National Championships


  • Anne Coney
  • National Championship Chairman

Useful Information

Competition Rules & Classes   

Hartpury College, Gloucestershire

Friday 13th – Sunday 15th July 2018

The RDA National Championships is RDA’s flagship event, bringing together hundreds of competitors of all abilities in events including Carriage Driving, Countryside Challenge, Dressage, Showjumping, Vaulting and Showing.

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. Riders who compete at the Championships will have first qualified at a Regional Qualifying Competition in one of our 18 Regions.  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!

The disciplines that the National Championships offer are as follows:

Arts & Crafts

This competition has been designed for people to enter the National Championships but who find it difficult to travel for whatever reason.   As in previous years, classes will be open to all RDA participants.  Each Region will hold their own round of judging (please contact your Regional Chairman for deadlines in your area). The winners of each class at Regional level are then sent on for the final round of judging at Hartpury in July.

Participants can choose to work on an individual project or some groups decide to submit a group project. The artwork can take the form of a painting, drawing, collage or even a sculpture.

You must enter your artwork via your Region so please download the information flyer and entry form for the regional rounds, under ‘Useful Information’ to the right.

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.

Carriage Driving

Following the success of this competition over the past few years we are delighted that Carriage Driving is thriving at the National Championships. Regional Qualifiers will once again be held for Novice, Intermediate and Open classes.  The competition will consist of a dressage test and a combined cones and obstacle course.

Countryside Challenge

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 will be required to qualify for these classes by attending their Regional Qualifier.  All classes will be divided into Junior and Senior.  The top two in each section achieving 65% or more will qualify for the National Championships.


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.

Find out more about Dressage and Dressage Tests

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 flat work skills and school movements which are included in most RDA sessions.

This 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.


Showing is a new activity within RDA, a progression from the already established Best Turned Out competition. Showing teaches you how to put in a performance and accept the judge’s comments as a positive way to improve.  It is also a great start for a horse’s education, as it teaches manners and gives exposure to the show environment without the exacting pressure of a dressage test or showjumping.  This class will count as a qualifier to the SEIB RDA Search for a Star Series.

For more information about Showing, please conact Lottie Dronfield on 01926 405972 or


As Showjumping continues to grow within RDA we are delighted that this discipline is now a major part of the National Championships.  We will be holding RDA Levels 2, 3 and 4, separate classes will be held for Junior and Senior riders.

Regional Qualifiers will once again be held, in order to qualify riders must achieve at least 60% in their class.  The top two riders in each section achieving the qualifying percentage will go forward to the Championships.

We will also continue to offer a a competition open to Graded Showjumpers (Grades I – IV) at the National Championships.

For more information about Showjumping, please contact Marisa Bretherton-Mackay on 01926 405973 or


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). We are pleased to be able to offer both team and individual classes for 2017.  Both team and individual classes can be performed on either the barrel or the horse.

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.

The individual classes will be split into 3 sections, 10 years and under, 11 – 16 years and 17 years and over.



Page Last Updated: June 18, 2018