14 October 2021National Office Update

Dear RDA UK volunteers and staff,

I hope everyone got to see a bit of Horse of the Year Show last weekend. There were some fantastic events from Double Harness Scurry Driving (in which one of the competitors was 85 years old!) to Speed Horse of the Year (48.12 seconds!). Our corporate partners Posh Muckerz had a stall there and were donating a percentage of their sales of their coveralls to RDA UK.


Princess Royal Celebrates 50 Years with RDA

A reminder that we are creating a timeline of pictures of the Princess’ 50 years service with the RDA in 50 pictures. If you have any images of the Princess Royal you would like to share, particularly ones from her early years with RDA, please send them to me by the 25 October to bfalcini@rda.org.uk. Thank you to those who have already contributed to this.

We would also like to celebrate this milestone by collecting photos and messages of thanks from RDA members across the organisation, which we will put into a slideshow for The Princess. Everyone can contribute so do please write a short message and accompanying image if you wish. Again, please send these to me (bfalcini@rda.org.uk) by the 25th.



The RDA AGM will take place on the 5 Novemberat the RDA National Training Centre. This will be held as a hybrid meeting, and we are encouraging groups to vote by proxy through their Regional Chairs and join the meeting by Zoom if they wish.

If you would also like to join by Zoom, please email Amanda Perkins aperkins@rda.org.uk for the registration details.


30-minute webinars

This week: Guide Dogs for the Blind: 7pm Thursday 12 October

Our first webinar is Thursday at 7pm, coinciding with World Sight Loss Day. We are delighted to welcome a representative from The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association to talk about the services Guide Dogs provide for adults and children with sight loss, as well as a bit about them as an organisation and their dogs.

Register as usual at:


Next week: 20 October, Duke of Edinburgh Award

Jade Herriott from Duke of Edinburgh Award will talk about supporting DofE volunteers. If you have any questions you would like to submit for this webinar, please contact Faye (fmckenning@rda.org.uk) by Monday 22nd October.

For this webinar, register here:



Duke of Edinburgh Volunteers

We are encouraging groups who have DofE volunteers to complete the following survey. Deadline 9am on Monday 8 November.



RDA Dressage Lead

If you wish to contact the RDA Dressage Lead, Sarah-Jane Prew please use the mobile number or email address which are on the MyRDA website and not the landline number in the Handbook:www.myrda.org.uk/runningyourgroup/dressage/


Dressage Anywhere RDA Championships

After a long delay due to Covid, Dressage Anywhere are bringing back their RDA Championships. Qualifiers start in November running through until March 2022. To qualify, riders need one score of 60% or above. 

There are fourteen classes to choose from including graded classes, ungraded classes, TVI/PVI and ID. Grades 1-6 Walk, Walk & Trot and Walk, Trot, Canter has been added to Dressage Anywhere along with TVI/PVI Walk Only. Entries will open for the Championships in April with judging taking place in May.

To see all the RDA classes available, please go here: www.dressageanywhere.com/Competitor/EnterCompetition/733


Discounted Worming and Testing from Westgate Labs

Don’t forget RDA groups can benefit from discount on targeted worming and testing from Westgate Labs. For more info see their website:www.westgatelabs.co.uk/


JustGiving Webinar

A reminder that on Thursday we have the a webinar from JustGiving. The webinar will be 30-45 minutes and will share information about the JustGiving options for RDA Groups. This will include information about how JustGiving works, what it can do, costs and an opportunity for some questions. The webinar is suitable for all Groups but may be of particular interest to those who are wondering what platform to use once Virgin Money Giving closes, as well as those Groups who have not yet ventured into online giving platforms. 

The webinar will take place on Thursday 14 October at 11.30am.

To register for the webinar please follow this link,https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_YZXDLkMJQyafPb1sL6nSUQ  

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. For those unable to attend, information will be shared following the webinar. We do hope you will be able to join us.

RDA Safeguarding Certificates:

If you have attended an RDA Safeguarding Workshop in the last month or are about to undertake one, we apologise but your certificate will take longer than usual to reach you. We are currently having issues with our suppliers and are waiting for new stock to be delivered. If you need confirmation of attendance in the meantime for coaching appraisals, please contact Laura at the National Office:  lcartwright@rda.org.uk


Best wishes,

Brigitta Falcini

Communications Coordinator

Riding for the Disabled Association

07 October 2021National Office Update

Dear RDA UK volunteers and staff,

Autumn appears to be on us officially, as does the rain and wind!

Great news from the Virgin Money London Marathon this past weekend – always an inspiring event, and particularly special following last year’s cancellation. We had 6 people running for us, helping to raise awareness and funds. Our congratulations and thanks to all of them – and any other Marathon runners who supported RDA groups.


Princess Royal Celebrates 50 Years with RDA

This year marks the 50th year of The Princes Royal’s involvement with RDA. We would like to celebrate this milestone by collecting photos and messages of thanks from RDA members across the organisation, which we will put into a slideshow for The Princess.

If you would like to contribute to the slideshow, please email me your message and an accompanying image if you have one by the 25 October.

We are also creating a timeline of photos for an online display. If you have a great image of The Princess’ involvement with RDA from the last 50 years which we can use for the timeline, please email me a copy along with any background information you think might be useful. I will need these also by the 25 October.


Weekly Webinars are Back!

You will be excited to hear that our weekly webinar series is back. These will be every Thursday at 7pm on a variety of topics, from recruitment of volunteers post-COVID to a demonstration from a Saddler.

Our first webinar is next week on the 14 October at 7pm. This coincides with World Sight Loss Day, and we are delighted to welcome a representative from The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association to talk about the services Guide Dogs provide for adults and children with sight loss, as well as a bit about them as an organisation and their dogs.

Register as usual at:


PLEASE NOTE, the webinars are recorded for internal use and are posted on our MyRDA YouTube page.


UKSA and Virtus Virtual World Championships

We have had seven riders go through from our RDA Regional Qualifiers in the ID Dressage classes to compete on the UKSA team representing Great Britain in the Virtus Virtual World Games. The results should be announced by Virtus on 19 October. 

Thank you and congratulations to all those involved, and we will keep you updated on the riders results as they come in. For more information on UKSA and Virtus visit UK Sports Association – for People with Learning Disability VIRTUS – World Intellectual Impairment Sport

Any questions, please email Emma Bayliss at ebayliss@rda.org.uk


RDA Coaches Conference Month 2021

This year’s Coaching Conference will look a bit different. Throughout November, we will be running ‘Coaching Conference Month’ – and everyone is welcome! There will be a Zoom webinar open to all every Tuesday evening in November (9th, 16th, 23rd & 30th).  You can sign up to all 4 webinars or each one individually – Attend all 4 to count towards CPD for coaches that require it.

More details about the programme and opportunities will be coming soon. Any questions about Coaching Conference Month, please email Jo Hayward at jhayward@rda.org.uk


Dressage Anywhere

If your groups and riders are missing the excitement of virtual competing, don’t forget Dressage Anywhere run RDA classes. For more information, please see Welcome to Dressage Anywhere


Harbro Support for RDA

We are delighted to hear about the support from Harbro, the animal feed and farming company, for our RDA Groups in Scotland. For a whole year they will donate 25p from all horse feed bags sold in Harbro stores to RDA in Scotland. It would be great if you could share with friends and encourage the purchase of feed from Harbro this coming year.


Best wishes,

Brigitta Falcini

Communications Coordinator

Riding for the Disabled Association

30 September 2021National Office Update



Dear RDA UK volunteers and staff,

I hope you managed to tune in to watch some of the RDA Virtual National Championships last weekend. I just want to say how impressed I was with it all and what a fantastic job all those involved did. 

If you didn’t catch it, you can watch it on our YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/user/RDANational


Job Opening: Regional Coordinator – Yorkshire and Cleveland

We currently have a job opening for a Regional Coordinator in Yorkshire and Cleveland. The role involves stimulating growth in participant numbers in RDA activities in the Yorkshire and Cleveland region. 

The role is a fixed term contract until the 30 April 2023 and will be predominantly home-based/remote working with frequent travel in the region, and occasional attendance at RDA National Office in Warwickshire. 

Closing Date: 9am 11th October 2021.

For a full job description and how to apply, follow this link: https://www.rda.org.uk/join-the-rda-uk-team/


Virtual National Championships – Presented by Oliver Wight EAME LLP

Last weekend marked our first ever Virtual National Championships. I hope you managed to tune in to see it or snippets of it. The event attracted viewers from all over, even as far as Australia! It was livestreamed on our website, Facebook and YouTube - we had over 4000 views on YouTube alone.  The Virtual National Championships not only enabled more riders to get involved, but also encouraged more visitors too. We received lots of enquiries on social media about how to get involved and finding their local groups.

For the full low-down of the event, including the Commentators Choice Award and list of winners, follow this link: https://www.rda.org.uk/news_cpt/thousands-tune-in-to-virtual-rda-championships/


National Sporting Heritage Day

A reminder that tomorrow is National Sporting Heritage Day. We will be sharing stories from our archives of women pioneers in RDA, and we encourage you to also share either of your own RDA experience or an RDA woman who inspired you. Post your stories online on tomorrow using #NSHD2021

This is a great opportunity to introduce our Heritage Champion Volunteer Rochelle Blakeman, who from now will be developing plan to help us preserve and share our heritage. You will hear from her in our social media post today and in the future regarding our heritage project. Rochelle says the National Sporting Heritage Day is the “…perfect opportunity to introduce RDA’s plans to preserve, share and celebrate our heritage as pioneers of disability sport since 1969…. Featuring blog posts, audio and visual content, we will showcase the people, events and stories which still resonate with our mission today. Watch this space and follow our social media pages for the heritage stories to come! If you have your own RDA story from the past to share, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us!”


Volunteer Vacancy: Publicity Officer – West Mercia Region

The West Mercia Region are looking for a Regional Publicity Officer, if you or anyone you know would like to fill this vital role please take a look at the advert here https://www.myrda.org.uk/assets/West_Mercia_RPO.pdf. If you are interested on would like more information, please contact Faye McKenning 01926 405966 fmckenning@rda.org.uk


Volunteer Vacancy: Country Chair – Hampshire 

The County Chair is a voluntary position providing support and management of local groups in the Hampshire County.

This is an excellent opportunity to work closely with the Regional team, engage your leadership skills and get involved with RDA beyond your local group. We are looking for a professional with managerial experience who is reliable, warm and empathetic with the ability to motivate others.

Please contact Frances Lochrane, South Regional Chair, to discuss the opportunity further (flochrane@btinternet.com/07798 941229)


BEF Training for Classifiers

The BEF are running training for their classifiers on the weekend of 6 & 7 November and are looking for RDA participants to attend to show the Trainee Classifiers different classification grades. They need a mixture of neurological impairments – e.g. Cerebral Palsy, Stroke, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's, traumatic/acquired brain injury and musculo-skeletal impairments – e.g. amputee, short limb (arm or leg), arthrogryposis, spinal cord injury, spina bifida etc. The training will take place at the BEF building in Stareton, Warwickshire and will be classroom based. Travel and lunch will be covered. Please share with your network and for more information, please contact Emma Baylissebayliss@rda.org.uk


Green Cards

Faye McKenning has asked me to remind Groups that we no longer need to receive Green Cards. These should be kept safely with a Group.


Hand Sanitiser

A reminder from Helen Kallow that there are still boxes of hand sanitiser, donated by Farm & Stable, available. Please contact Helen onhkallow@rda.org.uk with the email subject ‘hand sanitiser’.


Best Wishes,

Brigitta Falcini

Communications Coordinator

Riding for the Disabled Association

01926 405964

27 September 20212021 National Championship Success

Well, what a weekend the Region had at the Virtual National Championships scooping up 6 class wins (in Dressage, Vaulting and Arts & Crafts), a Class Championship in Dressage, as well as picking up many other rosettes.  Congratulations  to everyone who took part and a huge thank you to the many coaches, volunteers and supporters (including those who took the many films) who made their journey possible. The full results are below:


Class 5 - PVI Walk Only

Helen, Tweeddale – 2nd, 72.89%

Class 10 - Grade 1

Margaret, Border - 1st, 63%

CLASS 11 - Grade 2

Pamela, Ravelrig - Class Champion, 1st, 70.79%

Class 16 - 1-6 (Canter)

Jane, Border – 2nd, 70.59%

Class 18 - Introduction to Dressage (Lead Walk & Trot) Junior

Nathan, Tweeddale - 4th, 63.25%

CLASS 18 - Introduction to Dressage(Lead Walk & Trot) Senior

Naimh, Tweeddale – 1st, 69.25%

CLASS 19 (1-6 Walk Only) Senior

Barbara, Berwickshire – 2nd, 67.35%

CLASS 22 Introduction to Dressage (Led Walk Only) Junior

Emily, Berwickshire, 9th, 56.90%

CLASS 22 Introduction to Dressage (Led Walk Only) Senior

Hannah, Tweeddale – 4th, 66.19%



Alyse  - 1st
Esme - 3rd
Charlie - 4th
Lauren - 5th

Class 45 - Individual Painting or Drawing (Junior)

Seth, Tweeddale – 4th

Class 50 - Photography Individual (Junior)

Ellie, Tweeddale – 2nd

Class 51 - Special Class - A picture for The RDA National Training Centre

Dawson, Berwickshire - 1st (Junior)

Claire, Berwickshire – 1st (Senior)

For 2022, a virtual National Championships will be held in tandem, but separate to the live competition at Hartpury, which will be a fantastic opportunity for people to get involved.

Best wishes ,


24 September 20212021 National Championships

The 2021 National Championships will be held virtually over this weekend.  The top six riders, vaulters or pieces of art, will be streamed live over the weekend at various stages of the day.  As well as other interviews and activities.  Full details of the event are available from MyRDA under National Championships which gives details on how you can access the link and watch as the class winners are announced.  

Here is the link for ease of reference:

And the link for the event programme which gives the class times:

We have had a tremendous show from across the Region with the following riders, vaulters and artists placed in the top 6 and guaranteed a rosette!  This is fantastic news and a huge well done to everyone for making this possible.

Class 5 - PVI Walk Only
Helen, Tweeddale – top 6

Class 10 - Grade 1
Margaret, Border - top 6

CLASS 11 - Grade 2
Pamela, Ravelrig - top 6

Class 16 - 1-6 (Canter)
Jane, Border – top 6

Class 18 - Introduction to Dressage (Lead Walk & Trot) Junior
Nathan, Tweeddale  - top 6

CLASS 18 - Introduction to Dressage(Lead Walk & Trot) Senior
Naimh, Tweeddale – top 6

CLASS 19 (1-6 Walk Only) Senior
Barbara, Berwickshire – top 6

CLASS 22 Introduction to Dressage (Led Walk Only) Senior
Hannah, Tweeddale – top 6

Sorry - don't have the individual names but all have qualified in Top 6

Class 45 - Individual Painting or Drawing
Seth, Tweeddale – Top 6 (Junior)

Class 50 - Photography Individual
Ellie, Tweeddale – top 6 (Junior)

Class 51 - Special Class - A picture for The RDA National Training Centre
Dawson, Berwickshire - Top 6 (Junior)
Claire, Berwickshire – top 6 (Senior)

Fingers crossed for some great results!

23 September 2021National Office Update

Dear RDA UK volunteers and staff,

As Caroline mentioned in her previous newsletter, I will now be writing and sending out the newsletter every week. Thank you to everyone who has wished me luck and warmly welcomed me to RDA, it has been lovely to meet you and I hope to get acquainted with the everyone else soon. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with me, you can reach me either via email at bfalcini@rda.org.uk or telephone on 01926 405 964.


Virtual National Championships – Presented by Oliver Wight EMEA LLP

Our first ever Virtual National Championships takes place this weekend. The event will be live streamed on the main RDA website at www.rda.org.uk/rda-virtual-national-championships/ , where you will find the full event programme.  There will also be an online shopping experience - including Championships clothing from Wainwright Screenprint.

The event will also be live streamed on our Facebook page and YouTube channel (both @RDAnational).

The live stream will feature the top 6 of each class and the full results will be released later that evening. In the meantime, if you would like to know if any of your riders have come in the top 6, please email Fiona Harris at fharris@rda.org.uk (exact placings will be revealed during the live stream).

RDA Awards 2021

Congratulations to the winners of this year’s RDA Awards!

The winners are:

·        Volunteer of the Year, sponsored by Godolphin: Sharon Garner – Wenlo Group
·        Young Volunteer of the Year, supported by the players of People’s Postcode Lottery: Ava Sharp – Wenlo Group
·        RDA UK Volunteer of the Year: Dawn Whitmore- Kirby – North Midlands Regional Chair
·        Participant of the Year, sponsored by Childs Farm: Millie Smith; Equi-Power Central Scotland RDA
·        Horse/pony of the Year: Smudge – RDA Glasgow Group

Please read about the winners of the Awards here: https://www.myrda.org.uk/runningyourgroup/volunteer-management/rewarding-volunteers/rda-2021-awards/

Awards organiser Faye McKenning said; “Thank you to everyone who nominated a person – or pony – for our awards. This year it has been particularly important to highlight the extraordinary efforts of our volunteers and riders in helping groups to survive and restart after lockdown. The judges had an impossible job in singling out winners, and I hope you will join us in celebrating their deserved success.”


British Equine Infectious Diseases Advisory Group Handbook

British Equestrian’s Equine Infectious Disease Action Group (EIDAG) have just released a comprehensive publication aiming at mitigating the risk of equine disease transmission for general use. The document can be found here: https://online.flippingbook.com/view/224911474/2/


Ed’s London Marathon

Sadly, Ed has had a knee injury and is no longer able to participate in the London Marathon next weekend. Please see a short statement from Ed below:

“Thanks very much for sponsoring me to run the London Marathon.  Training had been going really well…and then incredibly frustratingly, physics has overcome determination and my knee has decided to stop working…I have torn my meniscus (not uncommon), but it means rest and no additional stress…So, I have delayed my place to next year’s Marathon.  I’m going to spend the next 3 months making sure this is a realistic option and will decide before Christmas if so.

In terms of the support, I have been blown away by the generosity of the donations received to date.  There are now two options: 1 – if you are happy to leave the donation with RDA, it will be put towards the sponsorship for next year’s marathon (or challenge) and I promise not to ask you again.  The need for support remains high, so by doing this you will be really helping. Or 2 – I completely understand if you would rather reclaim the money now and wait to see what the future holds – in which case let me know and we’ll refund.  I would hope to come back to you next year!

Once again, thank you so much for your support.  I am very disappointed to have to send this, but I hope you’ll understand.”

If you want to get in touch with Ed about sponsorship you can email him at ebracher@rda.org.uk


National Sporting Heritage Day – 30th September 2021

On the 30th September we will be celebrating National Sporting Heritage Day. The day will mark the launch of our heritage project to capture, record and share our story, with an initial focus on Women and disability. We will be sharing some of the stories of the women pioneers of RDA on social media – and would love you to share your stories too – either of your own RDA experience or an RDA woman who inspired you. Post your stories online on 30 September using #NSHD2021

As part of our heritage project, we would also like to produce an oral history of women and disability in RDA. If you know of someone who would be good to interview for this, please do get in touch.


Free Hand Sanitiser

There will be a note in tomorrow’s newsletter to Groups with details on free hand sanitiser, made possible by Farm and Stable.


Best wishes,

Brigitta Falcini

Communications Coordinator

Riding for the Disabled Association

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

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