Princess Anne to lead Carriage Driving celebrations at charity championships

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friendly dogs on leads welcome.

Page Last Updated: June 8, 2015

RDA Groups honoured with Queen’s Award

The Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre and Acorn & Squirrels RDA have been honoured with a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. Wormwood Scrubs has been giving children and young adults the opportunity to learn how to ride and have fun with ponies for over 25 years. Acorn & Squirrels, based in Devon, has been running for over 30 years, supporting 35 riders every week.

The award recognises the dedicated volunteers who help in so many different ways. Both groups will officially receive their awards from the Lord Lieutenant later in the summer.


Page Last Updated: June 2, 2015

Unicorn Centre receives Matrix Standard – first for RDA

RDA’s Unicorn Centre, based at Hemlington near Middlesbrough, has been accredited with the nationally recognised quality mark for organisations which provide support to individuals to make learning and work more accessible – the matrix Standard.

The Centre gained accreditation to the matrix Standard for its provision of learning to young people and adults through its sub-contract with Middlesbrough College. The accreditation also was awarded for the Centre’s Supported Volunteer Programme, and the delivery of riding and therapy services to young people and adults with learning difficulties and/or disabilities.

The Unicorn Centre also has 60 volunteers each week, some of which are supported through its multi-award winning Supported Volunteer Programme and it wanted to ensure that these, along with the learners and riders, and the Centre’s 12 members of staff, were receiving the best information, advice and guidance possible. The charity decided that the matrix Standard, amongst other things, would help it to achieve continuous improvement.

The Unicorn Centre, a registered charity which opened in 1998, is a purpose built riding for the disabled facility which offers riding therapy and learning and training opportunities for almost 200 disabled adults and children from the Tees Valley area each week.

Centre Manager Claire Pitt, who is described along with the Centre’s Trustees in the report as effective, supportive and visionary, said, “Achieving the matrix Standard has been tremendously challenging, but it has enabled the Centre to focus on its strengths and how to continually deliver a first class service to all its users.”

She continued, “I hope that this national acclamation of service delivery to the highest standards will be recognised by organisations and grant funders, and consequently benefit the Centre in the future. Competition for funding is so great, that an accreditation such as this is needed to ensure we stand out tall above the others.”

David Allan, Managing Director at emqc Ltd said of the charity’s achievement:

“This matrix Accreditation is another example of how the matrix Standard is proving effective for all types of organisations, helping them to provide a more professional service offering and to strive to be the best in their sector.”

Any other organisations that would like to know more about how the matrix Standard might be able to help, can find out more by contacting them on 0845 304 8600.

For further information about the Unicorn Centre, please contact the Centre Manager, Claire Pitt on 01642 576222. 

Page Last Updated: May 5, 2015

Injured and Ex-service Personnel to benefit from new Saddle Club

A grant made possible thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery is supporting a project at Ravelrig Riding for the Disabled group to create a new saddle club for military personnel and veterans.

‘The Horse Club Ten Week Programme’ has been devised by the group to include classroom based activities; yard, stable and horse care; practical riding experience and training. Throughout the programme, military personnel will benefit from having an opportunity to try something different, carry out positive work in the community and make a real difference to the lives of others as well as their own. They will also gain from the many physical and psychological benefits that working with horses brings to all of RDA’s clients and volunteers.

The grant was awarded as part of a nationwide programme by RDA to support local RDA groups who want to expand their activities.

“We were delighted to be able to award a grant to Ravelrig RDA to help establish a Horse Club for military personnel and veterans,” said Ed Bracher, Chief Executive at RDA. “The range of projects we have been able to fund thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery demonstrates the creative ways that groups are tackling the growing demand for RDA activities, not just around Edinburgh but across the UK.”

RDA funded £2,900 towards the Horse Club, part of a larger grant from the charity totalling £10,000. The remainder will go towards Ravelrig’s indoor arena development project.


Page Last Updated: April 28, 2015

Veterans to benefit from new horse at disabled riding centre

RDA has awarded a grant to Ebor Vale RDA group to purchase a new horse for adult riders, including ex-service personnel. The £3,000 grant was made possible thanks to BT Supporter’s Club. ‘Kelly’ the horse has already started training at the group, in readiness for providing both riding and carriage driving lessons for adults in the local area.

Currently, the majority of Ebor Vale’s 50 riders and drivers are children, and Kelly has been specially chosen so that more adults can benefit from the therapy, achievement and fun offered by RDA’s activities. Specifically, the group plans to set up a dedicated session for ex-service personnel.

“Our new addition will enable us to offer an increased service to cater for larger riders, including a new session for up to four veterans from the local area,” said RDA Volunteer Gail Bentley. “Kelly will also help us to reduce our existing current waiting list.”

 The grant was awarded as part of a nationwide programme by RDA to support local RDA groups trying to expand their activities. “We were delighted to be able to award a grant that will allow more adults to get involved at Ebor Vale and to help them tackle their waiting lists,” said Ed Bracher, Chief Executive at RDA. “The range of projects we have been able to fund in this latest round of grants demonstrates the creative ways that our groups are tackling the growing demand for our services – not just in Yorkshire but all over the UK.”

Page Last Updated: April 27, 2015

West Yorkshire RDA group launches after school club

RDA has awarded a grant to Haworth RDA group to set up an after school club. 16 young people from the local area will benefit from the activities and therapy delivered by horse riding, supported by a team of young volunteers.

Jane Lawrence of Haworth RDA said: “The grant means we can cater to an additional 16 young people with disabilities, allowing them to benefit from the recreation and therapy that horse riding provides. Because the project is supported by our junior volunteers it has also increased peer support, communication skills and the ability to socialise as part of a large group.

“Some of the activities that happen at after school club help towards recognised accreditations – helping all our young people achieve recognition for the activities that they participate in and support. These qualifications also contribute towards improving the life chances and available opportunities in the future for the young people in our care. Because our after school clubs function with the support of our volunteers it allows parents and carers two hours of valuable respite time.”

The grant was awarded as part of a nationwide programme by RDA to support local RDA groups trying to expand their activities. “We were delighted to be able to award a grant towards such a positive and important community resource, which will help even more young people take part in our activities,” said Ed Bracher, Chief Executive at RDA. “The range of projects we have been able to fund in this latest round of grants demonstrates the creative ways that our groups are tackling the growing demand for our services – not just in West Yorkshire but all over the UK.”

Page Last Updated: April 21, 2015

£100,000 to support disabled riding groups across the UK

RDA has awarded grants to 21 of its groups totalling more than £100,000. RDA’s grants programme has been made possible thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery and BT Supporters Club. Funds have been allocated to specific projects aimed at increasing the number of people who can benefit from the charity’s activities.

The projects made possible by the grants include: the purchase of horses, a new carriage, a mounting platform, vaulting equipment and the setting up of an after school riding club.

“The range of projects we have been able to fund thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery and BT Supporters Club demonstrates the creative ways that groups are tackling the growing demand for RDA activities,” says Ed Bracher, Chief Executive at RDA.

Caroline Sanderson, a volunteer at Lincolnshire Wolds RDA, which has received funds for a new carriage, said: “We are extremely fortunate to have access to beautiful countryside and with the benefits of a purpose built carriage our disabled carriage drivers will be able to enjoy outdoor areas that they would otherwise not be able to access.

“This special carriage means that we can offer this activity to even more people from the local area. One of our drivers has a dream to eventually take part in an event and we hope that we can make this a reality for her.”

Print   BT Supporters club logo

Page Last Updated: April 20, 2015

RDA named Equifest Charity of the Year 2015

Press Release 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Page Last Updated: April 16, 2015

New RDA Carriage Driving Group for Stirling

RDA is delighted to announce the launch of a new carriage driving group for people with disabilities. Forth Driving Group will operate every Thursday from Riverside Stables, Falkirk. The facility brings a much needed community resource back to the Stirling area, following the closure of Bannockburn RDA last year.

The new Group’s launch was announced at the RDA Carriage Driving conference in Glasgow. Patsy Muir-Simpson, organiser of Forth Driving Group said, “We are really looking forward to welcoming drivers to our Thursday sessions and can’t wait to get up and running. Volunteer support is also hugely important, and training will be given, so we are urging anyone who can give their time to help the Group to get in touch.”

“As we continue the search for a site on which to build a new centre of excellence for central Scotland, Forth Driving Group will prove a vital resource for local people,” said RDA Chief Executive Ed Bracher. “The closure of Bannockburn RDA last year has left hundreds of riders and carriage drivers without the chance to benefit from our activities. We wish everyone involved in the new Group every success, and hope that as many people as possible can benefit from the socialising, development of skills and access to the countryside that carriage driving brings.”

 For more information about driving or volunteering with Forth Driving Group, email Patsy Muir-Simpson on

Page Last Updated: April 15, 2015

Thinking of starting an RDA group?

Shedfield RDA – The starting of a new Group

Anne-Marie and I had previously volunteered as helpers and Trustees at another RDA group, which we had hoped to expand, but after various discussions the other Trustees preferred to keep the group small, so with the encouragement of Anne Coney we agreed to try and set up our own group. There was no conflict with our previous group as we were targeting a different type of rider. We set about gaining more knowledge about groups, and volunteered at Broadlands for several months to gain experience of different types of riders Suzanne has a great range of riders at Broadlands together with dedicated and skilled volunteers, so an excellent place to see the workings of RDA.

By May of last year we decided it was about time to set the ball rolling and start our new RDA Group.. We started advertising for volunteers and completed all the necessary paperwork to become a new RDA group. We found some great volunteers and by August 2014 we became a member group. We started with no funds whatsoever, so we set about fundraising by holding tombola stalls manned by our new volunteers, at local dressage and horse shows. Our aim was to raise enough money for a large mounting block, the first bit of our essential equipment. We raised enough money to buy materials and somebody very kindly made the mounting block for us, so we were on our way.

Philippa Lester the manager at Shedfield Riding School also applied to become an RDA Accessibility Centre at the same time, and to start off RDA we have been riding under their accessibility mark whilst sorting out getting our instructors qualified and getting all the volunteer paperwork, first aid etc. completed. In December of last year we had a visit from the Mayor of Farnham, who arrived with a cheque for £3,500 to add to our very meagre funds. This money was raised by the Mayor’s Annual Charity. This was a fantastic boost. She brought along with her Cllr Sean Woodward who is a rider himself and is very interested in the work that the RDA do. He said that Councillors have money for grants and that if we would like to apply for a grant for equipment for £1,500 he would see what he could do to help us. We also received a very kind donation from one of our volunteers for £1,500 too. We received the Councillor Grant in early January. So suddenly and amazingly we have a good amount of money to get started with. We have applied to become a registered charity, which as you all know you can’t apply until £5,000 has gone through your RDA bank in a year. We never thought we would have this money so soon. This money has enabled us to buy Games, safety and video equipment. The video being very useful for those of our riders who want to compete in the RDA Dressage Competition. It has also paid for a first aid course for all of the volunteers who were able to attend.

We have found some fantastic volunteers including an Occupational Therapist and a professional fundraiser. We have got volunteers who love organising and paperwork, we couldn’t have asked for any more. So it just goes to show that even if you are a bit daunted by starting a new RDA group, sometimes the gods smile on you and help get you off to a fantastic start

To find out more about starting an RDA Group, contact Julie Dargie at RDA National Office  ( 01926 405 962)

Page Last Updated: April 15, 2015

RDA announces charity partnership with Wolf Run

RDA has become the official charity partner for the April event at Warwickshire’s Wolf Run, it was announced today.

The charity, which works throughout the UK, will benefit from fundraising efforts by the increasingly popular event based in Offchurch.

The money raised will go towards the services provided by the charity, which brings the benefits of riding or carriage driving to more than 28,000 adults and children each year.

“We are hugely grateful to the organisers and competitors of the Wolf Run in Offchurch,” said RDA Activities Coordinator, Lottie Dronfield. “Becoming official charity for the event is a fantastic opportunity for us to raise vital funds, and to help more people find out about what we do. Wolf Run events are always so inspirational and upbeat, and the team here are really looking forward to being part of the day and supporting competitors in any way we can.”

The Wolf Run welcomes more than 35,000 people to events throughout the year and it is the first time that the run has partnered with specific charities to encourage profile exposure and targeted fundraising.

Wolf Run organiser and director, Charlie Moreton, said “We are delighted to partner Riding for the Disabled Association for the inaugural Wolf Run of 2015. The work they do is incredibly important both on a local and national scale and with our runs being based in the beautiful UK countryside it was important to us to work with a charity that brings access to this area to people that may not otherwise benefit. We believe it is vital to offer platform to raise the profile of the charity to our runners at the same time as raising money for them, and partnerships are a great way for us to do this.”

This is the first year that the Wolf Run has announced official charity partners, although it has raised and donated tens of thousands of pounds to a host of UK charities including Myton Hospice and the Royal Marsden Hospital. Since it’s first race in 2011, Wolf Run participants have raised money and awareness for more than 1000 charities.

Charlie continues, “We have never been affiliated with one charity and in previous years we have seen race goers raise money for a host of charities from the UK and abroad and we try and list all these charities on our website. However, we often get enquiries from people asking who to raise money for, so our charity partnerships point these people in the direction of a worthwhile cause.”

RDA will be exhibiting at the Wolf Run with information on the work they do and the help they provide. Those wanting to raise money for RDA should contact Sal Atkinson at or visit .

For further information on The Wolf Run, images and quotes, please contact Charlotte Kissack on 07773 033808 or email


Page Last Updated: October 29, 2015

Make your vote count for Horses

The UK’s equine industry is valuable and vibrant, contributing over £7bn to the economy annually, and bringing pleasure to millions of riders and horse lovers across the country. Horses are found across the UK, and are used for many purposes – from top sports and racehorses to horses for leisure riders to horses for people with disabilities to family pets. The outreach of the horse is incredible, and important!

The Equine Sector Council for Health and Welfare and the British Horse Industry Confederation have produced a Manifesto for the Horse for the 2015 General Election, setting out measures needed to better protect the welfare and health of horses, safeguard and expand this important aspect of our world and help horse sports prosper.

How many of your local Parliamentary Candidates will support the horse industry if elected? Please email your candidates by clicking on this link which is a quick and easy way to ask your Candidate to think carefully about horses:

Page Last Updated: March 6, 2015

Bobbysocks wins BETA ‘Year of the Horse’ competition

Long-serving RDA pony, Bobbysocks, has been crowned winner of BETA ‘Year of the Horse’ competition. In a low-key ceremony at the Leicestershire RDA centre where he lives and works, Bobbysocks and the RDA volunteers who look after him were presented with a portrait of the winning pony.

The 27 year-old has worked at Wenlo RDA in Leicestershire for 18 years, during which time he has helped hundreds of disabled children enjoy the benefits of riding.

“He has spent his life helping other and always doing what was asked of him,” said Dawn Whitmore-Kirby, who looks after Bobbysocks and runs Wenlo RDA. “He has won so many things but never had a trophy of his own – until now. We are thrilled that we have this beautiful portrait to remember his ‘Year of the Horse’ success.”

Bobbysocks is now in partial retirement after years of giving happiness to the many children that rode him. “He works when he wants to,” added Dawn, “and, when he wants to stay in the field, he can.”

BETA executive director Claire Williams said that the judging panel had a really tough job in choosing the winner: “It was not easy, but Bobbysocks seems to have made such a big difference to peoples’ lives that he was the natural choice,” she said. “We wish him the very best and hope he enjoys a well-deserved retirement.”

 “It was a real honour to see Bobbysocks receive such well-deserved recognition for his dedication to helping other people,” said RDA Chief Executive, Ed Bracher. “With Bobbysocks now enjoying his retirement, the portrait will be a wonderful reminder for the group of his hard work and commitment to RDA. We are grateful to BETA for choosing an RDA pony as their first ‘Year of the Horse’ winner, and for their ongoing support of us as a charity.”



Page Last Updated: February 13, 2015

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

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

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

RDA Group projects already supported by players in 2014 include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Page Last Updated: February 2, 2015

Nominations for the 2015 Gala Awards are now OPEN

 RDA Gala Awards logo 2015 gold

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guidance for Writing Citations

The closing date for nominations is 30 July 2015.

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

The Long Room Lords


Page Last Updated: August 3, 2015

HETI(UK) 2015 Spring Forum – Horses in Education and Therapy International

HETI(UK) 2015 Spring Forum – Horses in Education and Therapy International

You are invited to the next Forum on
Thursday, 19th March, 2015
The Forum will meet at the Fortune Centre of Riding Therapy,
Avon Tyrrell, Bransgore, New Forest, BH23 8EE,
(situated close to the Pickett Post junction of the A31, nearest mainline railway station: Brockenhurst).

This will be the last meet before the XVth HETI Congress (Taiwan, June 2015).
For Congress information, please go to or contact Jennifer.

If you would like to attend the Spring forum, or give a presentation, please telephone:
Jennifer Dixon-Clegg on 01425 673297 by Sunday 1st February 2015. 
– See more at:

Page Last Updated: January 27, 2015

Introduction to therapeutic Riding

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

FLYER Intro to Therapeutic Riding course

Page Last Updated: January 22, 2015

RDA launches project to build Centre of Excellence in Central Scotland

RDA has launched a project to build a new centre of excellence for riding and carriage driving in the centre of Scotland, following the forced closure of Bannockburn RDA last year.

Despite fierce campaigning, public fundraising and numerous attempts to resolve the legal dispute with the landlord at Bannockburn, the Group sadly had to cease operating. This has left hundreds of disabled children and adults without a local riding and carriage driving facility.

Using funds generated through the ‘Ride-On’ campaign during 2014, RDA UK has begun the process of researching potential new sites in the Stirling area. The aim is to build a new centre capable of operating at the same scale and standard as Bannockburn.

“Getting a new site identified and the fundraising underway is now a priority,” said RDA Chief Executive Ed Bracher. “To that end we have already found three potential sites in and around Stirling, and have started positive discussions with all those involved. We are also bringing together a steering group to help shape the future of the centre once a site has been agreed.”

RDA UK has been contacting supporters of Bannockburn about the project to get their involvement where possible. The charity is urging anyone else who feels they can be of help or who wants to be kept up to date with developments to get in touch.

“This project will only succeed with the help and support of as many people as possible,” continued Ed. “We will need some specific skills to get this centre off the ground – but mostly it will take the dedication and enthusiasm of individuals who understand that Stirling deserves the very best facilities for its disabled children and adults.”

To register your interest in the ‘Central Scotland RDA Project’, visit To donate to the Ride-On campaign, visit


Page Last Updated: January 16, 2015

RDA and British Dressage National Classification Policy for Para-Equestrians

RDA and British Dressage have launched a National Classification Policy for Para-equestrian which is designed to give clearer guidance and offer a more structured system in line with that used by the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI). Coming into effect from January 1st 2015, a National Classification Panel has been created which will review all initial applications and offers them classification in regional days, where two classifiers will carry out assessments, or give details of a National classifier local to them to arrange and assessment.

The change has come about in response to growing demand for classifications, and to ensure a more comprehensive process for assessing riders whose disability might be more complex or progressive. The ‘two classifier’ system again brings the UK in line with the FEI, which has always required more than one classifier for its assessments. The policy gives a more constructed process although many aspects of the classification remain the same, with no changes being made to the profile or grading of riders.

David Hamer, British Dressage Para Director, said: “The popularity of Paralympic sport post London 2012 has been a great boost and it is essential that those coming into the sport have a system that can support the growth in demand for classification. The National Policy gives more clarity and guidance to what was already a very comprehensive process.”

National Classification Policy 2015

Page Last Updated: January 13, 2015

RDA Volunteers and Riders recognised in New Years Honours

RDA is celebrating the recognition of its volunteers and riders in the New Years Honours list. Two long-standing volunteers and an accomplished rider will all receive awards at ceremonies later in the year.

Dressage rider, Louise Greer, has been awarded a British Empire Medal for services to Coleraine RDA. 17 year old Louise has already competed at six National Championships and is a tireless ambassador for the Northern Ireland-based RDA Group.

Angela Doughty, awarded an MBE, founded Wilby RDA in 1991 and was RDA County Chairman for Northamptonshire. In an interview with Horse & Hound she said she was “overwhelmed and excited” by the news.

Patricia Dobbin of Hampshire & Surrey Borders RDA has been awarded a British Empire Medal.

“We are delighted that our volunteers and riders have been recognised in this way,” said RDA Chief Executive, Ed Bracher.” Angela and Pat have both given many years’ service to RDA, and Louise’s achievements as an accomplished rider and ambassador at our Coleraine Group make them all highly deserving recipients.”

Page Last Updated: January 6, 2015

Deb Criddle part of all star line-up for BD Para-Equestrian Coaching Symposium

An all-star cast of guest speakers and presenters has been announced for the 2015 Para-Equestrian Coaching Symposium, which will be held at Moulton College in Northamptonshire, 7 – 8 February.

Supported by Sport England, the two-day conference, back in the calendar after a two year gap, is open to all hoping to develop their skills and knowledge in para coaching. Britain is the world leader in para dressage and we have an amazing array of talent to call on as well as leading experts in other sports. Whatever your role in the sport; rider, coach, judge, trainer, you’ll get something from either or both days.

Headline speakers include former England and British Lions rugby player and head of Elite Coach Development for British Swimming, Nigel Redman and Paralympic coach, Nina Venables, who will be concentrating on how to coach a para-equestrian rider in order to produce their optimum performance.

World Class Programme vet, Dr Rachel Murray, performance and position analyst, Russell Guire and Vanessa Fairfax from Fairfax Saddles will be providing discussion on the key management issues essential for maximising a horse’s performance.

World, European and Paralympic medallist, Deb Criddle MBE will also be providing a talk based on her experiences, as an athlete, being coached as a para rider from grass roots to achieving Paralympian success. Within this, she will be discussing the importance of a good relationship between rider and coach, using herself as a case study.

Attendees will also have the chance to see World, European and Paralympic medallist, Sophie Wells MBE (pictured) and World & European medallist, Emma Sheardown as they’re riding.

Tickets for the day cost £30.00 with weekend tickets available for £50.00, please contact Friederike von Voigts-Rhetz on 0247 669 8837 or email


Ticket Order Form Para Coach Symposium 2015

Time Table Para Coach Sympsium 2015

Page Last Updated: December 12, 2014

RDA Cash Raffle Winners announced

The winners of the 2014 RDA Cash Raffle are: 

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

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

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

Page Last Updated: November 28, 2014

RDA to host HETI Autumn Forum, 11 December at Avon Riding Centre

HETI Autumn Forum (Horses in Education & Therapy International) Thurs Dec 11th from 10 to 2.30pm at the Avon Riding Centre for the Disabled, Bristol. (

RDA is hosting this event on the theme, ‘Collaboration and Cooperation in Therapeutic Riding.’ The programme includes a presentation on the latest changes in SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disability) and how they affect providing therapeutic riding to schoolchildren. See programme for details.

HETI(UK) Autumn Forum 2014 Invitation (3)

Page Last Updated: November 21, 2014

RDA to receive £300,000 in support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery

Rory Bremner thanks players and accepts cheque on charity’s behalf

Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) is to receive £300,000 thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Comedian and RDA supporter Rory Bremner celebrated the news and received a cheque on the charity’s behalf during a visit to Borders RDA group in Scotland.

Support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery has already enabled RDA to provide direct grants to some of its 500 groups throughout the UK; helping them deliver more therapy, achievement and fun to people with disabilities. Horse riding and carriage driving with RDA really does make a difference: delivering lasting physiotherapy, building self-confidence, inspiring friendships, providing freedom of movement and access to the outdoors.

“The incredibly generous support from players is making a real difference to the lives of both new and existing RDA riders,” says RDA Chief Executive, Ed Bracher. “We’ve been able to make grants to our groups so they can expand their activities; invest in new equipment; attract new volunteers and try to reduce the waiting lists that so many of our groups struggle with. We can’t thank players enough for this extra support, which will allow us to do even more for our groups and riders.”

Today, about 28,000 children and adults across the UK benefit from RDA’s activities, but there are thousands more waiting to join in. Support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery will provide vital support to RDA’s 500 groups all over the UK, and make sure even more people’s lives can be changed for the better.

Page Last Updated: November 18, 2014

Picture perfect

The winners of the RDA Photographic Competition 2014, supported by Players of People’s Postcode Lottery, have been announced.

The overall winning photograph was taken by Karen Thompson, Senior Instructor at Kesteven RDA in Lincolnshire. Called ‘Having some ‘Roma’ Therapy’, Karen’s picture of a joyful rider looking down from his pony, Roma, was a clear favourite with the judges.

There were four categories in this year’s competition: RDA is Fun, Magic Moments, A New Challenge and Indispensable Volunteers, with winners chosen for each category, out of which an overall winner was selected by People’s Postcode Lottery.

Magic Moments was won by Polly Wheeler and her beautiful picture, ‘Sibling Pride’. RDA is Fun was won by Karen Thompson with ‘Having some ‘Roma’ Therapy’. A New Challenge was won by Jeanette Williams with her picture ‘Wow, This is Hard Work’. Indispensable Volunteers was won by Sophie Hurrell-Day with her picture ‘Jordan’s Countryside Challenge’.

The annual competition is open to anyone involved with RDA’s 500 groups all over the UK, and aims to capture the many positive elements of the charity’s activities.

Hazel Johnstone, Trusts Manager at People’s Postcode Lottery said: “It was a really tough decision for the whole team at People’s Postcode Lottery to decide on the winning picture, as all the entries were so great, but Karen’s picture really brought such a smile to all our faces that it was obviously the winner. Congratulations to Karen!”

Overall winning picture: 



A selection of images from the competition will be displayed on our Facebook and Twitter accounts during this week, with the wider selection made available on our website after that.

Page Last Updated: November 17, 2014