16 September 2021National Office Update

Dear RDA UK volunteers and staff,

I am delighted to say I have a new team member! Brigitta Falcini is taking over from Beth, who left the Comms Team to become Centre Manager for the National Training Centre just before lockdown last year. Brigitta joins us full time having completed her Masters degree in Anthropology and run the comms and social media for a business in her home town of Oxford.

From next week, these emails will come from Brigitta, so she will soon be a familiar part of the staff team here. I’d like to take this opportunity to say how much I have enjoyed being in touch with you through these emails over the past 18 months - and do please keep in contact!

I am sure you will make Brigitta very welcome. If you want to get in touch she can be reached at bfalcini@rda.org.uk.


New RDA handbook and Christmas Card brochure

These will be winging their way to you and groups in the next week or so.


Fundraising Workshops

RDA UK’s Fundraising Team will be delivering the next set of online training sessions over the next few weeks. Each workshop has 15 spaces (one per group please), allocated on a first come first served basis.

An Introduction to fundraising - 30 September 6.30pm – 8.30pm

If you are new to fundraising and want to develop your understanding and knowledge of fundraising this is the workshop for you.  We will cover topics including:

Useful tools and resources to find funding opportunities.

A practical introduction covering basic principles and best practices. 

Understanding how to manage your relationships and why your relationship(s) with your donors and supporters is critical to your success.

Registering your interest with Cat Yapp by 23 September cyapp@rda.org.uk  

Introduction to Grant Making - 20 October 6.30pm – 8.30pm

Whether you are new to grant fundraising, looking to build on your fundraising experience, or you are supporting others to make grant funding applications, this programme will help you build your knowledge and skills to do so.  This workshop is aimed at attendees at various levels of experience. We will cover topics including:

How to find funding opportunities and how to decide which funds are right for you.

Investigate reasons applications are rejected, and top tips for increasing your success rates.

Understand how applications are assessed and start to look at your applications from the perspective of the funder.

Register your interest with Randip Thompson by 13 October rthompson@rda.org.uk

Introduction to Corporate Fundraising - 16 November 6:30pm – 8.30pm

A practical learning session designed to benefit people who are completely new to fundraising. The workshop provides insight into corporate fundraising and increasing your knowledge in this area. Led by highly experienced corporate fundraisers, the session will introduce a practical approach and cover a wide range of topics including:

The different fundraising methods corporates could use to support your organisation.

Gaining an understanding of what corporates expect in return for their support.

Register your interest with Clare Pryme by 9 November cpryme@rda.org.uk


National Office vacancy – Grant Giving & Individual Giving Officer

RDA UK is seeking a Grant Giving and Individual Giving Officer to work alongside the Director of Fundraising to secure funding from individuals and grant makers.  Role can be home, office or hybrid based. Details and application process here : Grant Giving & Individual Giving Officer | Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) | | CharityJob.co.uk

Application deadline: 7 October 2021.  


Opportunity to consult on new Human Equine Interaction Register

RDA is part of a group of organisations working towards a register to bring together all people involved in the field of human equine interaction to ensure high quality service provision and create a greater awareness of their work. You are invited to attend one of several briefing sessions being arranged to find out more, and to take part in a survey to add your point of view to the project. I’ve put all the information from Ed Bracher (who is Chair of the steering group) here, including the dates and registration details for the sessions (2 online, 1 in person at National Office): www.myrda.org.uk/human-equine-interaction-register-consultation/


Improvement to the National Office phone system

If you miss a call from the national office team it will now show that person’s direct number rather than the general switchboard – so it should be easier to see who rang and to them call back. We will also leave a voicemail (if you have that facility on your phone).


Best wishes,


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



08 September 2021National Office Update

Dear RDA UK volunteers and staff,

Kicking off with a sad one today as we announce the death of Lady Rosamund Gladstone, who devoted many years to RDA, firstly as a founder of Deeside RDA, then as County and Regional Chair for North Wales and latterly as Trustee of Clwyd Special Riding Centre, where she was Chair for over 20 years.

Thanks to Ann Lambert for the write up about Lady Rosamund’s dedicated association with RDA, which you will find here: www.myrda.org.uk/in-memory-of-lady-rosamund-gladstone/


RDA Virtual National Championships

Thanks to all those have entered the RDA Virtual National Championships, presented by Oliver Wight EAME LLP. The judges have been kept very busy and here in the office we are just adding up scoresheets and sorting out the results. 

The Virtual event will take place on 25 & 26 September and we will be showing the top six from each class in reverse order. You can find (and share!) all the details - including timetable - in the event programme here: www.rda.org.uk/rda-virtual-national-championships/ This is also available to view on MyRDA on the National Championships page.

We will notify all groups next week if their riders have been placed in the top six. Those riders who haven’t been placed in the top six will know their result.

Scoresheets and rosettes will be sent out to the groups after the virtual event on the 25 & 26 September.

Any queries or questions please don’t hesitate to contact Fiona Harris on fharris@rda.org.uk / 01926 405967

Championships merchandise

Please see here a message from our clothing and merchandise suppliers, Wainwright Screenprint:

“Wainwright Screenprint are suppliers of the 2021 RDA Virtual Championships merchandise.  You may have seen us at The National Championships at Hartpury as we have supplied the clothing since the Championships began and we have been official suppliers of RDA Group Clothing and supported RDA for over 40 years.  The team at Wainwrights offer our customers a personal service and we will be pleased to help you.  We are offering Polo-shirts in Mens, Womens and Childrens Styles and Hoodies too.  

You can purchase your Virtual Championships Polo -Shirts and Hoodies on our website by clicking the link www.wainwrightscreenprint.co.uk/man/259 or by requesting a price list/order form or by Telephone 01258 837364. You can personalise your garment with your name, your horse's name or your group name on the sleeve for an extra £4.00.  Orders requiring personalisation should be done by email or telephone.” 


World Alzheimer’s Month & Tea with a Pony workshop

September is World Alzheimer’s Month and The Alzheimer’s Society is asking for support in fighting the stigma around dementia. We are using this opportunity to encourage groups to take part in Tea with a Pony, offering support and a meaningful experience for those living with dementia (and their families).  There is also a Tea with a Pony Facebook page to share photos and experiences, and to help groups find out more about what’s involved www.facebook.com/rdateawithapony. Use the hashtag #WorldAlzheimersMonth to show your support.

Workshop 23 September

We are holding a Tea with a Pony online workshop on the 23 September for groups who are looking to get started.  Groups should email Lucy Wake onlwake@rda.org.uk to book a place and we hope to accommodate everyone who would like to attend.   


A message from Joint Helicopter Command – Help us to protect you

Please note this message refers to specific events only – not routine RDA activity.

The Joint Helicopter Command operate multiple military helicopter types. They often fly at very low levels above the ground, at speed, as part of operationally essential training and tasking.

Equine events that have been pre-notified to the Low Fly Tactical Plans Cell are captured on a NOTAM which is a distribution system to all military airspace users.  This mandates crews to avoid the area by an appropriate margin.

At all other times our crews operate a “see and avoid” policy. This means if they spot an event that has not been captured on a NOTAM they will do their very best to avoid it, by as much as they safely can, IF and WHEN they spot it.

In order to help them to protect us, event organisers are encouraged to provide the following details at least a week in advance to SWK-MAMCLFTP@mod.gov.uk

Date of event

Timings of Event

Exact location of event – including a grid reference

This will allow a NOTAM to be raised so that our crews know where to avoid which significantly reduces the likelihood of alarming a horse with our operations.


Calling all Physios and medical practitioners!

British Equestrian is running a National Para Equestrian Classifier Course for qualified physiotherapists or medical practitioners that wish to become a national level para equestrian classifier on 6 -7 November at the BEF office in Warwickshire (Equestrian House, Abbey Park, Stareton CV8 2RH).

The two-day course is designed to call on delegates’ medical knowledge to apply it to the equestrian classification process, in both a practical and theory-based manner. You will be given the opportunity to put your learning into practice; working with other physiotherapists and volunteer riders, taking part in four core activities that are carried out during the classification process.

The booking deadline for this course is 30 September 2021. Please contact Felicity Towers at British Equestrian for a flyer and booking formfelicity.towers@bef.co.uk.


Best wishes,


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

06 September 2021Horsescotland Update

➡️Covid 19 Guidance Update 03/09/2021

Some time has now passed since we have had our Equestrian Guidance reviewed by sportscotland, and to a large extent this shows the progression that has been made in mitigating transmission of the virus and the success of restrictions still in place.

However, it has been reiterated by Scottish Government that we all need to continue to play our own part in ensuring we do not return to greater restriction or further lockdowns - the impact of which could be economically huge, both within our equestrian community, and within wider society. 

Covid-19 will need to be managed for the foreseeable future and the importance of continuing to adhere to a number of baseline measures will significantly reduce the risk of reintroduction of greater restrictions.

As we approach autumn, we are reminded of mitigation measures that remain important:

❇️Hand hygiene: Regular washing of hands and the continued use of hand sanitiser should at all times be promoted.
❇️Face coverings: The requirement to wear face coverings in some indoor settings remains in place.
❇️Test & Protect: The Test and Protect system will remain in place to support contact tracing. Twice weekly self testing is recommended, even for those without symptoms.
❇️Local outbreak management: Scottish Government retains the option of implementing local measures and travel restrictions to manage local outbreaks.
❇️Events: The process for approving large-scale events will remain in place, with approval required from Local Authorities for events of over 5,000 people outdoors or over 2,000 people indoors.
❇️Guidance: Businesses will be offered guidance on areas such as ventilation and hygiene to reduce the risk of transmission. The public are still being advised to keep a safe distance, especially indoors, from people in other households and avoid crowded places to minimise risk.

Although many aspects of equestrian activity have resumed, we must all continue to play our part in ensuring that sporting activity leads by example and that collectively we promote and encourage the benefits of the above mitigation measures at every opportunity.

Please help us to ensure that the Scottish Equestrian Community plays its part.

Grant Turnbull
horsescotland Chair

#horsescotland #equestrianguidance #COVID19

06 September 2021National Office Update

Dear RDA UK volunteers and staff,

September already! I know. Let’s not even think about the nights drawing in.

I do hope you’ve been enjoying the Paralympics and the triumph of our Equestrian team. What a fantastic result – and to think that Lee, Natasha and Georgia all competed at our very own National Championships.


Anne Birkmyre memorial

The postponed Memorial service for Anne Birkmyre will now take place on Tuesday 28 September from 12.30pm at Great Witley Parish Church, Great Witley, Worcestershire.


Experienced Charity Manager Required – Cotswold RDA

Following the sad news that Claire Jenkins of Cotswold RDA is moving on to pastures new, the group is now looking for a General Manager. They say: “This is an exciting opportunity for someone with a passion for people, the drive to deliver our business plan, and the professional credibility to act as an ambassador in the local community.  We are looking for a leader with drive, commitment and boundless energy.”

More details here: www.cotswoldrda.org.uk/general-manager-vacancy/


RDA UK Volunteer Vacancy: Regional Fundraising, South West

The Regional Fundraising Volunteer is a voluntary position to increase voluntary income within the South West Region. This is an excellent opportunity to engage your fundraising skills, drive fundraising activity within the region and get involved with RDA UK.

This position will play a vital role in increasing voluntary income within the Region and in turn helping to raise awareness of RDA. We are looking for an experienced fundraiser, of managerial level, looking for the next step in their knowledge and career. You will have significant fundraising experience, bringing ideas, knowledge and enthusiasm to the role.

More details at: www.myrda.org.uk/regional-fundraising-volunteer-vacancy-south-west/ or email Catherine Stuart-Yapp cyapp@rda.org.uk


Flex-on Stirrups Group Giveaway

Clare Pryme, Partnership & Philanthropy Manager for RDAUK has secured a fantastic giveaway for groups from Shaw Equestrian. They have several pairs of Flex-on stirrups to giveaway due to a minor cosmetic blemish, which does not affect their performance but means they do not wish to sell them. 

How to apply

Email hkallow@rda.org.uk with the word ‘Flex’ in the subject, stating how many pairs you would like (up to four maximum), and the Group name.  Please make sure that these stirrups will be suitable for your riders (more information below). Closing date for entries is the 8 September.  After this date, if there are more requests than available stirrups, names will be drawn randomly.  These are for Group use only, and not to be sold on.

Flex-On Green Composite Stirrup – RRP £175 Flex-on Stirrups & Spurs | Shaws Equestrian

Designed from an organically sourced polyamide material, the Green Composite stirrup is designed on the same model as the Aluminium Flex-on stirrup. It can be cleaned with water and is therefore easier to maintain. Provides dramatically improved technical performance in terms of shock absorption and ergonomics.

The stirrups have an internal steel frame to reinforce the polymer part.


Best wishes,


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



25 August 2021National Office Update

Dear RDA UK volunteers and staff,

The Paralympics have started! Only a year later than planned and with a lot of upheaval on the way, our fabulous Equestrian Team GB are raring to go with their first event tomorrow. I thought I’d dedicate this email to giving you a bit of an update on who’s who and what to watch, when.

Please help us get behind the team, all of whom are fantastic ambassadors for RDA, equestrian and disability sport. This is always a great opportunity for us to shout about what we do – not just at competitive level, but throughout RDA - at every group around the UK.

First though….a great opportunity for groups buying horses…


Wooden Spoon Grant for help buying horses

Today we have launched a new grants programme to help groups to buy horses. The Wooden Spoon RDA Equine Acquisition Project will fund 20 Grants of up to £1000 to groups towards the purchase of a horse or pony. For full details and criteria, please visit www.myrda.org.uk/runningyourgroup/group-fundraising-events/the-wooden-spoon-rda-equine-acquisition-project/

Applications close at 5pm on Wednesday 15 September 2021.


The Paralympics Equestrian Team

·         Sir Lee Pearson (Grade II)
·         Georgia Wilson (Grade II, started at Clwyd RDA)
·         Natasha Baker (Grade III, started at South Bucks RDA)
·         Sophie Wells (Grade V, established Papplewick RDA)

And not forgetting….

·         Laurentia Tan (Grade I, rider at Diamond Centre RDA, competing for Singapore)


When to watch (UK timings)

Thursday 26

·         08:00 Individual Test – Grade II, featuring Lee Pearson and Georgia Wilson
·         12:30 Individual Test – Grade V, featuring Sophie Wells
·         Medal ceremony 15:00

Friday 27

·         08:00 Individual Test – Grade I, featuring Laurentia Tan
·         11:15 Individual Test – Grade III, featuring Natasha Baker
·         Medal ceremony 14:25

Saturday 28

·         09:00 Team Test to Music – Grade II, featuring Lee Pearson and Georgia Wilson
·         10:14 Team Test to Music – Grade I, featuring Laurentia Tan
·         12:00 Team Test to Music – Grade III, featuring Natasha Baker

Sunday 29

·         10:00 Team Test to Music – Grade V, featuring Sophie Wells
·         Medal ceremony 12:30

Monday 30

·         09:14 Individual Freestyle – Grade V, featuring Sophie Wells
·         10:30 Individual Freestyle – Grade III, featuring Natasha Baker
·         11:47 Individual Freestyle – Grade II, featuring Lee Pearson and Georgia Wilson
·         13:00 Individual Freestyle – Grade I, featuring Laurentia Tan
·         Medal ceremony 14:15


How to watch

Channel 4 is broadcasting the Paralympics across several channels including Channel 4 and More 4, with all sessions live on the Channel 4 website. Join our very own Ricky Balshaw – Paralympian, former rider at Brockton Court RDA and now Dressage pundit – as he lends his expertise and insight to the Paralympics Live broadcast team tomorrow, Friday and Monday mornings.

Useful links




On social

















Best wishes,


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

19 August 2021National Office Update

Dear RDA UK volunteers and staff,

Special thanks to Regional Participant Reps this week, who have been working with me and RDA UK Trustee Emma Wells as part of a longer-term project to improve participant engagement across the organisation. Your feedback has been invaluable – thank you.

Our Chair, Rachel Medill, is continuing her ‘Tour of Britain’, most recently with a visit to East Region. My sources (thank you Lindsay Nicholson!) report how impressed she is by our regional teams, saying: “I am blown away by the expertise and commitment of RDA’s County Chairs and Coaches,” as well as describing her own attempts at learning carriage driving as:  “a lot more difficult than it looks!”


‘500 Challenge’ for Virtual National Championships

To help support our first ever RDA Virtual National Championships (25 - 26 September), we have launched a new fundraising initiative: ‘The 500 Challenge’ – celebrating our groups and AM centres across the UK. 

Running throughout the rest of this month and September, supporters of The 500 Challenge can join in either through donations or becoming fundraisers and taking part in an event or activity of their choice involving the number 500 (or multiples).

Your support by sharing this with anyone you think might like to take part, or liking and sharing our social media posts over the next few weeks, is greatly appreciated.

Some ideas of how to get involved:

Cycle 500 miles throughout September

500 Skips a day for 30 days

Donate £5, £50 or £500

Raise £500 by shaving your head

50,000 steps in a week, 100 steps for each RDA Group

Running the equivalent of 5 Marathons

Bake a 500 themed Cake

For more information, to donate or to set up your fundraising page for The 500 Challenge, follow the link below. https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/The500Challenge


Reminder: Come Back Stronger – 24th August, 6pm

Join us for a ‘Creative conversation’ where we discuss the challenges and opportunities around coming back stronger from Covid.  Whether you have big plans for your group or just want to share ideas and learn from others about how to become more resilient, we want you to join us. We would love groups to feel even more confident in providing opportunities for participants to get back to what they love. Come ready to listen, talk, and share with others from across the RDA family. Suitable for Trustees and those with responsibility in a group e.g. Group organiser or Lead coach.

Register here:



Horse Care and Knowledge Virtual Championships

In the absence of our usual Horse Care and Knowledge at the Championships, this year we have taken it online. Suitable for participants of all ages, and with a certificate for successful completion, this is a great new way to take part. 

Follow the link at: https://www.rda-learning.org.uk/courses/rda-virtual-championships-horse-care-and-knowledge/  

Note: the e-learning platform does require users to sign in, so additional support may be helpful for some.

Any questions to Faye McKenningfmckenning@rda.org.uk


Best wishes,


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

10 August 2021Ed Bracher Running the London Marathon

Ed Bracher is running the London Marathon to raise funds for RDA. 
Please read his message below & sponsor him if you can. 

After what has been such a challenging year for all RDA Groups, your energy and support in driving RDA to survive, adapt and thrive has been crucial.   However, I know that we’re not out of the woods yet and I wanted to do something to personally support groups and highlight the continuing need for support.  So, in a moment of utter madness, I have agreed to run the London Marathon this October to raise money for the next round of our Grants to Groups programme.  Those of you who know me will know that I don’t have the usual physique of a marathon runner, so this will be (and is already proving to be) a significant challenge!
The Grants programme provides direct funding to ease group recovery from lockdown, to support them to reopen or stay open, respond to the easing of restrictions, adapt quickly to change and help more participants return to RDA.   More details on the Grant to Groups programme, including the application process, timelines and deadlines will be announced later this year.
For now, I am asking for your help and support by sponsoring me or helping get the word out, if you can. My ambition is to raise £25,000 and I am reaching out for your help to spread the word and to reach this target.  Any support will make a difference – even just £1 for every mile I will be running. Help me to spread the word, if you can, by getting your RDA Community to sponsor me by sharing the JustGiving link below via social media or email. Perhaps 26 of your supporters could donate £1 each? https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/EdsRDAMarathon
The work of RDA, all of the amazing volunteers and the difference you make to the lives of so many people is what inspires me day to day and what has led me to run the London Marathon (some may say a daring and bold decision on my part considering my love of cake!!). In partnership, we can raise the money the RDA community needs, and your support will help me complete the 26 miles in London in a few months’ time.
If you would like to discuss this, I am more than happy to have a chat, or please do give Catherine Stuart-Yapp a call or email, who is working with me to raise the funds we need to support the Grants to Group programme. cyapp@rda.org.uk 01926 405 979
Thank you for taking the time to read this email and in advance for any support you can provide.
With best wishes
Ed Bracher
Chief Executive
Riding for the Disabled Association
Follow me on Twitter - @edrda

07 August 2021Horsescotland Update

 Covid 19 Guidance Update 09/08/2021

On Tuesday 3 August the First Minister provided an update to the Scottish Parliament on pandemic-related restrictions. It was confirmed that the whole of Scotland will move beyond level 0 from Monday 9 August, although the First Minister stressed this did not mean a return to life exactly as it was pre-pandemic with a number of mitigating measures remaining. It's another step forward for the Equestrian community.
The key points to note from statement were:
🔷Legal restrictions: Most legal restrictions will be lifted. This includes legal restrictions on physical distancing and the size of social gatherings. No businesses will legally have to remain closed.
🔷Mitigations: A number of mitigating measures will remain in place. These include:
▫️Face coverings: The current legal requirements to wear face coverings in some indoor settings will remain in place for some time to come.

▫️Test & Protect: The Test and Protect system will remain in place to support contact tracing.

▫️Local outbreak management: Scottish Government will retain the option of putting in place local measures and travel restrictions to manage local outbreaks.

▫️Events: The process for approving large-scale events will remain in place, with approval required from local authorities for events of over 5,000 people outdoors or over 2,000 people indoors.

▫️Guidance: Businesses will be offered guidance on areas such as ventilation and hygiene to reduce the risk of transmission. The public are still being advised to keep a safe distance, especially indoors, from people in other households and avoid crowded places to minimise risk.

To view the full guidance document please click on the link here: www.horsescotland.org/covid-19support

Grant Turnbull
horsescotland Chair

#horsescotland #equestrianguidance #covid19

22 July 2021National Office Update

Dear RDA UK volunteers and staff,

I do hope you are keeping cool in this gorgeous weather.

With the hot weather in mind, Matt Dalley spotted this useful reminder from British Horse Society about equine care (thanks Matt): www.facebook.com/TheBritishHorseSociety

Vacancy: Regional Chair West Mercia

We are looking to fill this vital role in the West Mercia Region. If you or anyone you know might be interested please take a look at the role description here: www.myrda.org.uk/assets/RDA-UK-Regional-Chair-Vacancy-Advert-West-Mercia.pdf

Any enquiries to Faye McKenning fmckenning@rda.org.uk / 01926 405966

‘Horses Wanted’ posters and adverts

We have created wanted posters and adverts to help groups in their mission to find suitable equines. The adverts are available in A4 and A5, these can go into any regional publications, show programmes etc. The posters can be printed out and displayed at events. You can download the poster and flyer here: https://grouporders.rda.org.uk/product/rda-horsepower-wanted-poster/ Or contact ebayliss@rda.org.uk  for the advert.

Free tack and clothing!

Avon Centre has some surplus tack including saddles and some clothing which has been donated but they are not using. They are offering it to groups for free to collect or if groups can cover the cost of delivery. For details of what’s available please contact Avon Centre Manager Claire Schimmer centremanager@avonridingcentre.org.uk

Reminder: RDA Awards

The 2021 RDA Awards are now open for you to nominate volunteers and participants for all their hard work and efforts over the last 12 months. The nominations will close on Monday 9 August.  Follow the link to submit your nomination. www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/2021RDAAwards   

For help and support, please contact Faye McKenning, fmckenning@rda.org.uk / 01926 405966



In tomorrow’s email to groups I’ll be doing a little promotion about Endurance, including the ‘take part’ event for this year’s Virtual National Championships. This is open to all registered endurance groups and we look forward to it becoming a significant competition in the years to come. Registration form and more info at www.myrda.org.uk/runningyourgroup/endurance/


National Para Equestrian Classification Hub – 11 September Sandy Flats, Glasgow, G23 5NA

Athletes who would like to be Classified for National Para Equestrian sports have to go through the application process first to find out if they are eligible to have an Athlete Evaluation (physical assessment) appointment at the hub. Further information on National PE Classification can be found here: www.britishequestrian.org.uk/competitors/para-equestrian/classification  including the National PE Classification rules, application process and forms.


Best wishes and I’ll be back the week after next,


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

14 July 2021National Office Update

Dear RDA UK volunteers and staff,

I do hope that next Monday brings those of you in England a much needed sense of progress and a degree of freedom – and for others a signal that the easing of restrictions is on its way, if not immediately then soon.


COVID-19 Update

From 19 July, legal COVID-19 restrictions are being removed in England. We have considered what this means both for restarted groups and those looking to get going in the next few weeks and months. Our Director of Operations, Anna Hall, has recorded a webinar looking at how the changes will affect groups, available at: https://youtu.be/acRv03KNkLY . We will also be updating the Road to Restart page on www.myrda.org.uk in time for 19 July.   


Grand Day Out

We are delighted to have received many applications for up to £100 support for Grand Days Out and we will be contacting groups shortly to let them know which have been successful. There are some great ideas in these applications, including a shared picnic lunch with participants and their families, a visit to an ice cream parlour, outdoor games, treasure hunt as well as a group having miniature Shetlands come to visit and even a trip on a horse drawn canal boat!  We are now pleased that we are able to open this opportunity to more groups on a first come, first served basis. They can apply at www.myrda.org.uk/runningyourgroup/holidays . All Grand Days Out must be taken by 26 September 2021. 


New Safeguarding leaflet available on Group Orders

‘An Introduction to Safeguarding in RDA’ is a new leaflet designed to replace the old ‘Quick Guide to Safeguarding’. It is an overview of what safeguarding means in RDA, with some useful hints and guidance to help volunteers understand this difficult subject.

It is primarily aimed at new volunteers to RDA, and will eventually form part of their Green Card training. That said, the information is relevant to all and can be used as a reference guide for those already in RDA. It’s really important that everyone understands the significance of safeguarding and the role they play in that process.

The leaflet is available to order through the Group Orders website at https://grouporders.rda.org.uk/product/an-introduction-to-safeguarding-in-rda and will be sent out with accompanying guidance notes. There may initially be a maximum order limit per group until we can assess demand.

Any questions email Laura Cartwright lcartwright@rda.org.uk


Opportunities for ID riders

RDA has been working with UK Sports Association for People with Learning Disabilities and Virtus World Intellectual Impairment Sport, to allow competitors who are placed in the top three in our ID classes at Regional Qualifiers the chance to be classified with UKSA and compete in the Virtus Virtual Global Dressage Championships. Regional Organisers and Dressage Reps have been made aware of competitors who have been selected to be considered for classification. For more information contact ebayliss@rda.org.uk or visit Call for GB Entries to 2021 Virtus Para Dressage Championships – UK Sports Association


Reminder: 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 groups who employ staff can use, 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.

6 groups have already taken up the offer. One group said: “We used them for advice regarding a pregnant worker to ensure we are doing everything correctly and they were prompt and helpful.”

More details here: https://equestrianemployers.org.uk/homeRDA

Best wishes,


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

11 July 2021Regional Qualifier Results

Many, many congratulations to everyone who took part in this year's Virtual RQ.  It was a bit of a learning curve to get to grips with the technology, but it worked and we had a cracking competition.

One of the Judges commented "a smashing bunch lots to like".  Dressage entries held up, though there were fewer Arts & Crafts entries.  This is common across all Regions.  I am delighted to say that two groups competed for the first time - Muirfield and Upper Nithsdale, joined Ravelrig, Tweeddale Rideability, Border and Berwickshire Groups.




Class 2 - Unled Walk 

1st - William, Border - 71.2% Winner of Horses Head for highest scoring Junior competitor in a non-qualifier test

2nd - Kelsey, Border - 66.5%


Class 4 - Unled Walk & Trot Junior

1st - Amy, Muirfield - 69.4%


Class 4 - Unled Walk & Trot Senior

1st - Rebecca, Muirfiled - 71.9% Winner of Val Brown Trophy for highest scoring competitor in a non-qualifier test

2nd - David, Muirfield - 70.0%



Class 6 - PVI Walk Only

1st - Helen, Tweeddale - 63.9% (Q)


Class 9 - Grade 1

1st - Margaret, Border - 69% (Q)


Class 10 - 1-6 (Walk & Trot)

1st - Pamela, Ravelrig - 63.6% (Q)


Class 11 - 1-6 (Canter)

1st - Jane, Border - 76.2% (Q) Winner of Mark Headen Trophy for highest scoring competitor in a qualifier test


Class 12 - Introduction to Dressage (Lead Walk & Trot) Junior

1st Nathan, Tweeddale - 65.7% (Q) Winner of Horse Trophy for highest scoring Junior competitor in a qualifier test

Equal 2nd Iona, Tweeddale - 63.5%

Equal 2nd  Ellie, Tweeddale - 63.5%


CLASS 12 - Introduction to Dressage(Lead Walk & Trot) Senior

1st  Naimh, Tweeddale - 68.5% (Q)


CLASS 13 - (1-6 Walk Only) Junior

1st   PJ, Upper Nithsdale - 60.8% (Q)   


CLASS 13 (1-6 Walk Only) Senior

1st  Barbara, Berwickshire -  65% (Q)

2nd Sheena, Berwickshire - 64.7%

3rd Rachel, Ravelrig - 63.2%

4th Caroline, Berwickshire - 60.6%


CLASS 16 Introduction to Dressage(Led Walk Only) Junior

1st Emily, Berwickshire - 61.4% (Q)

2nd Joe, Tweeddale - 55.7%


CLASS 16 Introduction to Dressage (Led Walk Only) Senior

1st Hannah, Tweeddale - 65.7% (Q)

2nd Jacob, Berwickshire - 65.2%

3rd Alice, Berwickshire - 63.3%


CLASS 33 - Grade 2

1st Pamela, Ravelrig - 67.4% (Q)




Class 23 (NC 45) Paintings & Drawings Individual or Group - JUNIOR               








Class 23 (NC 45) Paintings & Drawings Individual or Group - SENIOR




Class 29 (NC 50) Photography Individual - JUNIOR





Class 29 (NC 50) Photography Individual - SENIOR



Class 30 (NC 51) Special Class – A picture for The RDA National Training Centre Individual or Group (maximum 10 people) - JUNIOR



Class 30 (NC 51) Special Class – A picture for The RDA National Training Centre Individual or Group (maximum 10 people) - SENIOR



As you can see from the results we have had lots of successful entries with many scoring above the threshold (60.0% Dressage, 65% Arts & Crafts) to Qualify (Q) for the virtual National Championships in September.

Entries open on the Monday 12th of July and close on Friday 27th August.  Over the next few days packs will be sent to each group containing rosettes and National Championship packs for groups and competitors. 

More details are also available on MyRDA under National Championships.  Kim plans to deliver trophies to groups rather than post them and will be in touch with more detail. 

Finally, a huge thank you to our judges - Sarah, Irene and Shona for taking the time to support us, and to the volunteers and supporters who worked hard to prepare the competitors, horses and ponies for a fantastic competition.  Well done everyone!!

07 July 2021National Office Update

Dear RDA UK volunteers and staff,

As we get into the summer months and staff go off on holiday (COVID permitting!), I know it can potentially get harder to reach the people you need in the office. The ‘Meet the Team’ page on MyRDA www.myrda.org.uk/about-rda/meet-the-team/ has the direct numbers of everyone, as well as their areas of responsibility and normal working days. It’s worth taking a look and seeing who works in which teams as this may help you find the right person to talk to, particularly if your first choice is away. You can also dial the mainline number and select the team you want to reach (01926 492915) or email info@rda.org.uk which is picked up each day and forwarded on to the right person.

In other service disruption news, due to a local issue in the postal service, post may be slow coming in and out of National Office at the moment. Apologies if this causes you any problems.


COVID-19 Update

Recent announcements by Boris Johnson for England and anticipated announcements from the other home countries are likely to remove legal requirements around COVID over the next few weeks.  We will be bringing together our Road to Restart Working Group to consider the latest information and what this means for RDA Groups and sessions. This will be shared through this newsletter and via www.myrda.org.uk website as soon as we are able to do so.  As groups not yet started will have been closed for at least 15 months, there will be things that need to be planned and prepared to ensure groups are safe getting started again and so there will continue to be a requirement to be signed off by National Office to restart, even after legal controls have been removed. 


Road to restart


We are pleased to say that we now have vaulting protocols that allow not only individual vaulting (which has been possible for some time), but also pairs and teams.  This is available on both the Vaulting page and Road to Restart page on myrda.org.uk and directly here: www.myrda.org.uk/assets/210705_Restarting-Vaulting-Protocols.pdf  

Carriage Driving in Wales

Carriage driving can now take place in Wales. This means that all of our activities can now take place in all areas where RDA operates.


Reminder: ‘Grand Day Out’

Do please chivvy your groups to take advantage of this offer, which closes on Monday.

Full details here: www.myrda.org.uk/runningyourgroup/holidays/


RDA Awards

The 2021 RDA Awards are now open for you to nominate volunteers and participants for all their hard work and efforts over the last 12 months. Follow the link to submit your nomination. www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/2021RDAAwards

 For help and support, please contact Faye McKenning, fmckenning@rda.org.uk / 01926 405966


Club Matters Volunteer recruitment film

Here’s a useful film we have received from Club Matters containing tips and advice on volunteer recruitment. Worth a look – Mostly relevant to groups but it is particularly good on how to avoid individuals ending up with too many jobs to do (sound familiar?!)



RDA Virtual National Championships 2021

Entries open for the Virtual National Championships on Monday 12 July. All entries are to be made through Horse Monkey.  https://horsemonkey.com/search_events  

There is plenty of guidance around how to video your entry, entering through Horse Monkey and setting up a YouTube account. All of these can be found on MyRDA under National Championships. www.myrda.org.uk/runningyourgroup/national-championships/   

If you have any queries then please do not hesitate to contact Fiona Harris on fharris@rda.org.uk or Emma Bayliss at ebayliss@rda.org.uk .


BETA and HorseScotland surveys

The latest BETA survey is now live, collecting data about important areas of equestrian life including volunteering, concussion incidence, safety stirrups, riding and spending. This is an opportunity for everyone engaged in equestrian activity to share their experiences and views about a wide range of topics.  There is also the chance to win shopping vouchers for those who complete the survey. Please take part if you can at: https://wh1.snapsurveys.com/s.asp?k=162504340567

HorseScotland survey

Calling all RDA people in Scotland! The HorseScotland participation survey is now live. Please follow the links and take part if you can:

18 and over: https://forms.gle/iBWBjXntfJpdZJov5

Under 18: https://forms.gle/9uNmPZhuaUHZbfBM6


Best wishes,


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

07 July 2021RDA 2021 Awards

Recognising Volunteers
The extraordinary commitment of RDA Volunteers should be recognised and rewarded whenever possible.
You may have your own ways to reward the people who help your Group, but you might also like to have your volunteers recognised by RDA UK too.
The Volunteer of the Year Award, President’s Award, Over & Above Award and Long Service Awards are all a great way to say ‘thank you’.

RDA 2021 Awards
Nominations for the RDA 2021 Awards are now open, and close on the 9th August 2021. RDA Awards 2021 Categories and Criteria
Follow the link to nominate someone you know 
Download the nomination form here

Over & Above Award
The Over and Above Award is designed to recognize volunteers who have gone beyond the call of duty and given something exceptional to the group.  This might be a brilliant idea, putting in extra hours at a difficult time or doing something really special.  This award is not limited by length of service.
Nominate Someone For an Over and Above Award

2021 RDA Awards Criteria

Young  Volunteer of the Year
• Are aged 18 or below.
• Have gone above and beyond for their Group or RDA as a wider organization in the past 12 months.
• Have had an impact on beneficiaries and/or wider RDA participants.
• Have done something which supports RDA’s vision.
• Have adapted to the changing way in which Championships are run.
Volunteer of the Year
• Are over the age of 18.
• Have gone above and beyond for their Group or RDA as a wider organization in the past 12 months.
• Have had an impact on beneficiaries and/or wider RDA participants.
• Have done something which supports RDA’s vision.
• Have adapted to the changing way in which Championships are run.
Participant of the Year
• Have achieved something great this year.
• Have shown great attitude and motivation.
• Have gone above and beyond for their Group or RDA as a wider organization this year.
• Have done something which supports RDA’s vision.
• Have adapted to the changing way in which Championships are run.
RDAUK Volunteer of the Year
• A volunteer for RDAUK (National, Regional and County roles)
• Have gone above and beyond RDA as a wider organization in the past 12 months.
• Have had an impact on beneficiaries.
• Have done something which supports RDA’s vision.
• Have adapted to the changing way in which Championships are run.
Horse/pony of the Year
• They have adapted to new activities.
• Their interactions with participants
• The way they have handled PPE.

30 June 2021National Office Update

Dear RDA UK volunteers and staff,

It was great to see footage from our new Chair, Rachel Medill, at Bank Farm RDA for her first group visit - the first of many I know she has planned over the coming weeks and months. Watching riders and volunteers in action was a welcome reminder of the joy of RDA sessions and I know we’re all looking forward to getting out and about more over the summer.


Group surveys

Yesterday I sent out surveys to both restarted and closed groups. The restarted groups survey is a repeat of the activity levels research that we have collected over the past few months (and will continue to do). It is useful for the insurers, and to help with our own understanding of participant numbers as restrictions continue to ease off. The survey for closed groups is to find out which groups have plans to reopen by the end of September and which don’t. Again this will help us with our planning and expectations for the coming months, and to identify struggling groups. Both surveys close on 11 July.

Road to restart – Vaulting

The Road to Restart working group is currently looking into vaulting practices to allow pairs and teams to resume activity. We hope to update the relevant groups next week.


Reminder: ‘Grand Day Out’

We have launched a summer initiative, supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, called RDA’s ‘Grand Day Out’. Through the initiative, we will contribute up to £100 to around 50 Groups to take their participants and volunteers on a Day Out (with or without horses!). This project may be particularly beneficial for those groups who have not yet been able to get together since lockdown.  

Deadline to apply is 12 July. Full details here: www.myrda.org.uk/runningyourgroup/holidays/


Groups in England: Tackling Inequalities Fund

British Equestrian has been granted £150,000 of funding from Sport England to support riding centres that are facing financial hardship as a result of the ongoing pandemic.

The fund is specifically targeted at riding centres and groups delivering activity to those groups most affected by Covid-19. The focus audiences are:

•                     People on low incomes
•                     Diverse ethnic communities
•                     Disabled people
•                     People with long term health problems

Details, and a link to the full guidance on eligibility and how to apply can be found at www.britishequestrian.org.uk/news/tackling-inequalities-fund-returns-to-help-further-centres-affected

New Carriage Driving weight guidance

The Carriage Driving weight guidance has been updated and can be downloaded here under the category ‘Download Options’: https://grouporders.rda.org.uk/ .


You Tube reminder

Just because we are stopping the webinars for the summer doesn’t mean missing out on RDA information and inspiration. There are around 40 webinars, presentations and ‘how to’ videos on our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/channel/UCrI8v8J0WoEXNCu25ktkm0Q  . There are playlists to make it easier to find content that interests you, and a broad range of topics to get your teeth into.

Recent highlights include the Legal Matters webinar of last week, and Judy Olby’s presentation all about RDA Holidays and our Grand Day Out initiative.


Best wishes,


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

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