlands Farm, Shrewley, will be an important focal point for the charity, which provides therapy through horses to disabled children and adults all over the UK.

The new Centre will provide training for hundreds of volunteers, helping to ensure they have the skills they need to support RDA’s 500 riding and carriage driving groups. “After months of planning, it is fantastic to have reached this milestone,” said Project Chair Patrick Riley. “Getting to this point has been a real team effort and we have received so much support from the local community.”

Once open, the Centre will also provide commercial riding lessons and venue hire opportunities, as well as RDA sessions for disabled clients. “We want the Training Centre to become a thriving and busy hub for a wide range of equestrian activities – and a real asset to the local community.”

Solihull-based firm, Greswolde Construction, is carrying out the work, which involves the renovation of existing equestrian facilities on site and the creation of a new building with office space and training rooms. “We are used to building in busy live environments, but they tend to involve humans. Horses are a first for us,” says Greswolde Director, and project leader, Chris Harrison. “We are working very closely with the RDA team on site to ensure everything goes smoothly and that their work isn’t disrupted.”

Despite having started work on site, fundraising continues for the project, which is attracting donations from local businesses and individuals keen to show their support for the life-changing work carried out by RDA. “We have been delighted by the response to our appeal,” said Patrick. “RDA has been changing lives through horses for almost 50 years and donating to this project is a great way to recognise this remarkable achievement.”

To register your interest in the project, to donate money or to offer equipment or expertise, please contact Sal Atkinson at RDA UK on 01926 405975 or email satkinson@rda.org.uk.

Page Last Updated: June 5, 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

ICAP Charity Day supporting RDA

RDA has been chosen as one of the beneficiaries for the ICAP Charity Day on 5 December. ICAP have chosen to support RDA’s National Training Centre appeal, so funds raised on the day will take RDA a significant step closer to its fundraising target.

RDA supporters Clare Balding, Alastair Stewart, Anneka Rice and Natasha Baker will be at ICAP on the day to promote RDA’s work and hopefully close some deals too.

“I am delighted to be representing RDA at the ICAP Charity Day,” said Clare Balding. “Over the years this inspiring day has raised almost £135 million for charities like RDA and I’m looking forward to helping them add to that total on 5 December. RDA helps 25,000 disabled children and adults all over the UK and we grateful to ICAP Charity Day for everything they are doing to support our work.”

Paralympian Natasha Baker said: “I’m really excited to support the RDA, a charity very close to my heart at the TP ICAP charity day on the 5th December. I’ve been told the experience of being on a trading floor is electric, maybe I can secure a deal and make some money for a great cause.”

ICAP Charity Day

The Charity Day was founded in 1993 to grow its charitable giving programme through an innovative fundraising initiative that would make a significant difference to charities. Made possible through its unique position in the financial markets, the Company and its brokers committed to donating all revenues and commissions on one day a year, to a select group of charities around the world to guarantee that they would receive a sizeable contribution to fund much needed projects and initiatives. Now in its 25th year, ICAP, its customers and partners have collectively raised nearly £135 million to date and supported more than 2,200 projects worldwide.

About ICAP

ICAP is a leading markets operator and provider of post trade risk mitigation information services. ICAP matches buyers and sellers in the wholesale markets in interest rates, credit, commodities, FX, emerging markets and equity derivatives through voice and electronic networks, post trade risk mitigation and ICAP’s information services, provides data across all key asset classes and offers innovative solutions for real-time, end-of-day and historical products. ICAP is a TP ICAP company. For further information visit the ICAP website

Page Last Updated: December 4, 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

Buy a Brick campaign launch for National Training Centre

As RDA’s National Training Centre plan gains momentum, the charity has launched a ‘Buy a Brick’ fundraising campaign to encourage as many supporters as possible to become part of the project. The virtual bricks have a suggested value of £30 or over, and every buyer over £30 can leave a message of support which will be included in a celebratory book.

“This is a great way for people to become part of the creation of our Training Centre,” said fundraiser Catherine Stuart Yapp. “This isn’t just about an actual building. The Training Centre represents an important step in the future success of RDA for generations to come, and I hope our supporters from the wider RDA family will want to give their support.”

To ‘buy a brick’ visit www.rda.org.uk/buyabrick

Page Last Updated: October 20, 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

Big Ride heads out on Pennine Way

North West Region near Burnley on Sunday 1 October

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

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

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

 

Page Last Updated: October 6, 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