Friday 12th, Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th July at Hartpury College, Gloucestershire
The RDA National Championships is RDA’s flagship event, bringing together hundreds of competitors of all abilities in events including Dressage, Countryside Challenge, Vaulting, Horse Care & Knowledge, Arts & Crafts, Best Turned Out and Musical Ride.
The Championships has grown year on year and is now bigger than the Paralympics and Para World Championships combined. In previous years it has proved a springboard for the Paralympics, with many of the current Team GB having competed at The Championships.
Since 2002, the RDA National Championships have been held at Hartpury College in Gloucester. The disciplines that the National Championships offer are as follows:
- Arts & Crafts
- Best Turned Out Horse, Pony & Rider
- Carriage Driving
- Combined Training
- Countryside Challenge
- Horse Care & Knowledge
- Musical Ride/Carriage Drive DVD Competition
Riders from all over the Country compete at the Championships and come away with a sense of achievement, great confidence, new friends – not to mention the odd rosette!
Arts & Crafts
This is a competition which has been designed for people to enter the National Championships, but who find it difficult to travel for whatever reason. The standard of this competition increases each year and the theme is RDA. Riders can choose to work on an individual project or some decide to submit a group project. The artwork can take the form of a painting, drawing, collage, montage or even a sculpture.
Best Turned Out Horse, Pony & Rider
This class is judged purely on turnout and not as a showing class and is open to all riders. There is a Junior and Senior section each day with the groom of the winning pony also receiving a prize for their efforts.
2012 saw the introduction of Carriage Driving at the National Championships. This year there will be a full RDA competition held on the Friday afternoon. The competition will consist of a dressage test and a cones course followed by an obstacle course.
These classes are aimed at riders who are entering the Countryside Challenge and have opted to enter the Introduction to Dressage Classes. This class is designed to encourage Riders to participate in both classes. There is no extra riding involved, the marks from the Countryside Challenge will be converted to a percentage and then combined with the Dressage score.
The RDA Countryside Challenge is a development of the skills acquired in RDA sessions. The course is focused upon school movements, both challenging and stimulating the rider, but with the focus being “fun”.
During the course, riders have the opportunity to put their skills to the test through challenging tasks, going through the gate, into the farmyard encountering sheep and hens! Steering, balance and confidence are all put to the test.
Riders qualify through their Regional Dressage Qualifier to compete at the Championships. They ride a specific test with a predetermined pattern in a 20m x 40m arena and can also choose to ride a freestyle test. Dependent on their impairment and/or experience, they can ride tests with walk only, walk and trot or walk, trot and canter. Dressage is a multi disability activity but at the Championships, intellectual disability and visually impaired riders can choose to ride in their own classes.
Horse Care & Knowledge
This is a fun, theory based competition open to all competitors. The class takes the form of a visual and tactile test of knowledge, using illustrations and items of equipment about which the steward will ask questions of the competitor.
Musical Ride/Carriage Drive DVD Competition
The RDA Musical Ride/Carriage Drive Competition reflects the coaching of flatwork skills and school movements which are included in most RDA sessions.
Our ‘Back to Basics’ theme of the Musical Ride Competition, with no editing allowed, has now been running for several years. This has proved very successful and more and more Groups have decided to enter the competition, with commendable results.
The RDA Musical Ride Competition originally evolved from these basic precepts at Regional level and we have decided to keep the ‘Back to Basics’ theme to encourage and enable even more Groups to have a go. As we all know, music has been shown to be a powerful element to improve and energise the performance of both horse and rider/carriage driver and we are looking forward to seeing a wider use of music to do just that.
Do have a go and send in your entry to the Region (There is no entry fee for this first round of the competition). Once again, we are most definitely not looking for ‘professional’ productions. We would just like to see what you are all doing in your Groups
There will be just two classes and the age Groups may be mixed.
- A drill ride or carriage drive with riders/drivers and helpers smartly dressed – for example in their matching Group sweatshirts – on well chosen ponies/horses.
- A drill ride with a theme. For example dressed as soldiers to reflect marching music.
2011 saw the inclusion of showjumping at the National Championships for the first time. This year we will see the introduction of RDA Compteitions, held on the Saturday afternoon. There will be 3 Levels, enabling competitiors to progress with an aim towards National and Para events if they want.
The aim is for showjumping to become a fully fledged Para-Equestrian discipline where Team GB can be as successful as we have been in Para-Equestrian Dressage.
Vaulting can be defined as gymnastics on the back of a moving horse. It is one of the 7 disciplines recognised by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI). The team of 6 (with a reserve) work with 1 horse under the control of the lunger. Vaulting is a sound basis to learn riding from and should not be seen as merely “jumping on and off” but a session that allows participants to work within a group, sharing not only the horse but the experience.