RDA Brand Research – have your say

For several years, throughout the whole organisation, the strength of the RDA brand has been under discussion. The milestone of our 50th anniversary seems to have reignited the topic.

With strong feelings – and only limited anecdotal evidence – on all sides of the debate, the RDA Board has decided to carry out a research project to gather some real insight into the RDA brand for the first time.

A brand research company, The Frameworks, has been appointed to carry out this work, with a brief to explore three key questions:

1)            To what extent does our current brand hold us back from achieving our aims?

2)            To what extent does our current brand help us to achieve our aims?

3)            How significant is the RDA brand in creating a sense of belonging among the RDA community? 

The research aims to include the views of as many people with the RDA community as possible, and will involve one-to-one interviews, focus groups and an online questionnaire.

The results of the research will be presented to the Board in June. Depending on the outcome of the research, the Board will then decide whether or not to take any further steps.

We hope that you, your participants, volunteers and supporters will want to take part in this discussion. It is important we end up with a range of views from across the whole organisation.

As soon as the survey is live we will let you know. You may also be invited to join or host one of the focus groups. In the meantime, please see the prepared FAQs below or, if you have any further questions, please contact the office on info@rda.org.uk

FAQs

Why has the RDA Board decided to research the RDA brand?

The strength (or otherwise) of the RDA brand has been under discussion for several years within all parts of the organisation. The milestone of the 50th anniversary seems to have reignited the topic. In order to gain clarity and proper insight into this area – rather than rely on a small amount of anecdotal evidence – the board has decided to undertake this research.

Are you planning to change the name RDA?

The scope of the brand research is to explore three key questions:

  • To what extent does our current brand hold us back from achieving our aims?
  • To what extent does our current brand help us to achieve our aims?
  • How significant is the RDA brand in creating a sense of belonging among the RDA community?

Who is carrying out the research?

Following a competitive pitch process, the board has contracted The Frameworks (www.theframeworks.com) to carry out the research.

What will happen when the results are in?

The Frameworks will present their findings to the RDA board in June. At this point, they may also present some suggestions for next steps, but this is not within the remit of this initial project.

How can I have my say?

It is vital that we include the views of as many people as possible throughout the whole organisation. There will be some one-to-one interviews and focus groups, which you may be approached to take part in. The best way to ensure your views are counted will be through completing the online survey, which opens in April. We will be advertising this widely when the time comes.

Page Last Updated: February 22, 2019

Job Opportunity at the Cavalier Centre

Cavalier Centre – Family and Volunteer Liaison Manager role

Future home of the Perry RDA Charity number 1163030

An exciting opportunity has been created at the newly built £1.3m Cavalier Centre, future home of the Perry Riding for the Disabled Group based close to the historic town of Much Wenlock. We are looking to recruit a full time Family and Volunteer Liaison Manager (salary  £27,000 p.a. 40hr/wk) to join the core team who will be running this unique facility and creating a centre of excellence for Riding, Vaulting  and Driving for the Disabled and engaging with other local and national community-based organisations,  “ to deliver meaningful and life changing experiences”.

 This position is kindly funded by the National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund until 2022.          

The successful candidate will have exceptional communication skills, be very organised, compassionate, trustworthy with a successful event planning or organisational background. Should have good experience of working with and training volunteers as well as advising on services and support to disabled and disadvantaged groups of varying ages and abilities.       

If you believe you meet the above criteria and have the ability to work flexibly, please visit our website www.cavaliercentre.org for more information, to view a detailed job description and download an application form or email barkerj667@gmail.com and request documents to be sent to you. Deadline for the applications is 8th March 2019 and interviews will take place on or after 15th March 2019.

Page Last Updated: February 18, 2019

BEF advice on equine flu outbreak

Following the recent outbreak of equine flu, the British Equestrian Federation has issued advice for horse owners. You can find it here: Advice on equine flu

Page Last Updated: February 8, 2019

HRH Princess Anne Chairs 49th RDA AGM

The 49th RDA AGM took place in Glasgow under the Chairmanship of the charity’s President, Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal. Held within the splendour of Trades Hall, Glasgow, the AGM brought together delegates from RDA groups all over the UK – many of whom enjoyed a traditional Scottish welcome at the previous evening’s Ceilidh.

In her President’s address, The Princess acknowledged that next year’s 50th anniversary would be the time for reflections, but she took time to recognise the experience and expertise within the RDA family, made up of many years dedicated service by RDA’s volunteers and coaches.

Delegates were treated to talks from RDA riders Max Stainton, who recently became the first person with Cerebral Palsy to trek to Everest Basecamp on a horse, and Anne Brown, whose dedication to RDA extends to having the charity moto tattooed on her behind!

When asked about speaking in front of The Princess, Anne Brown said: “I was trying not to see her there but, of course, had to have a few sneaky peeks to gauge how it was going. As I realised she was smiling, then laughing, I kinda relaxed a bit. I was worried that I was overstepping the mark a wee bit, but it seems I wasn’t, so I’m glad that I went for it.”

The AGM also offered the opportunity to acknowledge the achievements of outgoing RDA Chairman, Sam Orde, whose time in office officially ends in April 2019. Sam was presented with an Honorary Life Vice Presidency by The Princess Royal, who thanked her for the nine years she has given to the role.

The lively programme also included a welcome from The Lord Provost of Glasgow, Eva Bolander and presentations from Stewart Harris, Chief Executive of Sport Scotland, Occupational Therapist Rhona Harkness and Hazel Johnstone of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Director of Operations for RDA UK, Claire Milican presented her ‘Top of the Ops’ – a run down of the top ten innovations, improvements and activities delivered by the operations team at RDA National Office during this year.

Communications Manager, Caroline Ward, offered a taster of the proposed celebrations for RDA’s 50th anniversary throughout 2019.

“Thank you to our regional team in West & Central Scotland for hosting this year’s AGM,” said RDA Chief Executive Ed Bracher. “I am also grateful to Her Royal Highness, not just for chairing the business of the day, but for taking the time to meet so many of our participants and volunteers during her visit. We look forward to welcoming everyone to our 50th AGM next year!”

For copies of any of the day’s presentations please email Angela Sly at asly@rda.org.uk

Awards
• Honorary Life Vice Presidents – RDA UK Chairman Sam Orde and Deputy Chairman Sheila Saner
• President’s Award – Patricia Wilding of Clytha RDA
• Dudley Smith Award – Joan Jack and Alison Mackintosh – Brae RDA
• Loriners Education Award – Moray RDA
• Birt Spooner Cup – Max Stainton

Page Last Updated: November 19, 2018

Job Opportunity at The Diamond Centre RDA

The Diamond Centre Riding for the Disabled in Carshalton, Surrey is looking for a Yard Manager to join their professional team. This is a live-in position. The successful candidate will be highly motivated, well organised with excellent communication and stable management skills. They will be responsible for the management and care of the Diamond’s ‘Stable Assets’ which include 30 horses and ponies and associated tack, land, arenas and equipment. They will work as a member of the management team who will develop, maintain and supervise a teaching programme to meet the objectives of The Diamond Centre – that being the provision of riding and driving for disabled children and adults. They will have at least a BHS AI qualification and a minimum of 3 years practical experience in yard management. The package includes a self-contained 2 bedroom flat on site along with a competitive salary.

Please apply direct to the Centre Manager, Angela Moloney angela.moloney@diamondcentre.org.uk

Image result for the diamond centre rda

Page Last Updated: October 22, 2018

New Research Into The Benefits of RDA Volunteering

A new study is set to reveal the motivations and benefits experienced by volunteers who give their time to RDA. The biggest survey of its kind carried out by RDA aims to capture information from as many of the charity’s 19,000 volunteers as possible.

If you are an RDA Volunteer you can take part by following the link below

https://ns24.askia.com/WebProd/cgi-bin/askiaext.dll?Action=StartSurvey&SurveyName=Mane

“There is plenty of anecdotal evidence about the importance of volunteering in how people feel about themselves, and RDA volunteers are no exception,” explains Matt Cobble, Volunteer Development Manager at RDA UK. “But we have never been able to back that up with proper research. Many key organisations in the sporting world are now recognising volunteering in sport as an activity in its own right, now is a great time for us to find out if there really is a positive impact on those who take part.”

The results of the survey will be added to a qualitative study on the same subject. Both elements will form part of a White Paper to be launched in Parliament during the Spring of 2019 as part of RDA’s 50th anniversary.

The survey will be circulated to groups and will also be available on the RDA website, Twitter and Facebook pages. “We are urging all volunteers to take part. It doesn’t take long to complete and will give us valuable insight into the difference volunteering can make,” says Matt.

Page Last Updated: October 17, 2018

RDA seeks ’50 Faces’ for anniversary project

For our 50th anniversary in 2019, RDA UK is running an external facing publicity campaign with the aim of raising awareness of RDA to the general public. The campaign ’50 faces’ will comprise 50 portrait photographs of people within our organisation who challenge the perceptions of disability, volunteering or equestrian sport. The resulting portraits will form an interactive collage which will be used as a focal point for the RDA website, media campaign and social media throughout our 50th.

We will visit all our chosen participants to take the portrait and interview them. This will be a unique and engaging piece on the individual, their background or their RDA journey and will help to show the diverse range of participants and volunteers that make up RDA. 

 

What do I need to do if I want to participate?

Please email Beth Randles with a picture and brief background information about yourself, this will help us to choose a range of people from all different areas of RDA whether you are a volunteer, participant, parent or paid member of staff – we would like to represent everyone.

Beth Randles – brandles@rda.org.uk 

What should i include in the email?

In case you are not sure what to include in your email you could tell us about:

  • How you got into RDA & your RDA journey
  • Your age & background
  • Something unique & interesting that you also participate in – for instance other hobbies or your career 
  • Future aspirations 

Please be aware if you would like to participate in this campaign it is important that everyone involved feels comfortable with their name, image and story being publicly available and shared by RDA in print, broadcast and online- including social media. We hope to generate interest from the media through this campaign, so possible candidates should consider if they are happy to talk to journalists around their involvement with RDA (with support and guidance from us). 

 

 

Page Last Updated: October 11, 2018

9 year old Charlotte is RDA ‘Rider of the Year’

Clare Balding presents award to ‘determined’ Charlotte at charity fundraiser

Charlotte Seth, a 9-year old rider at Haworth Riding for the Disabled group in Yorkshire has been named ‘Rider of the Year’ at RDA’s annual awards night. Hosted by broadcaster and author Clare Balding, the evening also featured appearances from journalist and newscaster Alastair Stewart, Paralympian Natasha Baker and celebrity auctioneer Philip Serrell.

Rider of the Year Charlotte has Joberts Syndrome . This leaves her with balance and coordination problems, poor fine and gross motor skills and proprioception issues. She started riding with RDA when she was four. At the time, she needed a team of three volunteers around her as poor core strength meant that she was unable to sit upright on the pony.
“Riding is therapy without Charlotte realising the therapy is actually happening,” said Haworth Group Coach Jane Lawrence.

Through Charlotte’s determination, her RDA group have witnessed amazing progress in all areas of Charlotte’s development. Her core strength has improved to the extent that she now, with support, walks up the mounting block steps, supports herself on the pony and sits upright. She smiles throughout her whole lesson, even when she finds a session tiring.“She is so much more in control of where she wants to go and what she wants to do,” says Jane. “I’m so proud of her – I think she’s amazing.”

When asked what she wants to do when she grows up Charlotte replied, “I want to be able to do anything. I want to tell everyone they can do anything.”

 

Natasha Baker, Joanna Jensen of Childs Farm, Helen Seth, Charlotte Seth, Clare Balding

Clare Balding also presented awards to Volunteer and Young Volunteer of the Year and RDA Horse of the Year.

Volunteer of the Year – Helen Bacon, Pegasus RDA, Manchester
Helen is one of the founding trustees and a coach at Pegasus RDA which launched in Feb 2017. Helen runs the group day in and day out as if it was her full-time job, not a volunteer position. Everyone who touches Pegasus RDA benefits from the immense effort and time Helen gives and she has been instrumental in all of Pegasus’s greatest achievements over the past year.

To top this off, Helen was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer in 2016. Through several gruelling courses of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, more scans and injections that I can keep track of, a lumpectomy and most recently a hysterectomy and appendix removal, Helen hasn’t stopped for breath when it comes to RDA.

In Helen’s citation, Haworth Group Chair Gill Petty wrote: “Pegasus undoubtedly would not be the amazing success it is now without Helen. For this and her selflessness, kindness and relentless energy to drive us forward, we nominate Helen Bacon as Volunteer of the Year.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clare Balding, Helen Bacon, Penny Taylor of Godolphin

Young Volunteer of the Year – Nia Miller, East Liverpool RDA
Faced with her own challenges of significant dyslexia and verbal dyspraxia, Nia is determined to achieve and to support others. As such, she Nia began volunteering at RDA and Sports Disability Academy Liverpool. As a volunteer Nia has coached specialised sports, officiated and assisted in running events with participants from around the country.
Nia has taken her passion for equine assisted therapy into her academic life, with her first degree dissertation in “Self-perceptions of disabled participants engaging in equine therapy” and her Masters in “Exploring female domestic abuse survivor’s experience of equine therapy”.

As RDA Group Coach Nia teaches individual and group lessons, ensuring all participants with different needs are safely cared for. She takes great pride in her care for both horse and participants. Modestly, she takes no credit for the enormous achievements of East Liverpool RDA at Regional and National Championships, as well on a weekly basis with their clients.

Nicole Adams of People’s Postcode Lottery, Nia Miller, Alastair Stewart

Horse of the Year – Lambrusco, South Bucks RDA
Lambrusco is a 26 year old 16.2h grey WB gelding. Lambrusco joined South Bucks RDA in January 2007. He is a gentle giant and has always been popular in RDA classes. With such a wonderful temperament he was soon competing in RDA Dressage and Para Dressage and in 2008 he went to Hong Kong and won 2 Gold and 1 Silver Medal with Sophie Christiansen.

Lambrusco is still giving pleasure to many riders on a weekly basis. His riders range from age 8 to 75 and he regularly does lead rein RDA sessions and private walk sessions with independent riders. He is so reliable and loves to go out around the woods for a good leg stretch. He recently won the RDA Dressage Anywhere Grade 1 Championship with a 60+ yr old stroke survivor on an amazing Score of 77.94%, proving to all that he still has it and is happy in his work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clare Balding, Helen Burt (South Bucks RDA), Marilyn Harford of SnuggyHoods

A night of celebration and fundraising
The four awards provided the backbone to an evening full of celebration that also included songs from internationally renowned Baritone Roderick Williams. Guests were treated to an interview by Alastair Stewart with Natasha Baker, and the evening culminated in an auction led by TV’s Philip Serrell.

Page Last Updated: September 28, 2018

SEIB Search for a Star RDA Showing Championship 2018

Homebred horse takes the SEIB Search for a Star Riding for the Disabled Championship

The much anticipated SEIB Search for a Star Riding for the Disabled (RDA) Championship final took place on the 6th September at the British Show Horse Association Hunter Championship Show at Addington. Qualified horses and riders travelled the length and breadth of the country, from Sunderland to Devon to attend the final.

The title went to John Hackett’s stunning homebred, Johan’s Debut, ridden by Tracy Steel. The judges, Jane Holderness-Roddam, Rob Walker and Addington proprietor, Tim Price were unanimous in deciding upon the winner.

Now in its second year, the Search for a Star RDA championship is really proving to be a great hit with competitors. Sarah Hadley of the RDA said: “Showing has added a welcome new dimension to the competitive opportunities open to RDA riders and this championship was a fittingly glamorous end to a fabulous season of events throughout 2018. Thanks to SEIB, not just for supporting this competition but for everything they are doing to promote Showing for RDA. We are also grateful to BSHA for allowing this class to be held at the Championships and to Addington Manor for hosting.”

John Hackett’s winning 16-year-old gelding, the homebred, Johan’s Debut is known as Devlin at home. He said: “I bought Devlin’s dam years ago and he is very much the one and only horse I have ever bred.” Tracy and Devlin qualified for the Search for a Star RDA final by winning the qualifier at the Hartpury RDA Championship. Tracy said: “Devlin got in the ring, knew what to do and just got on with it. He is brilliant. This win has really given me the drive to go on to do open SEIB Search for a Star classes next year.”

Tracy added: “The atmosphere at the championship was just brilliant. In the busy warm-up arena, I noticed that one of the younger competitors was becoming a bit overwhelmed so me and Devlin went over to speak to her. I suggested that she should walk round with me and Devlin. So we spent our warm-up together, walking round, making sure that the young girl was ok to get in the ring and do her best. I continued to keep an eye out for her when the class started.”

 “The reason we went all out to do the Search for a Star RDA Showing this year was to help raise the profile of RDA riders. Classes such as this make you really realise you can do it and that everyone is getting the same opportunity to get out there with the horses and do something new. This class really focussed on looking at how the horses and ponies are produced and not what the riders’ disabilities are and what they can and can’t do.” Tracy is a grade 4 rider and RDA coach with the Tyne and Wear RDA group at the Washington Riding Centre.

Thirteen-year-old Isabella Benfield and her mother, Alison’s pony, Cookies and Cream took the runner up spot. Isabella and Cookie nearly didn’t get to the finals. Alison said: “Doing so well came as a bit of a shock! We have had all sorts of problems with Cookie’s saddle slipping in the run up to the championship, luckily putting a gel pad under the saddle helped massively and enabled them to put in a great performance.” Isabella suffers from cerebral palsy and is very determined with her riding. She has ridden since she was three and the Benfield family have owned Cookie for two-years now. Alison added. “It is Isabella’s absolute dream to one day ride in the dressage in the para Olympics. We are always keen to support any competitions that are put on for para riders and the SEIB showing series has provided Isabella with a brilliant opportunity to do something a bit different with Cookie.” Isabella is a member of the Stratford-upon-Avon RDA group and is trained by Brittany Lankston.

Kayla Pratt and Claire Robinson’s skewbald pony, Hunky Dory took third place in the Search for a Star RDA Championship. Seventeen-year old Kayla said: “I felt honoured to have the opportunity to go to this exciting show with Dory. Everyone went into the ring with a smile on their face and I am just delighted for Dory that we did so well.” Hunky Dory’s owner, Claire Robinson, owns Robinson’s Equiteach in Great Ayton, Middlesborough. Two ponies and riders from Claire’s yard qualified for the Search for a Star RDA Championships. Phoebe Whitfield riding another of Claire’s ponies, Alice, also competed in the final. They finished in seventh place.

Kayla’s mother, Sandy said: “Kayla has been riding at Claire’s since she was six. It is such a fantastic place and Claire is phenomenal with the effort, time and energy that she puts in. It is a real team effort and we all either travel to the shows together or in convoy. On Thursday we all piled into Claire’s wagon with the two ponies for the four-hour plus journey.” Kayla who suffers from a language disability disorder is studying for a BTEC in Art and Design at the Northern School of Art.

In fourth place was 10-year-old Kassia Dudek riding Natalie Burns’ black pony, Rio. Natalie runs the East Liverpool RDA Group which has 28 RDA ponies.  Kassia learned to ride on Rio and has been riding him for around three years.

Taking fifth and sixth place in the finals were two riders from ‘Ride 2 Achieve’ RDA group in Hereford. The team from Ride 2 Achieve very nearly didn’t make the finals following a blow out on the motorway en route to Addington. Janet Alderton who runs Ride 2 Achieve said: “A huge thank you to the fantastic judges and stewards and all our fellow competitors for allowing our riders to join the class 5 minutes after it had started. My daughter, Jo Alderton drove like a pro following our blowout on the motorway.”

In fifth was Alex Stevens from Ride 2 Achieve with Briony Sellar’s, Caplor Hill Billy.  Alex said: “Billy’s owner, Briony thought that me and Billy would get on well together showing so she suggested aiming at this class. We have had a pretty intensive stint of training to get ready for the competition. I work really hard to be competitive with my riding and we have a really great group of people at Ride 2 Achieve and everyone really supports each other with a huge focus on enjoying the horses”. 20-year-old Alex works as an engineer and he mainly competes in para showjumping competitions.

Lesley Sayers and Janet Alderton’s, Marteg Victory were delighted to take 6th place in the final. This is the second year that Lesley, who is registered blind, has competed in Search for a Star. She said: “I have ridden since I was a child. When I lost my sight, I had been having a break from riding, but once I had my guide dog I found Janet and ‘Ride 2 Achieve’ and decided to give riding another go, she has been so supportive. When I am riding, it is the one time that I feel truly independent and doing something on my own. I don’t need my guide dog or my mum to help.”

SEIB’s Marketing Manager Nicolina MacKenzie said: “SEIB is renowned for putting something back and I think we have really achieved this with the RDA Search for a Star. Many of the riders in the final are fairly new to showing. Some of our competitors have expressed an interest in competing in the open Search for a Star classes next year which is just brilliant.”

The SEIB Search for a Star RDA competition requires competitors to ride around the ring together in walk and trot before lining up and performing an individual show.  Any type of horse or pony is able to compete and the class will be judged 30% on conformation, 30% on turnout and 40% on suitability, manners and way of going, so giving a good individual show will be important to the overall result. Full rules for the competition are to be found on the Search for a Star website.   

Leading equine Insurance brokers, SEIB Insurance Brokers provide cover for horses, horse boxes, yards and much more.   The company has a long association with the showing world and is renowned for ‘putting something back’ by supporting many grassroots equestrian events and activities. 

For full details, rules and entry forms visit www.search4astar.org.uk and click through to the RDA section. Find SEIB Search for a Star on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/SEIB.Search4AStar.

For insurance queries visit www.seib.co.uk or call 01708 850000.

Page Last Updated: September 21, 2018

RDA, BD Intellectually Disabled Championships

Saturday 1st September at Solihull Riding Club

Over the last few months British Dressage (BD) and RDA have been working together to create a new opportunity for RDA Intellectually Disabled (ID) riders to compete.  With the help of Rachel Smith (Sport Operations Officer), Natasha Pearce (Para Officer) and Julie Frizzell (Para Director) from British Dressage and John Robinson (RDA Dressage Chairman) this would never have come to fruition.

Riders that had competed in the RDA Regional Qualifiers in ID walk only, walk & trot and walk, trot and canter classes were selected and invited to attend the Championships at Solihull.  27 entries came forward from around the country to proceed down the centreline and deliver some excellent tests.  It was amazing to see so many happy faces, thanks also go to triple gold medallist Julie Payne for presenting all of the riders with their rosettes and taking the time to pose for so many photographs with her gold medals.

Congratulations to all the highest placed junior riders, Jonathan Rigby in the walk only class, Jessica White in walk & trot and Kasia Dudek-Mcgee in the canter class who received extra rosettes

We are really looking forward to working with BD again on this Championships.  Please keep a look out for news on the 2019 event.

Page Last Updated: September 21, 2018