09 June 2021National Office Update

Dear RDA UK volunteers and staff,

I am sad to announce the death of Carolyn (Carol) Hall who had been suffering from Dementia. Until her retirement on health grounds some 5+ years ago, Carol was the backbone of the West Suffolk Group, where she was coach and Chair. She was also County Coach for Suffolk and a Coach Developer for East Region. Carol volunteered for over 40 years. She worked tirelessly at the Regional Qualifiers and Regional Training Days.  She was a regular volunteer at Hartpury on the Countryside Challenge Course and helped make all the riders feel very special when competing there. She will be sorely missed by all who knew her.

With thanks to Sue Diggins and Sue Price


EGM reminder

Please remind your groups about next week’s EGM and voting for the new Chair if they haven’t done so already. The link to vote is:www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/EGM17June21


3 Carriages available

North Meols Carriage Driving Group is sadly having to close and they have 3 carriages, a Fenix, a Charles Wylie, which takes a wheelchair, a Bennington, and a ramp available to donate to other RDA groups. If you know of a group that might be interested, or would like further information, please contact Fiona Caplan on eitherbafilo@tiscali.co.uk or 01704 566728.


30-minute webinar

Tomorrow, 10 June, 7pm Coaching Week special

To mark Coaching Week, we hear from Abingdon Coach and regular blogger India Collins-Davies about what coaching within RDA means to her, what she missed during lockdown and what is enriching her life once again now the group is back open and filming their virtual qualifier videos. She’ll also use the opportunity to reach out to young coaches and volunteers who are thinking about joining the coaching pathway.

Register at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_7lxOcr11QeOu-Td7VYw6Nw

Next week: 17 June, Surprise webinar

The surprise is I don’t know what it is yet! Rest assured there will be one and it will be excellent. I’ll circulate the details in next week’s email so apologies that it will be short notice.


Regional Equine Advisor for three regions

We are looking to fill this vital role in Grampian & Highland, North Midlands and North Wales. If you or anyone you know might be interested please take a look at the role description here: https://www.myrda.org.uk/assets/Role-Profile-Regional-Equine-Advisor-0621-pdf-1-1.pdf

Any applications or enquiries to Emma Bayliss atebayliss@rda.org.uk


RDA Banners mystery

We seem to be missing a couple of RDA event banners (like you might put above a stand or on a fence). They are big and white and have just our logo and website on them. Is there any chance you know where they are? Have they been forgotten about during lockdown? We’d love them back so if you can help solve our mystery please email Catcyapp@rda.org.uk


Best wishes and stay safe,


Caroline Ward
Head of Communication & Insight, RDA UK
01926 405968



19 May 2021National Office Update

Dear RDA UK volunteers and staff,

Congratulations to everyone involved in this morning’s Tea with a Pony conference. A great way to launch this exciting initiative, and the presentations were inspiring and informative.  A recording will be available as usual on the MyRDA YouTube Channel (I’ll try to get that sorted by the end of tomorrow).


Sidewalkers: clarification for Scotland

In Scotland, one sidewalker for riding and carriage driving is permitted if an area is in Level 1 or 2 but not in Level 3.  We understand Glasgow and Moray remain in Level 3. 

Search for a ‘heritage champion’

For over 50 years RDA has been at the forefront of disability sport, and a pioneer in the world of horses for therapy. In partnership with Sporting Heritage, we are now looking for a volunteer (or volunteer team) to capture, record and share our heritage: preserving our history and making it more accessible for future generations.

If you know someone who might enjoy this challenge, the full spec can be found here:


Anyone interested can pop me an email cward@rda.org.uk


30-minute webinar

Tomorrow, 20 May, RDA Endurance

To coincide with Endurance Week and the launch of this year’s RDA Endurance league, we hear from new National Lead for this increasingly popular activity, Gilly Roper.

Register at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_kw6qcDH8QHCNr9XONbfnkg 

Next week: 27 May, Restarting RDA: Don’t wait for ‘normality’ to return

The process of restarting RDA sessions after a long break will require planning (and yes, undoubtedly some paperwork), even if COVID restrictions are eased and things feel largely back to normal – so it makes sense to start sooner rather than later. We look at the considerations for a safe and orderly restart.



Coach Reflection cards

A recent CPD workshop for coaches highlighted the benefits of being able to reflect on sessions in a positive and productive way. In response, we have developed a series of reflection cards as part of our e-learning platform. These can be used at the end of the day on your own, but are just as useful worked through with others. Although developed for coaching, these are suitable for everyone involved in RDA sessions (participants, volunteers and coaches) and are available here: www.rda-learning.org.uk/courses/coach-reflection/

Volunteers’ Week 1-7 June

Just a heads up about Volunteers’ Week, as usual the first week of June. This year we will be using our Volunteer Wellbeing research to highlight the reasons people volunteer with RDA (and the benefits) and asking volunteers to share their own experiences with us. Anyone who wants to share their ‘why I volunteer’ stories can email Faye fmckenning@rda.org.uk  anytime between now and the end of Volunteers’ Week.

Equi-Scotia courses

Please find here information about courses which might be of interest to develop and deliver non-riding activities to support mental health and well-being: https://www.equi-scotia.com/our-events/


Best wishes and stay safe,


Caroline Ward
Head of Communication & Insight, RDA UK
01926 405968

15 May 2021Horsescotland Update

Horsescotland Update

Covid Guidance Update - 13th May 2021

As I am sure you will be aware, the First Minister provided an update on COVID-19 and related restrictions on Tuesday, highlighting restriction changes from 17th May.

These can be summarised as follows:

Movement in Levels from Monday 17 May

Level 3: Moray is very likely to remain at Level 3. This decision will

be confirmed at the end of the week.

Level 2: The rest of the mainland, Skye and some islands will

move to Level 2 (The limit for gatherings inside private homes will

match that for inside public places - 6 people from 3 households.

No physical distancing will be required in homes and gardens.)

Level 1: Orkney, Shetland, the Western Isles, the Highland islands

with the exception of Skye, and the Inner Hebrides islands in

Argyll will move to Level 1.

The intention remains for the country to move to Level 1 on 7 June, and Level 0 on 28 June, however Scottish Government will be reviewing this position in the coming weeks.

Please find attached an updated Return to Sport & Physical Activity guidance document which is effective from 17th May 2021.

The key changes to note are:

Table A – ‘outdoor bubbles / participant maximum numbers’ now confirmed for Levels 0 - 2.

Level 3 – Bubbles of up to 30 with a maximum of 200 participants per day.

Level 2 – Bubbles of up to 50 with a maximum of 500 participants per day.

Level 1 – Bubbles of up to 100 with a maximum of 1000 participants per day.

Level 0 – Bubbles of up to 500 with no participant limit per day

Please Note: indoor bubbles/participant maximum numbers should be calculated by the facility operator based on Scottish Government guidance on the opening of sport and leisure facilities and its own risk assessment.

Definitions have been updated to include ‘competition’ and ‘events’. There are additional requirements around ‘events’ with regular SGB/club competition following the Return to Sport and Physical Activity Guidance while other ‘events’ follow Scottish Government event guidance and requirements.

Spectators are not permitted under Return to Sport guidance (only supervision) at this time. Spectators are permitted at ‘events’ which meet Scottish Government Events guidance requirements. We are currently in discussions with Scottish Government to ensure Return to Sport and Physical Activity guidance and Events Sector guidance align where possible.

The above is great news for the Scottish equestrian community and sees continued progression towards full resumption of activity.

Grant Turnbull

horsescotland Chair


15 May 2021Scottish Disability Sport


Scottish Disability Sport is offering a series of workshops to support coaches, volunteers, and officials in returning to sport, focusing on topics identified as areas of need.

·  How do you feel as a coach, volunteer, or official returning to sport? 19th May, 4.00-5.00pm

·  Child Wellbeing & Protection in Sport (CWPS) - 24 May, 5.00-8.00pm

·  Making the processes and procedures for a return to sport, straightforward and manageable - 2 June, 7.00-8.00pm

·  First Aid - 8 June, 6.00-8.00

·  Participants Return - 23 June, 6.00-7.00pm

Full details are in the attached flyer, or please contact admin@scottishdisabilitysport.com/ 0131 317 1130 if you have any queries. All of these workshops will be taking place virtually.

13 May 2021National Office Update

Dear RDA UK volunteers and staff,

I was sorry to hear about the death of Anne Birkmyre, former County Coach for Worcestershire and founder of Durrance and Kyre groups. Anne was a key figure in the early days of RDA holidays and was regularly involved in the Horsecare & Knowledge at the National Championships. Jeannie Bird, County Chair for Worcestershire says: “Anne was a shining light for RDA, especially in the early days, being totally committed with a never ending supply of love and support for horse and rider and amassing a huge bevy of friends over the years. When she wasn't rushing about the Region on coaching duties etc, Anne would always be a pair of willing hands to any group that was short of a helper. Quite simply, Anne was truly a wonderful and special lady who always saw the best in everyone.”

Our thoughts are with Anne’s family and her RDA friends at this time.

In other sad news, I heard this week about the passing of Barrow Farm RDA founder, Mary Mitchell, who died just before Christmas. Mary’s daughter Anne, who now runs the group (East Region), wrote a lovely obituary in the group’s newsletter. Do let me know if you would like a copy.


Side walkers

The Road to Restart Working Group can now confirm that one side walker from outside the rider’s household/bubble will be permitted to support the rider on the opposite side of the equine to the leader from late May (17 May in England, Scotland and Wales and 24 May in Northern Ireland).

The side walker and leader must be socially distanced by at least 1m at all times. They both must practice good hand hygiene and the side walker must wear a face covering over nose and mouth whilst in the session.  The leader must either look away from the rider and side walker at all times or wear a face covering, or can choose to do both.  As a reminder, if any volunteers are supporting any participants outside their household/ bubble they must be appropriately trained and with a green card.  The COVID-19 basic training record is only for household/bubble members supporting the rider they are in a household/bubble with. 

If the rider needs two side walkers then these both must come from the rider’s household/ bubble and (unless the leader is from the same household), the leader must face away from the rider and side walkers at all times or they must wear a face covering. The leader and the side walker on the same side must also aim to be socially distanced as much as possible.  This applies to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Two side walkers from outside the rider’s household/ bubble are permitted on the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey where physical distancing restrictions are no longer in force.  

The timing of this change is being tied to the level of confidence in each of the respective countries about permitting 2 households to meet indoors and/or to permit contact sport.

It is also proposed when legal limits on restrictions are removed, expected to be 21 June in England, then two side walkers from outside the rider’s household/ bubble will be permitted.  Dates for other home countries will be in step with removal of legal limits, these dates have not yet been announced.


New Rider Assessments

A number of groups have asked if they can assess new riders. The answer to this is yes!  When doing so, you should aim to be socially distanced as much as you can but if you have to breach social distancing, you should ensure you practice good hand hygiene (sanitise your hands before you come into contact with anyone and immediately afterwards) and must wear a face covering.


30-minute webinar

Next Thursday, 20 May, RDA Endurance

To coincide with Endurance Week and the launch of this year’s RDA Endurance league (see below), we hear from new National Lead for this increasingly popular activity, Gilly Roper.

Register at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_kw6qcDH8QHCNr9XONbfnkg  


Tea with a Pony Conference – 19 May, 9-10:30am

A reminder to sign up this Zoom conference on Wednesday 19 May to mark the launch of Tea with a Pony.  The conference will focus on the benefits of equine experiences for people living with Dementia, and also how RDA are using the Dementia Friends initiative. Panellists include: Ally Rood (MRes in Horses for Dementia), Lorna Kook (Retired Occupational Therapist), Claire Jenkins (RDA UK Trustee) and Meg Hardman (Chair, Medical Equestrian Association and RDA Honorary Medic)

Register for the conference at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_eXHBC1UiQnmNBgVPM6zNSg

Please share the details of this conference to anyone you think might be interested – from within and outside of RDA.


Endurance League

As we approach Endurance Week next week, a reminder about the RDA Endurance League, which is running until next April to allow as many groups as possible to take part. Participants can also use a mechanical horse (though they still need to take a real horse’s heart rate!). Carriage Driving groups can add Endurance to their activities.

Find out more about this hugely popular initiative here: www.myrda.org.uk/runningyourgroup/endurance/


Every Mind Matters

This week is Mental Health Awareness week and Every Mind Matters is updating its resources to help conversations about mental health and the things in our daily lives that can affect it. Every Mind Matters - NHS (www.nhs.uk)


RDA Phone lines – may be unavailable 13 May

We will be having our phone lines upgraded at National Office this Thursday 13 May.  This is to make it easier for you to get in contact with us as we know there have been problems with our existing system. It is likely that our phone lines will be unavailable during this process but we are unable to indicate when this may occur. If you need to contact someone this Thursday and you are unable to get through on the phone, please email us in the usual way.  If you are unsure of our emails, they can all be found here https://www.myrda.org.uk/about-rda/meet-the-team/


Best wishes and stay safe,


Caroline Ward
Head of Communication & Insight, RDA UK
01926 405968


13 May 2021 National Championships


It is that time of the year, and whilst we are not able to meet in person, there is still the opportunity to refine your Dressage and Countryside Challenge entries and be creative in the Arts & Crafts classes. The link below will enable you to submit your entries via Horse Monkey:



Once you have clicked on the link, you will need to either register your group, or log in if you have an account already. I would suggest that you log in as a group so that you only have to pay the admin fee (£1.50) once.


Please remember for Dressage and Countryside Challenge entries to record your tests twice so that one can be used for the RQ and one can be your National Championship entry without having to do it again after the RQ. For ease of reference I attach a copy of the 2021 Virtual RQ Schedule.


You will need to have your videos ready for Dressage, Countryside Challenge and Musical Rides, and photographs (up to 4) ready for your Arts & Crafts before you access and submit your entry into Horse Monkey. The videos for the Musical Rides and photographs for the Arts and Crafts entries can be used for both the Virtual RQ and Virtual National Championships. As stated earlier, you need to make separate recordings of Dressage and Countryside Challenge tests for the RQ and Nat Championships.

- Entries Close Sunday 27th June so there is plenty of time to practice and be creative.


For copies of the Dressage Tests and Countryside Challenge Course, top tips on how to make the best recordings, and lots of other useful information visit:



Those groups who have travelled to the National Championships will have used Horse Monkey before, but if in doubt, do give me a shout and I will try to assist, or find someone who can. And let me know if you have any other questions.


Good luck!!




11 May 2021 “Disability, Mental Health and Me”.

Together with SAMH, the Scottish Disability Sport Young Start team has designed a series of workshops: “Disability, Mental Health and Me”. 


The workshops are free and there are a number of online workshops throughout May: 


13th May (6:30pm - 8pm): 

Disability, Mental Well-being and Me


Register here: https://sds.azolve.com/workbench/public/events?ref=5C8717B91DD46EECF382B8130A440C955FD5DD65


20th May (6:30pm - 8pm): 

Disability, Identity and Me 


Register here: https://sds.azolve.com/workbench/public/events?ref=23CE6CC7BEDDF5FFC05A1F9967A6D11AEE4A1457


27th May (6:30pm - 8pm) 

Disability, Self-Care and Me:  


Register here: https://sds.azolve.com/workbench/public/events?ref=BDF44741CB4E03824938EAE905EC8F29391E9B46


Please see below for further information.


Disability, Mental Well-being and Me: 


This online workshop allows you to explore what mental health and well-being are, what it means to you and how it impacts you as well as the world around you. 


After you attend this workshop, you will have an enhanced understanding of your own mental well-being and be able to positively impact your personal mental health. 


Disability, Identity and Me: 

What does having a disability mean to you?


This identity session is to help people with disabilities explore and grow their identity and self-acceptance to enable them to celebrate their differences. This workshop will help participants to have a better understanding of barriers and opportunities that having a disability can hold and empower young people to engage in many different possibilities.


Disability, Self-Care and Me: 


This online self-care workshop allows you to discover what self-care means to you and how to use it to support your mental health. 


By the end of the workshop, you will be able to understand what a self-care plan is and now to create one which will help you maintain a positive mindset. 


Please contact Victoria Clark victoria@activeadvantage.org if you have any questions.

05 May 2021National Office Update

 Dear RDA UK volunteers and staff,

I hope you had a good Bank Holiday Weekend and, if you were meeting outdoors, that you survived whatever random Spring weather came your way.

Thanks to all the Regional Showjumping Reps attending tonight’s meeting with National Lead Sally-Anne O’Neill – and to you too, Sally, of course. I hope it goes well.


30-minute webinar

Tomorrow: 6 May, 7pm, Buying Equines

RDA Honorary Vet Nick Hart and Emma Baylis discuss the dos and don’ts of equine purchase. A group with recent experience of buying RDA horses will also share their advice.

Register at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_rB17oRf9RIWxM9R2vMHrFw  

Next Thursday, 13 May, A week off!

Since I’m at least a day behind with everything this week, there is no webinar planned for next week. You can have the evening off - unless you’d like to volunteer to present one (that’s a serious request!), in which case please let me know in time for tomorrow’s email to groups.

Stella Hancock Award – a note from National Carriage Driving Lead, Eileen Cornish

Congratulations to Shifford Driving Group in the South Region for being awarded the Stella Hancock Award of £150 towards the training of a new coach for their group. I look forward to her joining the CD Coach ranks in the not-too-distant future once her assessment is completed.


That’s all this week. Best wishes and stay safe,


Caroline Ward
Head of Communication & Insight, RDA UK
01926 405968

28 April 2021National Office Update

Dear RDA UK volunteers and staff,

I was very sorry to hear about the death of Jane Guilford, North West Regional Physiotherapist. Jane had been a hard working and dedicated volunteer with RDA for nearly thirty years, including as Chair of the Camsley Grange Group in Cheshire.

As a qualified Physiotherapist, as well as helping children during her working life, she willingly supported the riders across the North West Region and was a valued member of the Regional Committee. Jane leaves a legacy of positivity and sound advice, and she will be sorely missed by all who knew her within RDA and beyond. Our thoughts go to her family at this sad time.

With thanks to Sheila Saner.

In happier news, I am delighted to welcome Kathy Mottershead as the new County Chair for Gloucestershire. Kathy is a coach and trustee at Watershed Group. She takes over from Caroline Longsdon. Thank you Caroline for everything you have done to support RDA UK over the years.


Opportunity to purchase horses

An email was circulated to Regional Chairs and RDA Group Contacts in England, Wales and Scotland yesterday, inviting groups to register their interest in purchasing horses from a large riding centre that is closing. Groups have until the end of today to complete the online form, which can be found here: www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/RDAequines

A copy of my original email can be found on MyRDA here: www.myrda.org.uk/opportunity-to-buy-a-horse/


30-minute webinar

Tomorrow: 29 April, 7pm, RDA Insurance Explained

Richard Doubleday, Executive Chairman of Howdens Insurance Brokers discusses the RDA Insurance. Register at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_vAuxrSipS36DnO_yKbHayA

Next Thursday, 6 May, Buying Equines

RDA Honorary Vet Nick Hart and Emma Baylis discuss the dos and don’ts of equine purchase. A group with recent experience of buying RDA horses will also share their advice.

Register at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_rB17oRf9RIWxM9R2vMHrFw  


Activity Levels survey

In order to help us understand activity levels within groups at the moment, we are issuing a survey to all signed-off groups by the end of this week. The survey will be similar to the one we carried out last October, and is invaluable for our negotiations with insurers, as well as finding out what percentage of our usual participant numbers we are currently able to work with.

The results will also be circulated to Regional Chairs to help with the local support you provide your groups. Please encourage your signed-off groups to take part.


‘Tea With a Pony’ Conference 19 May

As part of The Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Action Week #DAW2021, RDA will be hosting a Zoom conference on Wednesday 19 May to mark the launch of Tea with a Pony.  This conference will focus on the benefits of equine experiences for people living with Dementia, and also how RDA are using the Dementia Friends initiative. Panellists include: Ally Rood (MRes in Horses for Dementia), Lorna Kook (Retired Occupational Therapist), Claire Jenkins (RDA UK Trustee) and Meg Hardman (Chair, Medical Equestrian Association and RDA Honorary Medic)

Register for the conference at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_eXHBC1UiQnmNBgVPM6zNSg


Introductory Offer to join Equestrian Employers Association

The Equestrian Employers Association provides support, resources and advice to employers in the equestrian industry. They provide a number of templates that you can use for your employment needs if you employ staff, such as a Contract Creator, Staff Handbook Creator, Health and Safety toolkit and Code of Good Employment as well as information on pensions and payroll to help you to be a compliant and Good Employer. They also have an employment advice helpline.  In addition, they have useful information and templates for those who need to have a Riding Establishments Licence.  They are offering a special introductory rate to RDA groups signing up for the first time of £37.50 per year compared to the usual £49.50. Please note this discount does not apply if you are already a member and please do not pass this on as this offer does not apply to anyone outside of RDA or with Accessibility Mark accreditation. More details here: https://equestrianemployers.org.uk/homeRDA


Horsefest cancellation

The organisers of Horsefest have sadly had to make the difficult decision to cancel the event this year, due to ongoing uncertainties surrounding COVID restrictions.

If you have tickets (bought or won), please see the following message from their Facebook page (www.facebook.com/HorseFestuk):  “We would like to encourage anybody who has purchased tickets or accommodation for this year’s event to roll them over and come party with us in 2022. For anyone who would prefer a refund, this can be arranged by logging onto their TicketSellers account (details are on the email sent to ticket holders). Those who have won tickets - these will transfer to next year’s HorseFest automatically.”


Best wishes and stay safe,


Caroline Ward
Head of Communication & Insight, RDA UK
01926 405968

28 April 2021Edinburgh & Borders Regional Qualifier Classes 2021

The Schedule for our virtual RQ and the one for the virtual Nat Champs taking place in September is now available.

The Schedule covers all the classes - Dressage, Countryside Challenge, Arts& Crafts and Musical Ride.  The Dressage Tests are available on MyRDA under National Championships/Dressage where you can download all the Tests and Scoresheets. The documents are available in pdf form under the competitions tab on the library page.

Further information will be provided as soon as we have confirmation that our Schedule has gone live on Horse Monkey and you can upload entries.  This does not stop you from starting to practice the tests and filming. 

Advice on where best to film a test is also available from My RDA under National Championships.

As you may recall from Sue Mack's talk on Countryside Challenge, to help you get an accurate and useful recording of the test, it is best for the person doing the filming to follow the participant round the course.  For those who were unable to attend the Forum, Sue as made a YouTube Clip which is available through the link on MyRDA which gives you a step by step guide to how to set up a course as well as what a judge will be marking.  To assist with this Sue has kindly sent through the two scoresheets that will be used for the event.  Sue will judge our entries and recommended that you record two separate videos at the same time, one for the RQ and one for the Nat Champs.  If you have any questions relating to Countryside Challenge, Sue is very happy to answer them.  Her email is:  suemackRDA@gmail.com .


Edinburgh & Borders Regional Qualifier Classes 2021


As you are aware in 2021 both the Regional Qualifiers and National Championships will be taking place virtually.


Please see below a list of the Dressage, Countryside Challenge, Arts & Crafts and Musical Ride classes for our Regional Qualifier.  Carriage Driving, Showing and Vaulting classes will have direct entry to the National Championships, and there is an opportunity to take part in the Endurance competition.




There will be no Entry Fee for the 2021 Regional Qualifier with expenses covered by money raised by CHUFFS.

Each group will be required to pay a one-off £1.50 admin fee to access Horse Monkey.


Further Information


Horse Monkey is the entry system we will be using to enter and for you to upload your video(s).  You will be notified once the schedule has been uploaded onto Horse Monkey and is open for entries. 

The closing date for entries to all classes is Sunday 27th June 2021.

Riders who are new to dressage should be entered in one of the Introduction to Dressage Classes 1 to 4.

The winner in each qualifier class will qualify for the National Championships providing they score more than 60%.

In Dressage, two trophies will be awarded based on the best test ridden in the judges’ opinion. Riders placed first in their class are eligible. The Val Brown trophy is awarded to the best rider in the Introduction to Dressage Classes 1 to 4, and the Mark Headen trophy is awarded to the best rider in the Qualifying Classes 5 to 16.

For Countryside Challenge, a trophy will be awarded to the highest scoring Junior and Senior participant.

Please note that if a participant qualifies for the National Championships their contact details will be shared with RDA National Office.

Results will be publicised on the Regional Website http://www.rdasouthscotland.org.uk/ by Friday 9th July 2021.



Written guide for filming virtual competition entries for Regional Qualifiers and National Championships

Video guide for filming virtual competition entries for Regional Qualifiers and National Championships

Extra info can be found on the RDA You Tube channel www.youtube.com/channel/UCrI8v8J0WoEXNCu25ktkm0Q



26 April 2021Horsescotland Update


Covid Guidance Update - 26th April 2021

Today sees some very long awaited normality resume to life in general.

From today, all restrictions for travel around Scotland, and across Britain, are lifted, including for sport and physical activity.

With mainland Scotland moving universally to Level 3, this sees 'field of play' bubbles increase to 30 and we await confirmation from sportscotland around increased event numbers for Levels 0-2. As soon as we have this information we will provide further update. It is anticipated that the vast majority of Scotland will move to Level 2 from Monday17th May and to Level 1 from Monday 7th June. The expectation is that later in June Level 0 will be achieved.

Again, I would like to extend thanks to horsescotland member bodies, venues, participants and to everyone within our Scottish equestrian community that has worked with our Equestrian Guidance throughout. It has been hard going, but today sees us emerge into sunlight from what has been a very long and dimly lit tunnel.

I wish you every success, and enjoyment, within your chosen activity for the forthcoming season.

Grant Turnbull

horsescotland Chair

Visit our website for full details https://www.horsescotland.org/covid-19support

15 April 2021National Office Update

National Office Update 


Dear RDA UK volunteers and staff,

Congratulations and thank you to everyone in Mid West region who supported Wellow Group’s non-Royal visit yesterday. Despite the (completely understandable) absence of The Princess Royal, the group nevertheless put on a fantastic event for the local Lieutenancy and selected guests. A timely reminder that things will get better and there are still good times to be had.

Remembering The Duke Of Edinburgh

Ed Bracher has sent a message of condolence on behalf of RDA to The Palace following the death of The Duke of Edinburgh. Prince Philip was known to many within RDA, especially among our driving community, so I’m sure some groups will be planning to mark his passing in their own way.

With that in mind, the following has been issued by British Equestrian for those that wish to pay their respects:

Guidance for marking the funeral of HRH The Prince Philip

The Royal Ceremonial Funeral of His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh will be held on 17 April at 15.00 in St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, and British Equestrian is aware that a large number in the equestrian community will wish to pay their respects. With a busy weekend of competition ahead and many planning to enjoy  activities with their horses, we wanted to offer guidance on paying respects.

Many sporting fixtures, racing included, are making arrangements for a period of respect during the funeral service of The Duke of Edinburgh between 14.45 and 16.15 on Saturday. We leave it to the organiser’s discretion on whether to facilitate any such break in their own schedule. Organisers may also wish to consider allowing/requesting riders to wear black armbands on Saturday.

However, we would request that all events/venues make provision in their timetable to observe the national one minute silence at 15.00 with a halt in any activity, ensuring enough time for action to stop sufficiently to allow a full minute of reflection and respect.

Should venues wish to pay their respects by half-masting flags, please follow the guidance issued by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

The Cabinet Office has also issued guidance on the Period of National Mourning.

Reminder to groups

For the avoidance of confusion, I will be reminding groups tomorrow to refer to MyRDA for the latest local guidance about returning to RDA activities. We will now only be issuing specific guidance in these weekly emails if there is a tightening of restrictions or a significant change that needs addressing.

Some volunteers may also need reminding about the difference between the main rda.org.uk site (our public-facing website) and MyRDA (for volunteer support), so I will mention this too.

30-minute webinar

This week: 15 April, 7pm, (just for groups and RDA UK volunteers in Scotland): The Community & Third Sector Recovery Programme.

Register at https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_WPKb5jr3RN-d50Cs8RiHmA

Next week: 22 April, Physiotherapy advice

Advice on restarting participants. Register at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_kjcf1rn5Q1CtB_gyKGNkUQ

Horses for Health Relay to benefit RDA

We are one of seven equine charities benefiting from a fundraising event this summer called ‘The Great Horses for Health Relay’. The event is already gaining huge interest and registrations among the equine community. I know some RDA people are already planning to take part, and it might be a fun thing for some groups to do with their participants too.

The organisers have divided the UK into 11 regions over 5 months with participants given two weeks to choose their own route in their local area, which is then recorded on the relay map.  The relay ‘baton’ will be passed onto the next participating region at a pre-arranged Covid-safe event. The relay starts in Yorkshire 2 May and is set to end in Cornwall around 2 October.

Find out more here: www.horses4health.co.uk/ or on their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/groups/1399636837047873

Sport England and #ClubMatters say thank you to volunteers

Sport England and #ClubMatters have joined forces to produce a short video presented by Baroness Tani Grey-Thompson acknowledging the vital role of volunteers throughout the pandemic. Lots of lovely messages and I spy RDA in there too! www.facebook.com/sportengland/videos/470423321068790

Equine Flu Awareness Week

This week is ‘Keeping Britain’s Horses Healthy Equine Flu Awareness Week’. We are taking this opportunity to say thank you to our partners MSD, Zoetis and Boehringer Ingelheim, who have supported our groups with free vaccinations for many years. This vaccine programme has enabled us to have 100% vaccine acceptance rate for horses competing at our National Championships during the Equine Flu outbreak in 2019. It also allows our groups to be able to operate out of some of the larger equestrian centres where either annual or six monthly vaccination is required.

You can find out more about Equine Flu Awareness Week on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/KeepingHorsesHealthy

Best wishes and stay safe,


Caroline Ward
Head of Communication & Insight, RDA UK
01926 405968

14 April 2021Horse Scotland Update

COVID Guidance Update - 14th April 2021

The First Minister yesterday provided an unexpected update on COVID-19 and related restrictions. The key elements of the announcement for sport are as follows:

Friday 16 April

✳Travel: From Friday, some travel restrictions will be relaxed to allow travel across Scotland for the purposes of meeting outdoors with friends and family. This will allow travel for informal physical activity, but not for organised sport. Travel restrictions for wider purposes - including organised sport, leisure, shopping, visiting hospitality premises or staying in tourist accommodation - will remain until 26 April, as originally planned, when all travel restrictions within Scotland will be lifted. 

✳Outdoor gatherings: Up to 6 adults from 6 households can meet outside. The exemption for groups of up to 15 adults and over 18's taking part in organised outdoor sport within their own Local Authority area remains.

The accelerated easing of travel restrictions on Friday 16 April is aimed at improving the mental health of the nation by encouraging more people to see small groups of family and friends in an informal outdoor setting. 

Travel for organised sport will still be able to resume as originally planned on Monday 26 April. Please note this applies to all sports, not just equestrian activity. 

We will provide an update in relation to changes that come into effect on April 26 when we have final details

Grant Turnbull
horsescotland Chair

07 April 2021 National Office Update

Dear RDA UK volunteers and staff,

I hope you all had a good Easter. In Warwickshire, we had all possible weathers, but not even the snow could lessen the joy of spending a bit of time with friends. Here we are back at our usual day of Wednesday, with a delightfully short email to get you back into the swing of things.


30-minute webinar

This week: 8 April, 7pm, COVID-19 the medical perspective

Dr Megan Hardman, Chair of the Medical Equestrian Association, discusses a range of topics including Vaccines and Lateral Flow Testing and what they mean for RDA.

Register at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_NrPpA5-YShacUqgu2lISWw


Next week’s webinar (15 April) is just for groups and RDA UK volunteers in Scotland: The Community & Third Sector Recovery Programme.Register at http://www.myrda.org.uk/runningyourgroup/new-participants/new-participants/https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_WPKb5jr3RN-d50Cs8RiHmA


New participant form updated

The new participant form has been updated, and can be found here:


The main elements that have been updated are:

It is now called ‘Participant’ application form, rather than ‘rider, vaulter and driver’ to encompass those joining RDA who are taking part in other non-ridden/driven activities

Personal information and preferences – using more inclusive language

Additional information on conditions/disabilities – the questions are clearer and use more positive language


Best wishes and stay safe,


Caroline Ward
Head of Communication & Insight, RDA UK
01926 405968



26 March 2021National Office Update

Dear RDA UK volunteers and staff,

Next week brings our Road to Restart programme to a close with the theme of ‘Funding’ (details below). Can I just say a huge thank you for everything you have done to spread the word and encourage your groups during this time.

As it’s Good Friday next week, you’re going to have a break from me, and my next email will be Wednesday 7 April (I’m reverting to emailing you on Wednesdays as it seems to work better for getting news out in a timely fashion). As ever, if anything urgent comes up in the meantime I will be in touch.


Useful information at MyRDA.org.uk

Our final theme is ‘Funding’, ensuring group trustees have sufficient confidence in their fundraising capability in order to reopen. The Group Fundraising Support pages of MyRDA contain templates, top tips, ‘how to’ guides and more to help groups open up new funding streams and make the most of existing supporters. www.myrda.org.uk/runningyourgroup/group-fundraising-events/


30-minute webinar: Thursday 1 April 7pm, Inspirational Fundraising: some case studies

As we all know, raising money is fundamental to everything we do at RDA and for next week’s webinar we will meet some of RDA’s inspirational fundraisers who have encouraged individuals, communities, organisations and others to donate. Please join us if you can. 

Register in advance at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_27p3ZusnR_K9pUg3VR281w  

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with the joining instructions.


After the Road to Restart

While our 5 week restart programme may be coming to an end, we know the work continues. All the resources created and compiled for this project will continue to be available for groups as and when they need them. MyRDA will be kept up to date in line with UK and devolved government changes.

Thursday 30-minute webinars will continue, and we will always record them. They are generally available to view on the MyRDA YouTube Channel by the end of the following day. www.youtube.com/channel/UCrI8v8J0WoEXNCu25ktkm0Q . If you have any suggestions for topics you would like us to cover in the coming weeks and months, please let me know.


Other news in brief

·         Showjumping Coach Training: 31 March, 4-5:30pm. Mike Butcher will be delivering training for coaches who would like to know how to train up to levels 3 and 4. Please register at

·         https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAqf-uhqTwvE91_IHeSr8phmlOnJ8FJPgr3

·         A reminder that the Annual Health Check and Pre-Purchase Examination Policy for equines have come into effect from 1 January 2021. More at: www.myrda.org.uk/runningyourgroup/policies/

·         Following the recent outbreak of EHV, British Equestrian have produced an Equine Health Status Declaration Form, which must be completed for any horse attending a show, training or activity run under the affiliation and rules of any British Equestrian member body (of which RDA is one) between 29 March and 12 April 2021. Details and form at: www.myrda.org.uk/runningyourgroup/horses-and-rda/

·         There is a new Facebook group called RDA Equine. It is a closed group for ‘horse wanted’ or ‘for sale’ adverts only.

·         All groups who own and loan their own RDA equines will have received an email with a link to an online survey called Project Equine. The survey is designed to help us understand the issues groups face in finding suitable equines. If you need the link email ebayliss@rda.org.uk.

·         15% off ticket offer for Horsefest by joining HorseTribe. Details at https://horsefest.org/register/free/


Have a good weekend and a Happy Easter,


Caroline Ward
Head of Communication & Insight, RDA UK
01926 405968


20 March 2021National Office Update

Dear RDA UK volunteers and staff,

Great webinar last night all about horses and restarting RDA activities (including RDA UK resources, Carriage Driving horses and communication with riding schools). Thanks to everyone involved. You can catch up at www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1VCALVsvV0

Next week’s theme is all about Participants & Partners, making sure our riders and drivers feel confident about returning to RDA activities, and helping to prepare partner organisations (such as schools) for bringing clients back when the time is right.

Regional Physios – thanks to all of you for everything you are doing to support groups with their concerns about rider fitness.

 Useful information at MyRDA.org.uk

The participant assessment tool, example rider induction briefing, participant consent form and (with thanks to Tara Munro of Gordon RDA), a certificate for riders can all be found under ‘Volunteers & Participants’ at www.myrda.org.uk/runningyourgroup/getting-started-after-lockdown/are-you-ready-to-restart/

Here you will also find guidance on working with schools and information for schools about RDA activities.

 Helpful films on our MyRDA YouTube Channel

There is a range of videos and presentations relevant to this week on our YouTube Channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrI8v8J0WoEXNCu25ktkm0Q

These include:

Rider Interview (will be added Monday) - An interview with Jean Reid, Participant Rep at Grampian Highland, about her experiences and insight having returned to riding with Moray RDA in the Autumn. This also includes the video Moray created to help familiarise riders with the ‘new normal’.

Communication with riders – Lynne Munro’s section in the ‘Road to Restart: Coaching’ webinar of last week contains great information about the rider application form, COVID consent form and completing a rider assessment (about 6:40 minutes in)

30-minute webinar: Thursday 25 March 7pm, Working with schools

Sandra O’Connell of Ashmount School in Leicestershire will give advice and guidance to groups about encouraging schools to bring pupils back to RDA activities.

Register at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_spe8KqFORByjI4g78rDkcQ


Other news in brief

Endurance - The RDA Endurance League will restart on 1 April. This will run for twelve months to give more groups the chance to log some miles. Participants can also use a mechanical horse (though they still need to take a real horse’s heart rate!). Carriage Driving groups can add Endurance to their activities. Application form and more info at https://www.myrda.org.uk/runningyourgroup/endurance/  


Have a good weekend,


Caroline Ward
Head of Communication & Insight, RDA UK
01926 405968

19 March 2021Ettrickbridge & Dryden RDA Group Balloon Race

View All Stories

site map | cookie policy | privacy policy | accessibility statement