28 October 2020National Office Update

National Office Update 

Dear RDA UK staff and volunteers,

I know. Another week has gone by. I can barely believe it myself.


Watch the RDA AGM & Awards live on You Tube

The RDA AGM & Awards will be broadcast live on YouTube from 10:30 on Friday 6 November. Simply head to our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/rdanational . I will be in charge of IT and ‘button pressing’ so hopefully there will be no technical hitches. You might want to tune in just to see if it works ok! Those attending and taking part in the meeting on Zoom (including all Regional Chairs) will be sent the link and instructions separately.


Report into activity levels

The report following the survey into current activity levels is now complete and can be downloaded or viewed at www.myrda.org.uk/assets/RDA-Activity-Levels-Report.pdf. By the end of this week I will be issuing a press release about the report and it will be on the main RDA website in our news section. The report makes several recommendations about how we, as RDA UK volunteers and staff, might respond to the challenge of helping groups increase activity levels, and we will be following up with our plans to do this in the coming weeks.


Vacancy: Great London Regional Chair

Mike Locke has done a fantastic job as Regional Chair for Greater London (thank you Mike), and he is now stepping down. We are looking within our RDA community for his replacement, so please do get in touch with Faye McKenning in the office (fmckenning@rda.org.uk) if you would like to find out more about the role – or any other RDA UK volunteer positions currently vacant.


Clare Balding’s new book – an opportunity for groups and regions

Clare Balding’s new book, Heroic Animals, is now out, and she is keen to support RDA groups through the book if possible. We have come up with a plan which I will be sharing with groups tomorrow – but if regions want to get involved as well please let me know.

The idea is that groups buy the books they want (currently on Amazon for £13.60 and in Sainsbury’s for £10 – rrp £20), then they can request a bookplate, signed by Clare to add to the book. The signed books can then be used for fundraising, raffles etc (depending on how popular this is, we should be able to arrange personal dedications).

At the moment, I’m just asking for an initial show of interest from groups so I can work out how to coordinate it. If regions want to get involved too, a single point of contact to coordinate would be helpful.


Best wishes,


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

07 October 2020Update From Horse Scotland

🚨 Updated Equestrian Phase Guidance 7th October 🚨 

Dear All,

On 7th October 2020 the First Minister made a statement to Scottish Parliament to set-out a tightening of coronavirus-related restrictions, especially in five NHS areas in response to an increase in the rate of spread of the virus.

The key points announced today were:

The primary measures impacting on sport are regional in their reach, covering the following NHS Health Boards and local authorities; NHS Ayrshire & Arran (North, South and East Ayrshire local authority areas), NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde (Glasgow, East and West Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire, and Inverclyde local authority areas), NHS Lanarkshire (North and South Lanarkshire local authority areas), NHS Forth Valley (Clackmannanshire, Stirling and Falkirk local authority areas) and NHS Lothian (Edinburgh, East, West and Mid-Lothian local authority areas).

The temporary measures being introduced in these areas are:

🔹Adult (18+) outdoor contact sport is not allowed, with an exemption for performance sport as defined in the Resumption of performance sport guidance. (Indoor adult contact sport continues to be prohibited across the country.)

🔹Adult (18+) indoor group exercise activities are not allowed. (Adult group activity for the purposes of this guidance is activity, involving adults, from more than 2 households / 6 members of those households who take part in an activity on any one day.)  

🔹Snooker / pool halls and indoor bowling alleys are required to close.

🔹Travel: Asking people to avoid public transport unless necessary (e.g. work or school). Advised to avoid (but not prohibited from) travelling outside your health board area if you don’t need to. For those living outside this region, they are advised not to travel into the region if you don’t need to. However, this is advice not mandatory and people are not required to cancel half-term breaks they have planned.

Outdoor adult non-contact group exercise and indoor adult individual exercise can continue in line with current SGB and operator guidance.

There is no change to sport and physical activity guidance for under 18s.

Those who were in the shielding group have not been asked to return to shielding but are being advised to take extra care, especially in the central belt, following the rise in cases.

Please find attached our guidance which sets out further details of the above key points

Grant Turnbull
horsescotland Chair-- 

To download the full guidance document please click the link below ⤵️


30 September 2020National Office Update

Dear RDA UK staff and volunteers,

Starting with some sad news. This last month saw the passing of two RDA ‘greats’, Sister Chiara Hatton-Hall and Miss Liz Dendy.

Sister Chiara was one of our founders, attending the very first meeting of the ‘Advisory Council for Riding for the Disabled’ that the BHS set up in April 1964.  She was the first Chair of the Training Committee and created much of what we now recognise as the basis of our excellent Coaching support.  She helped to set up FRDI (which became HETI and brings together RDA-type organisations around the world) and was respected across the globe. 

Liz Dendy was Chair of RDA in the 1990s, skilfully steering us through the transition towards Federation, which many of you will remember. She was instrumental in setting up the International Paralympic Committee, and was a champion for disability sport worldwide.

We owe them a huge debt of gratitude and our thoughts are with their families.


Phone system

Next Monday there will be a new phone system at National Office (the phone numbers will stay the same). The set-up is being done this Friday, so if you need to contact the office after 2pm on Friday please email groupsupport@rda.org.uk or call 07599 236036.


AGM and Voting

FYI, groups will be sent their voting papers next week, ahead of the AGM on 6 November, which will take place virtually. Any help you can provide to encourage groups to complete and return their votes ahead of time is greatly appreciated.


Government Kickstart Scheme

Tomorrow we will be letting groups know about the Kickstart Scheme, which pays the costs for young people who are currently on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment to be employed part time for 6 months. We are considering acting as a consortium lead for RDA groups who might want to take up this opportunity, and are asking for initial shows of interest. You can find more info here, so please encourage groups to get involved if you think they might benefit: www.myrda.org.uk/government-kickstart-scheme/


New Coaching Lead and RPO

Congratulations to Karen Thompson on her new role as National Coaching Lead. Karen replaces Sue Adams-Wheeler, who has stepped down after 9 years in post. Sue led on many changes in coaching, including the new Coaching Pathway and we are hugely grateful for her leadership and experience throughout her time in the role. Karen runs Kesteven Rideability in the North Midlands, and is County Coach and Regional Dressage Rep for North Midlands. 

We also welcome Eliza Ritchie as the new Regional Publicity Officer (RPO) for West & Central Scotland. Thanks Eliza, I know Kate Bennet and the rest of the team are delighted to have you on board.


Survey About Activity Levels and Closure

I’ll be closing this survey at the end of this week, so please urge groups in your areas to take part if they haven’t already. www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/RDAActivityLevels


Virtual Windsor

If any riders or groups are looking for the results from the Virtual Windsor RDA Dressage Challenge, please direct them here: virtual.rwhs.co.uk/results/ . The overall winner, Elise Coubrough, and the highest placed in each grade will share in the £1,000 worth of vouchers kindly donated by Wychanger Saddlery. Many thanks to RDA Dressage Lead, John Robinson, for judging and commentating on the day.


BBC Sports Personality of the Year – Unsung Hero Awards and Colin Spedding Award

Nominations are open for BBC SPOTY, which this year also features the ‘Captain Tom Young Unsung Hero’ award. More information and entry details here: www.bbc.co.uk/sport/get-inspired/27037119

The National Equine Forum has introduced a special Sir Colin Spedding COVID-19 Award to ‘celebrate those who have gone above and beyond during a very difficult year’. Nominations close on Friday 16 October at www.nationalequineforum.com/nominations/


Best wishes,


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







28 September 2020Love Your Horse Month at Harbro


October is LOVE YOUR HORSE month at Harbro, and we are DELIGHTED to launch this with a commitment to donate 50p to Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) for every bag of Harbro Horse feed bought in store during the month.

Head instore and show your support for the fantastic work of the RDA this October at Harbro.

19 September 2020RDA UK Update 17 September

RDA UK Update 17 September

This bulletin contains:

Survey about activity levels/closure

Ed Bracher Webinar

COVID-19 updates

Microchipping deadlines

Brilliant person award

Last email bulletin

Group survey into activity levels

We’d be grateful for 5 minutes of your time to complete our questionnaire into activity levels and continued group closures. All groups can take part, but ideally just one submission per group please. The aim of the survey is two-fold: to give us a snapshot of participant activity across the organisation, and to ensure we have a complete picture of the various factors that are making it difficult for other groups to start back. Both of these will help us provide better support to groups and provide useful information for the wider equestrian, sport and volunteer sectors.

Please choose who will fill it in from your group (the questions are straightforward but you’ll need a working knowledge of activities on site or decision-making at your group). The link for the survey is: www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/RDAActivityLevels

It opens today and will close at the end of the month. Thank you.

RDA Chief Executive Webinar

A reminder to sign up for the latest webinar from Chief Executive Ed Bracher, which takes place on Friday at 2pm.  Ed will be talking about the very different place RDA is in compared to a usual September, and how RDA is preparing for the challenges ahead.

You sign up to watch live at https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_pX-QsVt4QnaqCOnyMWE80w  or watch the recording afterwards.

COVID-19 Updates

Since our last bulletin there have been changes to the general guidance with the introduction of the rule of six in both Scotland and Wales.  This does not change any restrictions to our activities. This is detailed in the latest update at the top of the Getting Started After Lockdown page.

Microchipping Deadlines

There are a number of microchipping deadlines looming that you need to be aware of. From these dates it will be mandatory for all horses, ponies and donkeys to be microchipped:

England: 1 October 2020
Scotland: 28 March 2021
Wales: 12 February 2021

There is currently no deadline for Northern Ireland.

Comprehensive information is available viaBritish Equestrian. If you have any queries, please contact your Regional Equine Advisor, Regional Vet, contact details available here, or Emma Bayliss ebayliss@rda.org.uk.

Brilliant Person Award and #RDAShoutOuts

Entries are streaming in for our Brilliant Person Award, which will be presented on AGM day, 6 November. Nominations are welcome until 2 October from around the organisation so please share the link with your whole team:www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/9L6QD99

Those of you on Twitter following @RDAnational will be spotting our daily #RDAShoutOuts. Keep your suggestions coming in (even if you’re not on Twitter yourself), by emailing cward@rda.org.ukor DM on Twitter.

Last email bulletin

Since lockdown, we have been updating you with these email bulletins to keep you informed in a timely manner during this fast changing situation. We have tried to keep these emails as concise and relevant as possible throughout this period.

As we all know, the crisis is by no means over, but the pace of change has slowed (at least for the time being), and the type of information groups need has changed depending on their ability to restart.

From next week, we will be replacing these bulletins with a weekly email, issued on Thursdays, to keep all groups up to date with news from RDA UK.

Alert bulletins will only be issued if situations arise that need immediate action.

As you know, we update our guidance on MyRDA as soon as possible after any change in government (and devolved government) advice. This will continue to be the best place to go to for groups returning to activity and looking for guidance on best practice and new ideas.


15 September 2020RDA Activities & The Rule of Six

RDA activities are unaffected by the rule of six as confirmed by Horse Scotland (part of Sportscotland) on the 14th Sep 20. 

The link below will take you to the complete document on MyRDA which is updated by the NO team as soon as information is received. 


The two key points are:

Each group should nominate a Covid Officer.  Many of you are already a good way down the road to completing all the necessary tasks.  There is guidance on the role provided on MyRDA, Getting Started. 

The dispensation from SportScotland, provided for a participant with a disability who required functional support (I read this to be mounting/dismounting etc) to enable their participation in physical activity and sport can be provided without maintaining physical distancing but additional mitigating actions (masks, gloves, avoiding eye contact, minimum contact etc) must be implemented.

Please do keep checking MyRDA, Getting Started as it is being regularly updated 

14 September 2020Seth's Picnic Story

 Seth, an 8-year-old rider from Tweeddale Rideability Group wrote this story about the groups 50th Anniversary picnic ride last year.

The cake he mentions in the story was made by one of the parents who is also a trustee and has edible models of each of our horses! 


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