Getting Started after Lockdown


As different parts of the UK are relaxing their restrictions on exercise, it is time to consider if and how groups could restart activities when the time is right for them.

Updates to Guidance – latest information based on government guidance

Easing of Restrictions – What it means for RDA Groups – 14 September 2020 NEW

All resources on this web page have been developed by a working party of RDA group and regional volunteers and trustees, who will continue to meet and agree amends and additions to resources as government guidance inevitably changes. 

There will be a lot of people who have missed their time at RDA and just want to get back; however any return to the group needs careful consideration.  In everything we do we must consider safety first – safety for volunteers and staff, safety for participants, safety for horses.

The risks of COVID-19 remain, so any activity must meet latest UK and devolved regulations. Even when some restrictions are lifted, we anticipate that social distancing will be required and this will have a significant impact on what groups will be able to do.

photo showing social distancing

2m social distancing (piece of string is 2m long)


Any resources with changes are dated and any key changes affecting actions in a Group have been written in blue.  Groups do not need to make any retrospective changes to anything already completed.
Other changes are to reflect the updated and changing situation, as governments ease restrictions.

Groups who have already started may be able to offer advice and support in how they have done it. 

Current list of groups signed off to re-start 08Sept2020 NEW


We have prepared a range of documents to help with your planning. Please start by reading the guidance notes and the accompanying glossary of terms. These will help with your decision making to identify when the time is right for your group to reopen, and to shape your preparations in getting started.

Getting Started Guidance Notes 10Jul2020

Glossary of Terms Updated 10Jul2020

Thank you to Karen Thompson and her team at Kesteven RDA for sharing the following videos. These do not show you what to do, but demonstrate their practical thinking in developing solutions to getting started…. they subsequently adapted their practices to ensure they meet the changing requirements of the government and RDA. (click and then choose full screen):





Thanks to Penniwells for sharing this fun film showing how they will work within current guidelines; it’s a video (made by the team before they could welcome riders to the centre) sent to their riders, so it helps them to know what to expect when they return: 


Are we ready to start?

There is a lot for your Trustees to consider before feeling confident that your group can start again. Here are the questions that need to be answered to know the time is right and that preparations are in place:

Getting Started Are You Ready 29May2020

We have prepared a Trustee checklist, to make sure everything is ready. This must be completed and emailed to RDA National Office along with your Covid-19 Risk Assessment before your group can start sessions. Once these are received they will be checked and we will email any questions or to confirm your Group is signed-off to start sessions.
Getting Started TRUSTEE CHECKLIST 29May2020

Risk Assessment Covid-19

Covid-19 Officer 

As is a requirement for venues in Scotland, and best practice elsewhere we would expect Groups to have an individual who will take on the role of Covid-19 Officer.

This should be the person that signs off the Covid-19 risk assessments. All sessions should be overseen to make sure policies are followed, this should either be the Covid-19 officer themselves or a person where this responsibility has been delegated by the Covid-19 officer to them, who will be in attendance at the session (i.e. the coach).

Covid-19 Officer role guidelines NEW

What about our horses?

All horses will have been “rested” from RDA work to varying degrees. For their welfare and everyone’s safety, groups will need to induct them all back into the work required of them; for some this may be a quick process but for others it may take weeks of re-training. Here’s a useful planner to make sure your horses are healthy and happy to return to work:
Equine Assessment & Induction May2020

Equine Assessment & Induction CARRIAGE DRIVING Aug2020

In addition, the BHS has produced some useful guidance on bringing a horse back into work. Groups can adapt this to fit the level of work needed within RDA. 

Volunteers and Participants

These are optional tools to help you identify if you have enough volunteer support to restart, and which of your participants may be able to take part in the current restrictions. 
Volunteer Availability Tool May2020
Participant Assessment Tool May2020

When your group is ready to start,  volunteers, staff and participants taking part will need to sign a consent form, accepting the terms of their return:

Track & Trace

We know you all keep records of people at your sessions, ensure you keep these for 21 days. This is now (from 14 September 2020) a legal requirement in England.  There is some guidance around positive cases on the link below. We recommend you add the following to any system you use to collect names and contact details or make your volunteers/ participants aware:

‘We will hold your contact details for 21 days following your attendance at an RDA session/ event and share this with NHS Track and Trace or similar (different countries have different names, e.g. Test, Trace and Protect in Wales) if required to do in the event of a positive COVID case as is required by government.’

COVID-19 Early Outbreak Management Flowchart 26.08.2020 NEW

Working with Schools

We are encouraging groups to start and continue to have conversations with our schools, ideally with the Head so that they understand what activities are being offered if you are a group that is open, or what you plans are if you are not yet able to open. Some guidance is provided below along with a template letter which you can use with schools or adapt as you see fit.

Guidance for Getting Started with School Groups 26.08.2020 NEW

Information for Schools on RDA Activities 26.08.2020 Word Document NEW

Horse Matching!

Does your group have a horse that at the moment isn’t working because your group isn’t able to start, and the horse could benefit if temporarily working at another group? Does your group need a horse/pony to help you get your RDA sessions started?

If you have answered yes to either of these questions, let’s see if we can try to support each other and match spare horses with those who could benefit from them.

If you have a suitable RDA horse (one that is assessed and has worked in RDA pre-lockdown) please complete the Horse Loan form and send it to  If you are wanting to loan a horse to help you get started, please register your interest by emailing what you need to

We will then liaise with those who contact us to see if we can try to match suitable horses with those who are in need. 

Alternative Activities and Top Tips

We know groups are keen to get their participants back but may not be able to get them back on a horse or in a carriage.  The working group are looking to support with ideas on alternative sessions and tips on getting started:-

Top Tips:-

Downloadable resources

Risk Assessment to be used alongside the standard RDA venue and session risk assessments; adapted to your group setting accordingly.

          PLEASE NOTE NEW RDA DISCOUNT CODES for cleaning and sanitising products listed:

          AGMA – quote RDA5SD8YGPF when ordering, for 10% discount

          AQUEOS – quote ‘RDA’ for 30% discount

If you have any questions or concerns, please talk them through with your Regional Chair, Regional Coach or email the office .

Page Last Updated: September 14, 2020