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

SEIB RDA Search for a Star competition wows judges at Championships

SFAS RDA LogoJudges at the second qualifier for the SEIB Insurance Brokers-sponsored Riding For the Disabled (RDA) Search for a Star (SFAS), held at Hartpury College on Friday (14 July), were so impressed by the standard that they sent four – instead of the planned two – through to the September final.

“It was a fantastic competition with an extremely high standard,” said judge David Bartram, who used to help at Wetherby RDA centre and officiated here alongside David Ingle and Richard Ramsay. “We had 30 entered and because they were so good, we decided to put four riders through to the final at Addington.”

The winner at Hartpury had only been riding her horse for a month. Gabby Blake, 24, who lives in Whatton in Nottinghamshire but is from Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, beat 29 other hopefuls riding The Rose of Derry, as her own pony, Geronimo, was unsound.
“My horse went lame a month ago — we tried to get him ready for today but he was too sore, so I used Rose,” explained Gabby, who does volunteer work. “She does lessons during the day and is an ex-show jumper, but she was so good, I couldn’t have asked for anything better. She was fantastic.”

Gabby, who is in the South Notts RDA group, has a rare and painful condition but has been riding for most of her life. “My parents are horsey and I have been for as long as I can remember — I got my first pony when I was two months old,” she said. “My main problem is pain, but when I’m riding I don’t feel the pain. I don’t get sore and it’s a lovely feeling.”

She competes with Geronimo in para dressage but used to do showing and has been considering returning to the show ring. She was impressed by the standard at Hartpury, where this qualifier was held as part of the RDA National Championships over the weekend of 14-16 July.

“All three classes were very good and it was quite a buzzy atmosphere,” said Gabby. “It’s great to have a showing series because it’s something different for us to do, and this has encouraged me to go back to showing. I hadn’t competed at Hartpury before and I certainly didn’t expect to do so well.”

David Bartram commented: “It was a fantastic competition with an extremely high standard. The winner was quite severely disabled but had the most lovely core position and rode really well. She got her horse in a beautiful rhythm and way of going, with its ears pricked the whole time. It was a lovely, quality animal and they were fabulous to watch — out-and-out worthy winners.”

The judges were full of praise for the runner-up, too – Lizzie Bennett, who rode side saddle on the coloured cob Rolo. In contrast to Gabby’s previous showing experience, it was Lizzie’s first show ring outing but she was undeterred.

“I’ve never done showing before in my life so I didn’t know what to expect, and I didn’t really know what I was doing,” joked Lizzie, 27, who rides one-handed with specially adapted reins from Mulryan Saddlery. “They’re normal reins but with holes along their length and three bars with metal spikes that slot in. You can move them up and down to make a shorter rein for jumping and a longer one for a nice long-rein walk or something like that,” she explained. “They’re really nifty! There’s another girl in my group who rides one-handed [Eleanor Currington, who finished sixth on Minstrel] and she uses them too.”

Lizzie had her own horse when she was younger, but had to sell him when she broke her back doing gymnastics about 13 years ago.
“It took me about 10 years to get back to riding but I was trying at a normal riding school and sometimes they had to pull me off the horse because I couldn’t move,” she revealed. “I joined the RDA about three years ago and it’s worked really well — I wish I’d done it before. My back will never be right; I’m in constant pain but it’s been that way for half of my life so I’m used to it.”

Her weakened left arm is due to a genetic condition that also affects her left shoulder. “It’s not helped by the fact that I keep falling off and landing on it,” she admitted.
Like many of the SFAS contestants, she was also competing in dressage and show jumping at the national championships. She and Rolo finished seventh in dressage on the second day and won their show jumping class on the first day.

“I’m very proud of Rolo,” said Lizzie, who works part-time at primary school intervention for special needs children in Saffron Walden, Essex. “The Cambridgeshire College RDA group was told he wasn’t an appropriate RDA pony because he can be quite naughty. But I love riding him because I know that even if he has his silly, spooky moments, he’s just a sweet little horse. I wish I owned him so I could ride him every day.”

Steward Chris Bartram-Lawton, who also helped with David Bartram at Wetherby RDA group, said: “Despite only being able to use one hand, the runner-up had a fabulous position and rode quite beautifully in a really good rhythm. She had only ridden side saddle four times so this was an incredible achievement.”

A last-minute decision to enter paid off for Middlesbrough-based Brooke-Leigh Johnson, 10, when her charming 15-year-old pony, Wrentnall Snowman (Spider), took the third qualifying ticket. Brooke-Leigh, who suffers from hearing loss and speech problems, has been a member of the Unicorn Centre for the past five years and is a keen competitor at all the shows held there.

“She’s come on in leaps and bounds and has a great partnership with Spider,” said yard manager Christine Beedle. “We had three ponies here at the [RDA] championships and thought we’d enter them in this competition for a bit of fun. I knew Brooke-Leigh would give it her best shot, and we’re delighted for her. We’ll definitely make the long journey down to Addington for the final.

“This pony had the sweetest outlook,” said David Bartram. “It went with its ears pricked, the jockey was smiling all the time and the whole package was picture-perfect.”
The fourth qualifier was Imogen Darke, 18, who was inspired to take part in this competition when she attended the initial lecture/demo given here last year, when the SEIB concept of the class first took root.

Imogen, who suffered a severe head injury in an accident at the age of 11 and spent two months in a coma, has little peripheral vision but she partnered Chandaem My Guy, her family’s 14-year-old hunter, with great aplomb.

“As a family, we’ve been involved with horses all our lives and we’re very lucky as the Erme Valley RDA group — which Imogen has attended for the past three years — is only 10 minutes from our home,” said her father Ross, a former jump jockey. “We are over the moon to qualify for the final. It’s a fabulous competition and we’d like to thank SEIB and Hartpury College, as well as all the judges for giving up their time.”

SEIB marketing director Nicolina MacKenzie, who first thought of the competition and pushed to make it happen, was delighted with both the numbers forward and the standard they represented.

“These riders are truly inspirational,” she said. “Many of them would give able-bodied riders a good run for their money, and the difficulties they have overcome in their lives are a lesson to us all. I am so very pleased that SEIB as a company has been able to launch this series and we are very grateful to RDA for its help with running this competition and its support generally.

“I am so delighted to be involved with this – it is completely new and one of the most important things I have ever done. I am sure it will go from strength to strength and we are all looking forward to a superb final at Addington Manor on 7 September.”

Page Last Updated: July 21, 2017

Three days of achievement and fun at National Championships

The weather was set fair for the 20th RDA National Championships, which took place over three fun-packed event-filled days from 14-17 July. With 400 individual competition entries, 200 horses and countless volunteers, the Championships was as inspirational as ever.

Special guests Carl Hester, Paralympians Anne Dunham and Ricky Balshaw and a film crew for CBeebies added to the sense of occasion – and with 1692 rosettes handed out there was certainly plenty to celebrate.

Fun-filled Friday
Friday visitors were treated to the ever-popular Countryside Challenge, VI Dressage and Showjumping, with Carriage Driving provided a thrilling spectacle as competitors and ponies navigated cones and obstacles to the delight of the crowds.

When Olympic dressage legend Carl Hester popped in to present awards to YELA Gold volunteers, the scene was set for a vintage Championships year.

Spectacular Saturday
Saturday was a big day for dressage, with a range of Freestyle and Championships tests. Team and individual vaulting classes resulted in wins for Perry and Cambs College in the individuals and the team of Berwickshire, Rainbow and The Brae.

The evening brought the creatively supercharged Costume Freestyle Dressage (a breath taking Bullfight assured the winning spot for Penniwells for the second year running).

Super Sunday
After Saturday’s ‘SuperHero’ Disco, Sunday started more sedately for some, but with twelve dressage and four Countryside Challenge classes, plus Horsecare and Knowledge and Best Turned Out continuing throughout the weekend, there was no let up for competitors and volunteers.

“I am so proud and delighted by everything that our groups have achieved this year,” said Championships Chairman Anne Coney. “We don’t underestimate the effort that it takes to make this event happen and I am grateful to everyone involved for helping to make this such a memorable experience for our competitors. The standard of horsemanship and the turnout of horses and ponies improves amazingly each year.”

Click here for a full list of results

Page Last Updated: July 21, 2017

British Reining Team slides to Silver

The first British Team to compete at a World Para Reining Championship took the Silver medal position on the podium on July 6th at the competition hosted by the Royal Dutch Equestrian Centre in Ermelo, Holland. The team riders consisting of Sir Lee Pearson, Fiona Durston and Ricky Balshaw posted solid scores to only be beaten by the more experienced riders who flew in from Canada. First out, Balshaw, riding stallion Yelena My Way banked a solid score, “It felt really good to be back in the saddle and with a flag on my chest. I am really looking forward to Saturday”. Durston, on Smart Like Valentino who rode a fluid and graceful test to post the high score of the day. Pearson on Shiners Lenas Oak brought the result home with an accurate and precise ride to seal the Team silver. Commenting on her run Durston said ~ With Ricky having already posted a score I was in a great position to go for it a little more and Tino knew exactly what to do. I think we both really enjoyed it. ~
Pearson commented after the event” Showing a wonderful, well behaved horse in a different discipline with a very enthusiast audience is credit to the temperament and training of these horses I think this is a very exciting time for another Para Equestrian discipline
Chef D’Equipe Francesca Sternberg said ~ I am really delighted. These riders have crossed over from the Dressage arena to compete in a new sport and in a very short period of time achieved an incredible amount. The medal is the icing on the cake and well deserved. They have all been an inspiration in the Dressage world and now they have become the same in the Reining arena, I am very proud of them
All three riders advanced to the Individual finals where Pearson placed 5th , Durston 6th and Balshaw 7th.
The whole team would like to thank the owners of the horses and sponsors that made this all possible.

Page Last Updated: July 12, 2017

Are you an experienced Equestrian Centre Manager? RDA has an exciting vacancy….

RDA Lowlands logo update_01_17_FINAL_OL-page-001
RDA’s National Training Centre is being built at Lowlands Farm, Warwickshire and we are looking for an experienced Equestrian Manager to lead us through the transition period. The role is an important part of this exciting project and we are looking for a confident person to take us through the set up phase, develop processes and put systems in place in time for completion and opening of the site.
Closing date for applications is Monday 3 July 2017.
Apply by email with a covering letter explaining why you would be suitable for this role along with your CV to jelliston@rda.org.uk
For more information download the RDA Transition Manager Job Description

A1 panels jpgs RDA_National_training_centre

 

Page Last Updated: June 20, 2017

Opportunity to join Coaching Committee

Could you play an active role in shaping the future of Coaching at RDA?
We are looking for an experienced and qualified coach (not necessarily in equestrian) to join our Coaching Committee. This voluntary position will involve helping to implement our coaching strategy with the aim of developing and promoting coaching within RDA.

The committee meets 3 times a year, usually at RDA National Office in Warwick or by teleconference.

Please see the Terms of Reference Here: Coaching Terms of Reference

For further information or to register your interest please email Fiona Harris at fharris@rda.org.uk

Page Last Updated: May 22, 2017

Work For Us At RDA National Office

We have two exciting opportunities to join the staff team at RDA National Office, please see the job adverts below for full details.

The application deadline for both roles in Wednesday 31st May.


Coaching Qualifications Coordinator

Riding for the Disabled (RDA), Warwick

Summary of Job:
We are seeking a new member of staff to play a key role in supporting RDA coaches in delivering an excellent service to our riders.

This role is an excellent opportunity for someone who prides themselves on their administrative capabilities and organisational skills, and is keen to develop these further.

The main responsibilities of the role include:

  • Administering all RDA coaching courses and qualifications
  • Organising and making all administrative arrangements for coaching related events
  • Handling day-to-day enquiries from coaches and ensuring the coach review system is maintained.

About you:
The role is primarily office based and we are looking for someone with excellent administration skills; in an ideal world you will have coaching and/or equine knowledge.

You will need to be organised and self-motivated, being be able to manage your time effectively; providing telephone and email support to coaches and RDA groups, whilst working on a varied range of administrative tasks.

It is important that you are a confident communicator with exceptional customer service skills as you will be providing advice and guidance to our coaching workforce on a regular basis.

About Us:
RDA is a leading national charity, dedicated to enriching the lives of disabled people, through the provision of opportunities for riding, carriage driving and vaulting.

Our mission is to enrich the lives of disabled people through horses and our team at National Office work closely with our coaching workforce to ensure our groups are able to provide an excellent experience for those who take part in our activities.

This is a permanent full-time role, working 34 hours per week, although flexibility will be needed leading up to events, with extra hours covered by time off in lieu.

Salary is £20,000 per annum plus benefits.

Please ring Claire on 01926 405969 or email her on cmilican@rda.org.uk for a full job description. To apply please send a CV with covering email to cmilican@rda.org.uk.


Group Support Administrator (Maternity Cover)

Riding for the Disabled (RDA), Warwick

Summary of Job:
We are seeking a new member of staff to play a key role in supporting RDA groups in delivering an excellent service to our riders.

This role is an excellent opportunity for someone who prides themselves on their administrative capabilities and organisational skills, and is keen to develop these further.

The main responsibilities of the role include administrative support in three key areas:

  • Administering the service providing disclosure checks for volunteers
  • Providing administrative support in the delivery of an RDA national equestrian competition, held in July
  • Organising the collection of information and annual statistics from our 500 member groups and ensuring our database is kept up to date.

About you:
The role is office based and we are looking for an excellent administrator.

You will need to be organised and self-motivated, being be able to manage your time effectively; providing telephone and email support to our groups whilst working on a varied range of administrative tasks.

It is important that you are a confident communicator with exceptional customer service skills as you will be providing advice and guidance to our volunteer workforce on a regular basis.

We also value adaptability, we are looking for someone who will enjoy working on new projects and the challenges associated with a varied workload.

About Us:
RDA is a leading national charity, dedicated to enriching the lives of disabled people, through the provision of opportunities for riding, carriage driving and vaulting.

Our mission is to enrich the lives of disabled people through horses and our staff team at national office work closely with our network of national volunteers to ensure our groups are able to provide an excellent experience for those who take part in our activities.

This is a temporary role, providing maternity cover, working 34 hours per week although flexibility will be needed leading up to events, with extra hours covered by time off in lieu.

Salary is £18,000 (pro rata) per annum.

Please ring Matt on 01926405966 or email mcobble@rda.org.uk for a full job description. To apply please send a covering letter and your CV to mcobble@rda.org.uk

 

 

Page Last Updated: May 23, 2017

First #BigRideRDA completed in East

Sunday 9 April, Abbots Ripton, Huntingdon

The first RDA Big Ride kicked off in glorious spring sunshine on Lord and Lady de Ramsay’s estate near Huntingdon, more famous for hosting the Secret Garden Music Festival. Five disabled riders along with five supporting riders and RDA Chairman Sam Orde mounted up, most of them on trusty RDA ponies and set off into the countryside.

For some this was their first ride of this kind. Young rider Louis who is waiting for a liver transplant had spent a frustrating two hours that morning failing to catch his pony. Luckily he was able to borrow a brilliant grey pony Mifty. As he had only ridden this pony once before in an RDA session, Louis planned to do 2 miles and was delighted to complete 6! When asked ‘What do you like to do when you are not riding? Louis answered ‘riding’.

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Sam Orde and Louis

Para dressage rider Olivia was also on a borrowed horse as she continues to crowd fund for a new advance medium dressage horse (www.gofundme.com/oliviacornickdressage to see how much riding means to Olivia after major brain surgery and subsequent challenges). Two riders rode using one hand: Para dressage rider Eleanor and para vaulter Lizzie. Lizzie put 100% effort into completing the 6 miles and had to wait a while for energy to come back into her legs at the end. Claire Cooper a rider with Downs Syndrome took up the challenge to complete 2 miles and got a good cheer on doing so.

There was a great support team and one volunteer walked and ran the whole way to help riders achieve their challenge safely. The ride was organised by Woodhurst RDA Group who raised funds for their group with 100s of  riders setting of before the Big Ride. Many of the Big Ride team came from Cambridgeshire College RDA Group along with others from across the East Region. RDA volunteers put in a lot of work to organise it beautifully.

Sam Orde said ‘It is brilliant to have the first Big Ride successfully completed. All who took part had wonderful rides in glorious sunshine. The RDA riders achieved something new while helping fundraise for the RDA National Training Centre. I am really excited about the next 17 rides happening across the UK’

Support Sam’s #BigRideRDA at mydonate.bt.com/events/bigride2017/432482

Find out more here: www.rda.org.uk/join-sams-big-ride/

Page Last Updated: April 20, 2017

Nominations for 2017 RDA Gala Awards are now open!

Celebrate achievement by nominating RDA riders, drivers, volunteers and horses for the 2017 Gala Awards.
http://www.rda.org.uk/rda-gala-awards-2017-nominations-now-open/

Winners will be presented with their awards at the RDA Gala Dinner on 26 September 2017 at The Underglobe, London.
Hosted by Clare Balding and attended by Alastair Stewart, Anneka Rice and Peter Egan.
Closing date for nominations is 22 July 2017.

Page Last Updated: April 10, 2017

Join Sam’s Big Ride

sam orde picRaising money for RDA’s National Training Centre, The Big Ride will see RDA UK Chairman, Sam Orde, complete rides or carriage drives in each of RDA’s 18 regions throughout the summer.

Travelling an average of 15km for each ride, Sam will be joined by RDA members and supporters en route.

“I can’t wait to begin this challenge, which will take me from the Highlands to Northern Ireland, Wales, the South Coast and everywhere in between. I hope to raise lots of money for the National Training Centre, and I am encouraging RDA members to join one of the 18 rides or carriage drives and raise money for their own groups too.”

Find a ride near you:

East Region  Sunday 9 April redman.tessa@gmail.com
NE & S Yorks  Wednesday 31 May bobjude@btinternet.com
Yorks & Cleveland  Sunday 28 May clairepope184@hotmail.com
South  Monday 12 June flochrane@btinternet.com
South East  Wednesday 28 June gilly_roper@btinternet.com
South West  Tuesday 1 August sue@schumacher.com
South Wales Friday 4 August judith.england@btconnect.com
Northern Ireland  Sunday 20 August rdaniregion@yahoo.co.uk
Yorkshire & Cleveland (ride 2) Wednesday 23 August purpletracy@hotmail.co.uk
W & Central Scotland  Wednesday 13 September susanduncanmillar@hotmail.com
Grampian & Highland  Sat 9 September gandhrda@aol.com
North West  Sunday 17 September sheilas@nantwichcc.co.uk
North Midlands  Friday 22 September dencorrall@gmail.com
North Wales  12/13 October rdanwaleschair@outlook.com
West Mercia  Tuesday 17 October anonamay@btinternet.com
Mid West  Sept/Oct lizzieblair@btconnect.com
Greater London  Sept/Oct mike.locke@outlook.com
North  tbc carolebarr2@aol.com
Edinburgh & Borders  tbc lawhittaker@live.co.uk

For general information contact Sam: orde@btconnect.com

To donate to Sam’s Big Ride visit: mydonate.bt.com/events/bigride2017/432482

Page Last Updated: June 23, 2017

British Blind Sport and RDA launch guide to visually impaired equestrian sport

British Blind Sport and RDA are working in partnership to better understand of the needs of visually impaired people when accessing equestrian sport. With support from Sport England, the two organisations have collaborated on a research project to identify new insight about the barriers to taking part in horse riding that people with a visual impairment can face, and to better understand the support that coaches feel they need, in order to deliver equestrian activities for VI people with confidence.

Insight gathered from the research project has been used to produce a new educational resource, titled ‘Guide to Visually Impaired Equestrian Sport’.

The new guide is designed to educate coaches, leaders and staff at equestrian centres across the country about sight loss and the needs of people with a visual impairment in equestrianism. It also provides recommendations on how they can adapt their equestrian opportunities to make them more suitable for VI people.

British Blind Sport and the RDA are proud to launch the new guide, and hope it will encourage more people with a visual impairment to take part and enjoy equestrian activities, such as horse riding and carriage driving.

The report will be distributed to all RDA groups. To access a digital copy of the resource visit: www.rda.org.uk/coaching

Page Last Updated: March 30, 2017

Make a Splash for RDA at the Lions Charity Raft Race

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

Page Last Updated: March 14, 2017

RDA is People’s Postcode Lottery Featured Charity of the week

We are really pleased to be the featured Charity of the week of People’s Postcode Lottery. It’s incredible to think that over the past 3 years players have raised a total of £1.4m for RDA! Thank you so much for your support. Read more about our feature at https://www.postcodelottery.co.uk/about-us/news/four-legged-friends

 

 

Page Last Updated: February 14, 2017

RDA to feature at NAIDEX 2017

NAIDEX is Europe’s biggest and most far-reaching trade, professional and consumer show dedicated to the care, rehabilitation and lifestyle of people with a disability or impairment.RDA is an official partner for NAIDEX 2017 and will feature throughout the event.  Visitors can experience the thrill of riding the RDA mechanical horse and chat to our staff and volunteers about how they can become involved in our activities, providing life changing therapy through horses.

The show takes place at the NEC, Birmingham 28-30 March 2017  and is free to attend.  Find out more www.naidex.co.uk

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Page Last Updated: January 27, 2017

RDA National Training Centre plans to be revealed at BETA International 2017

Come and visit the RDA stand at BETA International 22-24 January 2017, the NEC Birmingham to learn more about RDA’s exciting plans to build the first National Training Centre. See us on Stand D7.7 and find out how you can help support this important project.  Download the RDA NTC Brochure  contact Sal Atkinson  satkinson@rda.org.uk or call 01926 405975.

Page Last Updated: January 20, 2017

Get your tickets now for the British Dressage Para Symposium

Held at Moulton College in Northamptonshire on 28 – 29 January 2017 and supported by Sport England funding, the two-day conference is open to everyone wanting to develop their skill and knowledge in para sport and coaching.

Dubbed ‘Teamwork Makes the Dreamwork’, the schedule boasts two interactive days packed with practical demonstrations and thought-provoking presentations. Great Britain is proud to be the world leader in para dressage and we have an impressive array of talent to call on for this weekend, as well as leading experts from other sports.

More details and the timetable can be found at: Click here to view the timetable and secure your tickets today. Tickets start at £30

Page Last Updated: January 17, 2017

New Fundraising Co-Ordinator vacancy

RDA UK is recruiting a new member of staff to join the Fundraising Team at National Office. We are looking for an energetic, enthusiastic fundraiser to develop the support we provide for RDA Groups across the country. This full time role is based at our office in Warwick and will involve a certain amount of travel around the UK, visiting Groups and providing fundraising advice.

To find out more download the
Fundraising Co-ordinator Job Description and How to Apply
Closing date for applications is Monday 6 February 2017. Interviews are on Friday 10 February 2017.

Page Last Updated: January 16, 2017

BEF Chief Executive and RDA Honorary Treasurer to ride Mongolian Derby for RDA

British Equestrian Federation Chief Executive Clare Salmon and her husband Neil Goldie-Scot – who has recently been appointed as Honorary Treasurer for RDA – have announced that they are to ride in the Mongolian Derby in 2017 to raise money for RDA.

The announcement was made during Clare Salmon’s speech to delegates at RDA’s AGM, where she discussed the ‘Future of Equestrianism’. Clare has been in post at the BEF since July and the news of her support for RDA was warmly welcomed by attendees from RDA groups around the UK. In rounding up her presentation she joked about ‘lending’ RDA her husband – a reference to his recent appointment to the RDA Board of Trustees as Honorary Treasurer. Neil Goldie-Scot will officially take up the position from December.

“We are thrilled to be taking on the challenge of the Mongolian Derby to raise funds for RDA – it’s going to be a touch uncomfortable racing 1000km over 8 days on small, rather feral Mongolian ponies; sleeping under the stars; with dubious hygiene and possibly unspeakable food, but it’s nothing like the challenges many disabled people overcome on a day to day basis. We hope to raise some funds to bring the redeeming power of horses to a wider audience, and help to enhance the lives of disabled people and their carers as a result.”

During her presentation to the RDA’s 47th AGM, Clare described some of the challenges and untapped opportunities that exist to widen the profile and appeal of equestrian activities in the UK. Key elements of this will involve making more of the health and social benefits, and promoting some of the underrepresented horse sports such as vaulting and carriage driving – all of which was music to the ears of the AGM delegates.

“We were pleased to welcome Clare to our AGM,” said RDA Chief Executive Ed Bracher. “It was a great opportunity to introduce her to our members, and to give Clare the chance to set out her thoughts on the BEF’s future role. The announcement about the Mongolian Derby was a brilliant surprise and we are grateful for the support and commitment that she and Neil are already showing towards RDA.”

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BEF Chief Executive Clare Salmon addresses AGM delegates

Page Last Updated: November 22, 2016

Princess Anne awarded for 30 years as RDA President

Milestone celebrated at charity AGM, chaired by Her Royal Highness

Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) has presented The Princess Royal with a certificate to mark her 30 years as the charity’s President. The celebration took place at the end of RDA’s AGM, which was chaired by Her Royal Highness. The presentation was the culmination of a day of highlights, including talks from BEF Chief Executive Clare Salmon and World Horse Welfare’s Roly Owers.

Having presented many certificates to long-serving volunteers during her Presidency, including several ‘President’s Awards’ at this year’s AGM, The Princess was surprised to receive an award herself. She has been involved with RDA since the charity was founded in 1969 and became President in 1986.

“Naturally, we will be holding a big celebration when we reach our 50th anniversary, but we didn’t want this milestone in our President’s long association with RDA to go un-marked,” said RDA Chief Executive, Ed Bracher.

In a lively day of talks and presentations, delegates from RDA groups across the UK came together at Cheltenham racecourse for RDA’s 47th AGM. BEF Chief Executive Clare Salmon talked about the future of equestrianism in UK, while World Horse Welfare Chief Executive Roly Owers discussed the most pressing equine welfare concerns. Delegates heard from British Blind Sport’s Alaina MacGregor, RDA’s Jen Wathan and RDA rider Megan Pritchard about a project to encourage more visually impaired people into riding.

Julie Elliston from RDA National Office and Donna Jenkins of Stratford RDA talked about new groups and how existing groups can grow. Caroline Ward, Communications Manager at RDA National Office talked about the new project to build a National Training Centre, and RDA Chief Executive Ed Bracher completed the morning’s presentations by looking at the charity’s future strategy.

Awards

  • Loriners Education Award: North Pembrokeshire & Cardiganshire RDA
  • Susan Dudley-Smith Award: Jenny Harris
  • National FE Lecturer of the Year: Mike Butcher FRDA
  • President’s Awards: Margaret Morgan, Sue Downer
  • Honorary Life Vice-Presidents: Mark Farmar, Patrick Riley, Susie Elliot
  • Birt Spooner Cup: Patrick Riley

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The Princess Royal with members of North Pembrokeshire & Cardiganshire RDA

Page Last Updated: November 18, 2016

Grants for RDA Groups – apply now!

Does your RDA Group need funding for  new equipment, a new project or larger horse?  Then apply now for a grant from RDA UK.  Hurry, closing date is 4 November 2016.  ALL established RDA Groups in ALL locations of the UK are eligible to apply.  Good luck!

Page Last Updated: October 25, 2016

RDA launches project to build a National Training Centre

Project Patrons HRH The Princess Royal and Sophie Christiansen OBE to front fundraising appeal

Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) has launched a project to build a National Training Centre in Warwickshire. 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.

The development of a National Training Centre is an exciting and robust response to some of the challenges and opportunities faced by RDA as it reaches its 50th anniversary. In recent years the charity has developed the range of activities it offers as well as the areas of training offered to volunteers (including equine welfare, safeguarding, disability awareness and volunteer management). In addition, RDA’s coaches and volunteers are supporting ever more complex forms of disability, especially in the areas of multi-disability, learning disabilities and mental health problems.

Project Patron and RDA President HRH The Princess Royal said: “As RDA looks forward to the next 50 years, this project to build a National training Centre will draw on all the experience and strength of community at Lowlands to create a vital and inspirational focal point for learning of which we can all be proud.

“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 be home to the four existing RDA groups that currently operate there; 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.

“As someone whose life was transformed by learning to ride with RDA, I am delighted to be able to support this project to create a National Training Centre,” said Project Patron and Paralympian Sophie Christiansen OBE. “I was lucky enough to be taught by a series of inspirational coaches, without whom I would never have discovered a talent for riding.

“RDA could see my potential as a young athlete and supported me every step of the way to the Paralympics. But achievement does not have to be a gold medal. It could be teaching a rider to sit up straight so they can go on to live independently or to be able to communicate to others to help on the journey to employment. Coaches can change lives.”

RDA needs to raise £900,000 to help develop the site at Lowlands EC and is looking for individual and corporate donors. 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: October 17, 2016

A night of celebration at RDA Gala Awards 2016

In a spirit-elevating celebration, the fourth RDA Gala Awards dinner once again recognised the outstanding achievements and dedication of RDA participants, volunteers, supporters and horses.

Host Clare Balding (just back from Rio) was joined by ITV News presenter Alastair Stewart and commentator Jonathan Agnew at Draper’s Hall, London. Also joining them (together with their well-deserved medals) were members of the GB Paraequestrian team: Natasha Baker, Sophie Christiansen and Anne Dunham.

The annual Gala Awards celebrates the efforts of all who help to make the RDA charity so special.

This year’s RDA award winners are:

RDA Group Brilliant Idea (sponsored by Automotive Insulation Ltd): Cobbes Meadow RDA for wheeled steps.

Business Partnership (sponsored by British Equestrian Trade Association): Cowan Architects for ongoing, innovative support for RDA South East

Most Improved Participant (sponsored by Childs Farm): Katherine Swan of Bradbourne RDA

Horse or Pony of the Year (sponsored by SnuggyHoods): Mickey from The Brae RDA

Young Volunteer of the Year (sponsored by The Leadership Whisperers): Matt Dalley of Scropton RDA

Volunteer of the Year (sponsored by Godolphin): Charlotte Court of Kitty Barron RDA.

SAM’S SUPER STEPS

Sam Smedley is a volunteer with Cobbes Meadow RDA Driving Group. His wife, Ros, has a prosthetic leg and was finding it increasingly difficulty to use the mounting block to get into the carriages. Sam set about inventing a solution – wheeled steps with handrails.

Ros was involved in the design process. The steps fit either side of the front wheel of the carriage, with chocks placed at the back wheel of the carriage on the same side when the steps are in place. The three shallow steps have handrails, and volunteers can stand at either side and behind the driver attempting to mount. The steps are sturdy and durable, and the open design means assistance can be given to move a foot or steady a wobble. There is enough room on the top step for the driver to get their feet into the correct position before they step across into the carriage. The steps are light and can be manoeuvred over grass to sand/rubber fibre mix.

The group’s drivers found them easier to use than the mounting block; the only difference is that drivers dismount the carriage facing forwards, as this can be done safely using the handrails.
The steps have cut the time it takes for each driver to get into the carriage, made it safer for volunteers helping the drivers to mount and dismount, and have improved the drivers’ confidence.

The Group has used the steps for approximately 10 months, and nicknamed them ‘Sam’s Super Steps’.

COWAN ARCHITECTS
Cowan Architect’s vision is to improve the quality of life across disabilities, including sponsoring the group’s regional events: Regional Challenge Day, Hickstead Dressage and Indoor Carriage Driving.

David Cowan and his management team attend all the group’s events, award rosettes, and help each individual feel proud of his or her achievement. The company’s staff also provides major assistance to regional volunteers. When the region was in need of a PR Officer, Cowan’s introduced Marketing Manager, Joanna Sale, who now volunteers as Regional Publicity Officer. David Cowan also funded Sophie Christiansen’s expenses in speaking at the RDA’s annual conference

As an expert in accessibility design, David Cowan has made a keynote speech at the RDA Supra Regional Conference, and contributed vital information on improving the accessibility of group centres; and

the company’s Managing Director Phill Mumford joined the group’s fundraising panel at the regional conference

In 2016, Cowan Architects added extended sponsorship to fund training for volunteers; offered safeguarding and fundraising training to volunteers;

provided special training by Guide Dogs for the Blind on working with visually impaired participants; designed and provided framed certificates of participation for all competing groups.

KATHERINE SWAN

Katherine was studying for her ‘A’ levels in 2012, when she had a car accident just before her 18th birthday. She survived the accident, but with brain damage. While Katherine was in rehab near Bradbourne, her mother called to ask if she could ride, having ridden before the accident.

When Katherine arrived, she was in a wheelchair and rode for no more than ten minutes, with two sidewalkers and a leader. Over following three and half years, Katherine got stronger and improved slowly, always progressing. She began riding for longer, with the sidewalkers walking further away until there was just a leader and a coach nearby.

In 2013, Katherine rode her first dressage test at the Regional competition; she had three helpers with her in the arena.

In 2015, she rode an escorted test, and in 2016, rode her first independent test at a Bradbourne competition.

At the 2016 Southeast Region Dressage competition, Katherine competed as a 1a rider and scored an impressive 64.41%. She rode independently in an arena with spectators, flowers and judges in a box. She performed every movement and saluted the judges at the end, all the time completely unassisted.

Katherine works incredibly hard, going to the gym, learning to walk independently. She progressed from wheelchair to scooter and now walks in on the arm of her mother. She has enrolled in a college course in Art, which is what she was planning after her A-levels. Katherine’s family, and especially her mother, has supported her in every way, encouraging her, pushing her, and watching every lesson.

Katherine’s riding position is beautiful; her disabilities all but disappear despite their restrictions on the ground. The group is unbelievably proud of Katherine, her strength of purpose, her determination and her ambition.

MICKEY
Mickey is a very special horse who loves his job. Mickey provides horse riding, carriage driving and hippotherapy lessons to a wide range of clients, and is also trained in back riding.
In November 2015, Mickey began his training to become The Brae group’s first vaulting horse; he now provides his third block of vaulting lessons – an extraordinary achievement in just eight months.

Without Mickey’s hard work and enthusiasm to learn, it would not have been possible for the vaulters to benefit greatly from their lessons. Vaulting has improved the lives of the clients, making a huge impact on their self-confidence, balance, motor skills, flexibility and co-ordination. The sessions allow the team of vaulters to work in a group and give the vital communication skills to be able to work together, particularly when two vaulters are on Mickey together.

Volunteers also benefit massively from Mickey’s extraordinary achievements, excelling in confidence, self-esteem, patience, determination and communication skills. They also built up trust and now have a very special relationship with Mickey. Volunteers who had never seen or heard of equestrian vaulting before, had the chance to learn and ‘have a go’ while teaching Mickey. Seeing vaulters grinning from ear to ear when they are up on Mickey and seeing what these clients gain from just one session makes it all worthwhile. Mickey also helps teach new volunteers the various skills mandatory for the green card.

The Brae is constantly fundraising to raise much-needed funds to keep the centre running and Mickey is a huge help. From posing for photos, to going for adventures in the horse box (including a visit to a local primary School, along with his tie and school bag), Mickey loves every minute of it.

With his relaxed, kind and caring nature, he is loved by many riders, vaulters, carriage drivers, volunteers, staff, visitors and the other horses, of course. Mickey is truly a horse in a million and deserves to be recognised for all his hard work he does and has done for the past four years at The Brae.

MATT DALLEY

Matt is a rider and volunteer, who helps at his group; for his region and for the national organisation. Inspired initially by the other volunteers at his group, he has always been keen to help out whenever and however he can. As a boy, physical jobs weren’t always easy but as he got older he found his computer skills were an asset to the group. Running their website and social media channels, he works hard to promote the group, its activities and the achievements of its participants.

Matt’s group work got noticed regionally, and his regional work got noticed nationally.  And before long he had a list of volunteer roles to his name:
Group volunteer
Regional Participant Rep
RDA UK participant committee member

Unable to ride at this year’s National Championship, Matt instead volunteered over 4 days, setting up, stewarding, providing invaluable support to the communications team and running the social media for the event.

By his own admission, volunteering has been as life changing for Matt as riding has. He has shared his great story to help promote RDA and volunteering. He has talked about what he does at the RDA UK AGM, at the RDA Supporters Reception and in interview to the print and broadcast media.

He achieves all this with a consistently positive attitude and unwavering enthusiasm.

His achievements are remarkable in themselves, but made even more so when you consider that he was born with a congenital brain condition, leading to muscle weakness and co-ordination problems, he is autistic, has adhd, some learning difficulties and is a profoundly deaf sign language user.

His citation reads:
“He overcomes all these obstacles to become a volunteer with RDA and embodies the slogan ‘It’s what you can do that counts’!”

CHARLOTTE COURT

Charlotte volunteered at the Kitty Barron RDA Group for some years, prior to becoming a Group Coach in early 2012.

The Group started more than 50 years ago, supported and organised by the Barron family throughout. However, following Chris Barron’s death as a result of an accident in early 2015, the Group suspended activities.

In those adverse circumstances, (and notwithstanding having a baby on the morning of Chris’ funeral), Charlotte provided the initiative, drive, enthusiasm and hard work to bring about the Group’s resumption in September 2015.
By that time, Charlotte’s input had enabled the Committee to be reinforced; new helpers recruited; new ponies secured; the indoor school repaired and resurfaced; and the toilet and kitchen facilities refurbished.

In 2016, one of the group’s aims was to get transport to enable participation of riders with the group’s ponies at competitions. The active, lively and happy Group provides an excellent service, and Charlotte had recruited a trainee coach. At the time when the group suspended activities, it was feared that it might close down permanently with the consequent loss of services. It is entirely due to Charlotte that the group has ‘risen from the ashes’ to become a Group that Gloucestershire is, and I am sure Chris and his family would be, proud of.

Page Last Updated: September 30, 2016

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 a new Centre for Equine Learning and Therapy. CSRC requires the following:-

Volunteer Coordinator

£17,500 pro rata 25 hours per week

The Volunteer Coordinator will be required to recruit and coordinate an effective team of volunteers ensuring that Clwyd Special Riding Centre maintains its high standard of service provision.

Closing date: 12 noon Monday 23 September 2016

Invitation to interview will be sent via email Monday 26 September 2016

Interviews will be held on Monday 3 October 2016

Start date: Monday 31 October 2016

For application forms please contact CSRC on 01352 770446 or email: info@clwydspecialridingcentre.org.uk

Page Last Updated: September 15, 2016

2-for-1 tickets for Clare Balding Theatre events

Special offer for RDA supporters to celebrate the launch of Clare’s new book

Ahead of Clare Balding’s appearance at the RDA Gala Awards, where she will be signing copies of her new book, we are delighted to be able to offer 2-for-1 tickets at her live theatre events over the Autumn.

Clare will be celebrating the publication of her very first children’s book THE RACEHORSE WHO WOULDN’T GALLOP at three events in Salisbury, Guildford and Exeter. She’ll be fresh from our TV screens having presented the Olympics and Paralympics in Rio.

Clare will be appearing at Salisbury Playhouse, Yvonne Arnaud and Northcott Theatre for three fantastic events for all the family, including some foyer entertainment. THE RACEHORSE WHO WOULDN’T GALLOP is partly inspired by Clare’s own childhood, so you can expect some fantastic growing-up anecdotes and to hear about her infectious love of animals.

A heart-warming story with a great girl-power message”, Jacqueline Wilson

To claim your 2-for-1 tickets, simply use the codes below either when you book online or when you call the box office.

Salisbury: CLARE

Exeter: RACEHORSE241

For Guildford simply call the Box Office now on 01483 44 00 00 to book.

Please note: Offer on the ticket price only, the price of the book is not included in the offer.

Page Last Updated: September 15, 2016

RDA Trading – new job opportunity

Looking for a new challenge?  RDA is recruiting a part time Trading Co-ordinator responsible for growing sales and income from the RDA online shop and at events. This is an exciting and varied role based at RDA National Office, Warwick. Ideal candidates will have creative flair, enthusiasm and enjoy working as part of an energetic, professional team.
To find out more download the RDA Trading Co-ordinator Job Description.  Visit the RDA online shop at http://www.rdashop.org.uk/

To apply please email a full CV and covering letter, describing why you would be suitable for this role to Sal Atkinson email satkinson@rda.org.uk  Direct Dial Tel 01926 405 975

Page Last Updated: August 15, 2016