Weekly news 8 April

30-minute webinar

Tonight, 7pm, COVID-19 the medical perspective

Dr Megan Hardman, Chair of the Medical Equestrian Association, discusses a range of topics including Vaccines and Lateral Flow Testing and what they mean for RDA.

Register at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_NrPpA5-YShacUqgu2lISWw

 

Next week’s webinar (15 April) is just for groups in Scotland: The Community & Third Sector Recovery Programme. Register at https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_WPKb5jr3RN-d50Cs8RiHmA

 

New participant form updated

The new participant form has been updated, and can be found here:

www.myrda.org.uk/runningyourgroup/new-participants/new-participants/ 

The main elements that have been updated are:

  • It is now called ‘Participant’ application form, rather than ‘rider, vaulter and driver’ to encompass those joining RDA who are taking part in other non-ridden/driven activities
  • Personal information and preferences – using more inclusive language
  • Additional information on conditions/disabilities – the questions are clearer and use more positive language

Any questions to Marisa at marisa@rda.org.uk

Exclusive film trailer for ‘Spirit Untamed’

Here’s something fun for animated movie fans. The director of the new Dreamworks film, Spirit Untamed, has recorded a special message for RDA, along with the launch of the trailer for the film. Take a look here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZD0r2YtI2h8

Page Last Updated: April 8, 2021

Weekly news 29 March

This week brings our Road to Restart programme to a close with the theme of ‘Funding’ (details below). Can I just say a huge thank you for the positive response we have had from so many of you. I know not all groups are doing everything at the same pace, and many are facing a frustrating wait before riders and drivers can come back, but the planning and preparations are happening and that has been great to see.

Note to groups in England: Confused by the ‘indoor outdoor’ arena question? Updated, clear guidance about RDA sessions here www.myrda.org.uk/runningyourgroup/getting-started-after-lockdown/rules-for-england/

Useful information at MyRDA.org.uk

Our final theme is ‘Funding’, ensuring your group trustees have sufficient confidence in the group’s fundraising capability in order to reopen. The Group Fundraising Support pages of MyRDA contain templates, top tips, ‘how to’ guides and more to help you open up new funding streams and make the most of existing supporters. www.myrda.org.uk/runningyourgroup/group-fundraising-events/

30-minute webinar: Thursday 1 April 7pm, Inspirational Fundraising: some case studies

As we all know, raising money is fundamental to everything we do at RDA and this week we will meet some of RDA’s inspirational fundraisers who have encouraged individuals, communities, organisations and others to donate. Please join us if you can. 

Register at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_27p3ZusnR_K9pUg3VR281w  

Next week’s 30-minute webinar: Thursday 8 April 7pm, COVID-19 the medical perspective

Dr Megan Hardman, Chair of the Medical Equestrian Association, discusses a range of topics including Vaccines and Lateral Flow Testing and what they mean for RDA.

Register at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_NrPpA5-YShacUqgu2lISWw

After the Road to Restart

While our 5 week restart programme may be coming to an end, we know the work continues. All the resources created and compiled for this project will continue to be available as and when you need them. MyRDA will be kept up to date in line with UK and devolved government changes.

Thursday 30-minute webinars will continue, and we will always record them. They are generally available to view on the MyRDA YouTube Channel by the end of the following day. www.youtube.com/channel/UCrI8v8J0WoEXNCu25ktkm0Q . If you have any suggestions for topics you would like us to cover in the coming weeks and months, please let me know.

Other news in brief

  • Showjumping Coach Training: 31 March, 4-5:30pm. Mike Butcher will be delivering training for coaches who would like to know how to train up to levels 3 and 4. Please register at https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAqf-uhqTwvE91_IHeSr8phmlOnJ8FJPgr3
  • A reminder that the Annual Health Check and Pre-Purchase Examination Policy for equines have come into effect from 1 January 2021. More at: myrda.org.uk/runningyourgroup/policies/
  • Following the recent outbreak of EHV, British Equestrian have produced an Equine Health Status Declaration Form, which must be completed for any horse attending a show, training or activity run under the affiliation and rules of any British Equestrian member body (of which RDA is one) between 29 March and 12 April 2021. Details and form at: myrda.org.uk/runningyourgroup/horses-and-rda/
  • There is a new Facebook group called RDA Equine. It is a closed group for ‘horse wanted’ or ‘for sale’ adverts only.
  • All groups who own and loan their own RDA equines will have received an email with a link to an online survey called Project Equine. The survey is designed to help us understand the issues groups face in finding suitable equines. If you need the link email ebayliss@rda.org.uk.
  • 15% off ticket offer for Horsefest by joining HorseTribe. Details at https://horsefest.org/register/free/
Page Last Updated: April 8, 2021

Weekly news 22 March

This week we are focussing on ‘Participants & Partners’, making sure our riders and drivers feel confident about returning to RDA activities, and helping to prepare partner organisations (such as schools) for bringing clients back when the time is right.

Useful information at MyRDA.org.uk

The participant assessment tool, example rider induction briefing, participant consent form and (with thanks to Tara Munro of Gordon RDA), a certificate for riders can all be found under ‘Volunteers & Participants’ at www.myrda.org.uk/runningyourgroup/getting-started-after-lockdown/are-you-ready-to-restart/

Here you will also find guidance on working with schools and information for schools about RDA activities.

Helpful films on our MyRDA YouTube Channel

There is a range of videos and presentations relevant to this week on our YouTube Channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrI8v8J0WoEXNCu25ktkm0Q

These include:

  • Rider Interview – An interview with Jean Reid, Participant Rep at Grampian Highland, about her experiences and insight having returned to riding with Moray RDA in the Autumn. This also includes the video Moray created to help familiarise riders with the ‘new normal’.
  • Communication with riders – Lynne Munro’s section in the ‘Road to Restart: Coaching’ webinar contains great information about the rider application form, COVID consent form and completing a rider assessment (about 6:40 minutes in)

30-minute webinar: Thursday 25 March 7pm, Working with schools

Sandra O’Connell of Ashmount School in Leicestershire will give advice and guidance about encouraging schools to bring pupils back to RDA activities.

Register at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_spe8KqFORByjI4g78rDkcQ

Other news in brief

  • Endurance – The RDA Endurance League will restart on 1 April. This will run for twelve months to give more groups the chance to log some miles. Participants can also use a mechanical horse (though they still need to take a real horse’s heart rate!). Carriage Driving groups can add Endurance to their activities. Application form and more info at https://www.myrda.org.uk/runningyourgroup/endurance/
Page Last Updated: April 8, 2021

Weekly news

I hope you all enjoyed Her Royal Highness’ video message. Many of you have commented on how lucky we are to have such an informed and understanding President, and I am sure she will have inspired a few groups to think about restarting. If you haven’t seen it yet, it is still available at www.youtube.com/channel/UCrI8v8J0WoEXNCu25ktkm0Q

This week’s theme is all about ‘Equine Readiness’, making sure our RDA horses and ponies are as ready for restart as the rest of us.

Equine restart information at MyRDA.org.uk

The COVID Equine Assessment form is a useful checklist for reintroducing horses into RDA work and can be found here: www.myrda.org.uk/runningyourgroup/horses-and-rda/ . Also here you will find details of our free vaccine scheme for RDA horses and ponies who ‘contribute a significant amount of their time to RDA activities’, and details of the Regional Vets and Regional Equine Advisors who are on hand to help.  

The Road to Restart page (www.myrda.org.uk/runningyourgroup/getting-started-after-lockdown/) includes information on Hippotherapy.

Helpful films on our MyRDA YouTube Channel

There is a range of videos and presentations relevant to this week on our YouTube Channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrI8v8J0WoEXNCu25ktkm0Q

These include:

  • Getting Horses used to PPE
  • Training Equines

30-minute webinar: Thursday 18 March 7pm, Road to Restart, All about Horses

Doug Smith, Equine Lead, will look at the resources available to help groups with reintroducing RDA horses and ponies. Bethan Randles, National Training Centre Manager will offer advice about communicating with riding schools about restarting sessions, and Eileen Cornish, our new Carriage Driving Lead, will look at reintroducing horses and ponies to driving.

Register at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_WcbFLEO3QoiGgvqssOO2LQ

Other news in brief

  • EHV Outbreak – We are monitoring the EHV situation and there is information from Nick Hart, RDA Honorary Vet here: myrda.org.uk/runningyourgroup/horses-and-rda/  . If you are concerned about an equine’s immediate health please consult your vet. For general advice your Regional Vet is a good point of contact. More useful advice on equine health and biosecurity here: www.msd-animal-health-hub.co.uk/Healthy-Horses
  • Business awards & grants – Do check your local council’s website for Business Awards and Grants. Although many of the current schemes are for business rates payers, we have recently heard about one or two RDA groups that have been successful in gaining discretionary awards, despite not paying business rates.  Many of the schemes close to new applicants at the end of March.
  • Royal visits – Regional Chairs have been sent the bid forms for royal visits, so do ask if you have not received one yet and would like to put a bid in. Bids should be submitted by 29 March to Amanda Perkins (aperkins@rda.org.uk ). This is for visits between 1 September 2021 and 31 January 2022.
  • CP Sport 20th Anniversary Party – Everyone is invited to this free celebratory event on Saturday 27 March 7pm. Details and booking here: https://cpsport.azolve.com/workbench/public/events?ref=46898EA1DFD439C968200F80F199C3524B61A246
Page Last Updated: April 8, 2021

Weekly news 8 March

A message from our President

In support of the ‘Road to restart’, RDA President, Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal has recorded a special message for groups. Please watch and share with your RDA community using this link: https://youtu.be/RnwUUDrhWOo

 

Step by step information at MyRDA.org.uk

We have created a ‘Road to Restart’ page at www.myrda.org.uk/runningyourgroup/getting-started-after-lockdown/. This contains many of our existing resources, and some new ones, ordered step-by-step to make it easier for you to know what to do when.

 

Helpful films on our MyRDA YouTube Channel

There is a range of new videos and presentations relevant to this week on our YouTube Channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrI8v8J0WoEXNCu25ktkm0Q

These include:

  • Road to Restart – a 20-minute step-by-step narrated presentation about how to restart
  • Getting your site ready – a visit to the National Training Centre to see how they are using signage and hygiene stations to prepare for restart

During this week we will also be adding presentations about:

  • How to complete a COVID-19 risk assessment
  • How to complete a trustee checklist

 

30-minute webinar: Thursday 11 March 7pm, Things to consider before restarting

Sarah Healing (Greater London, Regional Coach) and Lynne Munro (West Mercia, Regional Coach and Physio) will be chatting about the most important things for group coaches to consider before inviting participants back – and ensuring a safe environment for the whole team.

Register at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_wwHWqRPLSICOEjvDsxBa7g

 

Other news in brief

  • New Carriage Driving Lead: Eileen Cornish has been appointed as the new National Lead for Carriage Driving. Eileen brings a wealth of carriage driving experience and knowledge and I am sure you will join me in welcoming her to this role. 
  • Virtual National Championships: Regional Chairs and Regional Qualifier Organisers have been briefed on the plans for this event, and will be in touch with you in due course about when and how Regional Qualifiers will be held (by video entry). In the meantime, you can find the schedule and other information for the September Virtual National Championships at myrda.org.uk/runningyourgroup/national-championships/ . There is a training video for Countryside Challenge and a ‘how to film your competition entry’ video on YouTube here: www.youtube.com/channel/UCrI8v8J0WoEXNCu25ktkm0Q
  • D of E Groups: Please complete the annual survey for D of E by Monday 29th March surveymonkey.co.uk/r/dofesurvey
  • Regional Equine Advisors & Vets: Please remember about the equine welfare support available to your group from your regional team, via your Regional Equine Advisor and Regional Vet.
Page Last Updated: March 8, 2021

Weekly news 1 March

Please find here the first of your new Monday emails, as we launch our 5-week ‘Road to Restart’ programme. This week’s theme is ‘Trustee Confidence’.

This week, we want to shine a light on the vital role Group Trustees play in helping groups to restart after lockdown. Even if your group can’t welcome riders or drivers back immediately, trustees at all groups can make huge progress towards reopening by planning and preparing ahead of time.

Please remember to circulate these Monday group emails to your whole group. If you are the designated group contact, sharing information from RDA UK is a key part of your role, so please help everyone to be informed and up to date.

 

Tuesday 2 March 1pm – lunchtime webinar with Ed Bracher ‘Trustees: Leading Groups out of Lockdown ’

This Tuesday lunchtime, RDA UK Chief Executive Ed Bracher will be presenting a webinar looking at the role of group trustees in preparing groups to restart. With our research showing that supportive trustees are the single most important factor in helping groups to get going, Ed will highlight how trustees can lead their groups out of lockdown.

Registration at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_1AxkAds2Rv-itPkuvlXQTw

We would like to prioritise Group Trustees attending this session. If registration is full, the talk will be available by the following morning at our YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/channel/UCrI8v8J0WoEXNCu25ktkm0Q .

 

Thursday 4 March, 30-minute webinar, 7pm – ‘Road to Restart: Trustees in Conversation’

This Thursday’s ’30-minute webinar’ features Barbara Manson (Regional Chair for Grampian & Highland, Group Trustee at Gordon RDA) and Pauline Roestenburg (Regional Chair for South East, Group Chair at Chalkdown RDA). Pauline and Barbara will help Group Trustees feel more confident about planning for restart, drawing on their own experiences both at their groups and within their regions.

Registration at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_-qXOqf0vQ16fy9lXXWSH8A  

 

Unsure how to get your trustees together on Zoom?

RDA YouTube recorded webinar: ‘Zoom, The Basics’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Qd2A0EpPfc&feature=youtu.be 

This step-by-step guide from Director of Operations Anna Hall will help support any trustees who have yet to embrace the dreaded Zoom meeting!

 

Talk to other Group Trustees

Contact your Regional Chair or Marisa at RDA National Office (marisa@rda.org.uk) to be put in touch with a group that has been signed off for restart. It could be you want inspiration from a group local to you, or you want to find one in a similar situation to find out how they tackled specific challenges – either way, there is plenty of support and expertise out there to help your Trustees.

 

Where to get help

Contact your County or Regional Chair, or call the RDA Group Support Team at National Office on 01926 492915 or groupsupport@rda.org.uk

 

Other news in brief

Page Last Updated: March 8, 2021

Weekly news 23 February

UK Government announcement

The announcement from Boris Johnson yesterday gives a clear commitment to the easing of restrictions, with two key dates of interest to RDA.

From 8 March, schools will be reopening in England. While this does not relate to RDA activity specifically, groups in England who are already signed off to restart might choose to take this opportunity to open using the exemption for outdoor organised disability sport, if they have not already done so. The details of this can be found on MyRDA at www.myrda.org.uk/runningyourgroup/getting-started-after-lockdown/rules-for-england/

29 March signals a return to outdoor organised sport in England. Where this is formally organised, for example through RDA, these will not be subject to the gatherings limits, but should be compliant with guidance issued by national governing bodies. For us, this is a limit of 30 people.

From this date or soon after we would hope that all signed off groups in England will choose to reopen in some form, and that other groups will actively prepare to do so.

Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland

From last Monday, some school years returned in Scotland and Wales but the restrictions around other aspects of life, including impact on RDA sessions, has not currently changed since the beginning of the year.

An announcement today from Nicola Sturgeon sets out a plan for more school years to return from 15 March at the earliest with a possibility of opening up non-contact outdoor sport for u18s, the stay at home restriction to be lifted from 5 April alongside the final phase of school reopening and then a gradual reopening thereafter. There is an expectation that Scotland could leave Level 4 restrictions from the last week in April with wider reopening of facilities in some areas.  In Northern Ireland some school years will return from 8 March but currently there are no other changes planned to restrictions until 1 April, subject to review. 

Please be aware we are expecting further updates from the other devolved governments.

 

Road to Restart

Of course, we know there will be groups that won’t be able to welcome riders back a soon as the end of March and there are good reasons for this. What really matters at the moment is making sure your trustees and volunteers feel motivated and encouraged to get together and start their planning.

Over the next 5 weeks, I will be changing the weekly emails to reflect this change of focus. Each week will have a different theme relating to the ‘Road to Restart’, signposting webinars, guidance and any other resources to help with your planning.

I will send emails on a Monday instead of Thursday, to introduce the theme for that week (along with the usual news). The 5 weeks takes us to 29 March to coincide with what will hopefully be some good news from the Government.

As ever, if you need help with any aspect of your planning and preparations for the coming weeks and months please do get in touch with your brilliant Regional reps or the National Office team. There is also a wealth of experience among groups that managed to reopen last year, many of whom would be more than happy to share what they have learned with others.

 

30-minute webinars

This week: 25 Feb , 7pm, Advice on First Aid provision & training during lockdown

This will cover changing first aid needs during lockdown, managing and accessing training (and course options) and things RDA groups need to know to be safe and prepared. Please note this is not a First Aid training course!

Register at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_gRC9MxNlTNKx9hpUliEgpA

Bonus webinar!

25 Feb – 5-7pm Show Jumping Training

Mike Butcher will take you through all the RDA levels, with a focus on introducing it to your sessions. Open to all. Register at:

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0kc-6qrT8qEtXNKAjR0rSaxKJWu_taNF7e

Page Last Updated: March 8, 2021

Weekly news 18 February

Congratulations to the whole team at Park Lane Stables in London. If you haven’t heard the news (and I’m pretty sure it will be all over the news!), they smashed their £1million crowd funder target this morning, after a tireless publicity campaign, culminating in a piece on BBC Breakfast which inspired donations of just under half a million pounds in 2 hours. Along the way, the campaign has done a huge amount to raise awareness of RDA’s work more generally, and been a fantastic showcase for the impact we make in our local communities. An inspirational campaign and a great outcome.

30-minute webinars

Tonight: 7pm, RDA and Education

Coaching Lead Karen Thompson will be presenting and answering questions about all things RDA Education: Endeavour Awards, Proficiency Tests and Asdan – as well as giving an insight into her own group’s activities during lockdown. Any questions for Karen email Lyndsay Wager lwager@rda.org.uk

Register at https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_GdbkV52TTWi74FE5uFeYjw

 

Next week:  25 Feb, 7pm, Advice on First Aid provision & training during lockdown

This will cover changing first aid needs during lockdown, managing and accessing training (and course options) and things RDA groups need to know to be safe and prepared. Please note this is not a First Aid training course!

Register at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_gRC9MxNlTNKx9hpUliEgpA

 

Bonus webinar!

25 Feb – 5-7pm Show Jumping Training

Mike Butcher will take you through all the RDA levels, with a focus on introducing it to your sessions. Open to all. Register at:

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0kc-6qrT8qEtXNKAjR0rSaxKJWu_taNF7e

 

Zoom training from Bennington Carriages

Bennington Carriages are offering Zoom training sessions for newsletter subscribers. The first one was ‘Harnessing up – Part 1’ with great questions, discussion and fun for all. To find out more about upcoming sessions, subscribe to the newsletter via the link https://www.benningtoncarriages.co.uk/  You can also follow them on Facebook: www.facebook.com/BenningtonCarriagesGB

 

Reminder: SEIB Search for a Star

SEIB are once again hosting an RDA Virtual Search for a Star Showing Class. Virtual SEIB Search for a Star will take place at Your Horse Virtually Live on the 10 and 11 April 2021. Entries are now open and they close on the 8 March. For more information visit:

www.seib.co.uk/competitions/search-4-a-star-rda/    

Page Last Updated: March 8, 2021

Weekly news 11 February

If you missed last week’s BBC news feature about us, you can watch the report on BBC Sport here: www.bbc.co.uk/sport/av/disability-sport/55949440 . Around 6.8 million viewers tune in to the 6pm news and I know some groups have benefited directly from people contacting them after seeing the programme, so I hope your group did too.

30-minute webinars
Tonight: Tea with a Pony: 7pm
Find out more from Claire Jenkins (Cotswold RDA and RDA UK Trustee) and RDA staff member Lucy Stokes about this popular project, the impact it is making on those who take part, and the benefits to the group. Register at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_HxQN0jUFRsWqpw1cy5PkXQ
Next week: 18 Feb, Education & Taking Part at Home
Coaching Lead Karen Thompson will be presenting and answering questions about activities for participants to do at home, Proficiency Tests and Asdan – as well as giving an insight into her own group’s activities during lockdown. Any questions for Karen email Lyndsay Wager lwager@rda.org.uk
Register at https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_GdbkV52TTWi74FE5uFeYjw
25 Feb: Advice on First Aid provision & training during lockdown
This will cover changing first aid needs during lockdown, managing and accessing training (and course options) and things RDA groups need to know to be safe and prepared. Please note this is not a First Aid training course!
Register at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_gRC9MxNlTNKx9hpUliEgpA

Subscribe to MyRDA YouTube Channel
So that you can watch all these webinars and other useful videos in your own time, I have set up a new RDA YouTube Channel called MyRDA, which I will be adding videos to over the next few weeks. You can find it here: www.youtube.com/channel/UCrI8v8J0WoEXNCu25ktkm0Q
If we get enough subscribers, I can change the web address to something more memorable, so please do visit the channel and subscribe – that way you’ll also hear about new films as they are uploaded.

SEIB Search for a Star
SEIB are once again hosting an RDA Virtual Search for a Star Showing Class. Virtual SEIB Search for a Star will take place at Your Horse Virtually Live on the 10 and 11 April 2021. Entries are now open and they close on the 8 March. For more information visit:
www.seib.co.uk/competitions/search-4-a-star-rda/
Also don’t forget the SEIB Livery Yard & Riding School of the Year Awards, which close on 16 March. More info here: www.seib.co.uk/awards/?fbclid=IwAR37J9BovVoulvY1DvaaiEXKv57bvAbuvKxCzmlFh4vE5qRDq8hI7myhSOU

Looking after your mental health
Finally, if you are struggling with your mental health during this time, do try to get help. Reaching out to others can feel like the very last thing you want to do, but there are people and organisations who can help. We have signposted some support-providers here: www.myrda.org.uk/runningyourgroup/getting-started-after-lockdown/supporting-our-people/

Page Last Updated: March 8, 2021

Weekly news 4 February

tonight’s BBC TV News at 6pm will (fingers crossed) include a story about the impact of COVID and lockdown on RDA and our participants. We are grateful to Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal, for agreeing to be interviewed for the story, and to members of Chalkdown RDA for helping to make this happen.

The BBC filmed Michael riding and interviewed his mum to highlight the benefits of our activities for the small number of riders who are able to continue at the moment, and to raise awareness of the many more who can’t. They interviewed The Princess Royal this morning, who was well-briefed on the situation at groups, the impact on riders and volunteers, the ways RDA has adapted to the crisis and the challenges of restarting.

Thank you to everyone involved for making it possible to raise awareness of our work in this way, during very difficult circumstances. I hope you enjoy watching it tonight – and fingers crossed a bigger story doesn’t come along to bump us off the schedule!

Cancellation of National Championships

After further deliberation between the organisers and the RDA UK Board of Trustees, and consultation with the wider RDA community, we have sadly decided not to run a face-to-face National Championships this year. There is a letter on MyRDA from Championships Lead, Anne Coney and Chief Executive Ed Bracher, which goes into more detail, and if your group usually competes I would urge you to download and share this with your volunteers and participants. You can find it here: www.myrda.org.uk/runningyourgroup/national-championships/#

Virtual Championships

In better news, we will definitely be holding a ‘Virtual Championships’, which may even allow more riders and drivers to take part. Details of this will be circulated as soon as possible.

If you have any questions about the Championships, please contact Fiona Harris fharris@rda.org.uk

End of E-Learning extensions to Safeguarding Certificates.

We have had an exemption in place allowing those who needed face-to-face safeguarding training to update via the e-learning course for a second time. This exemption was valid for a year and comes to an end on 31 March.

From 1 April, all those needing face-to-face training will need to attend a course either in person when allowed, or via live online courses using platforms such as Zoom. RDA is able to run online courses free of charge for up to 20 participants. Other equestrian organisations such as BHS and Pony Club offer the same training.

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

30-minute webinars

This week: Zoom, the basics: 7pm tonight

The 30-minute webinar tonight at 7pm is about Organising and Managing Zoom meetings – with a focus on the real basics for those that have not done this before: how to set up a free Zoom account and set up and run a meeting, with a particular focus on ways to engage volunteers.  It will be hosted by Anna Hall, Director of Operations and Faye McKenning, Projects Coordinator, Volunteer Development.

Register at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_al7Q-QuETe6GZBmQUBiCBQ

If you have any questions you would like answered please email them ahead of time to fmckenning@rda.org.uk  

Next week: 11 Feb, Tea with a Pony project

Find out more from Cotswold RDA’s Claire Jenkins about this popular project, the impact it is making on those who take part, and the benefits to the group.  More details next week. Registration at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_HxQN0jUFRsWqpw1cy5PkXQ

YouTube Channel

If you were unable to attend Doug’s webinar on training horses during lockdown, a recording of the session can be found on our new MyRDA YouTube Channel: https://youtu.be/nVhad9UITrI

The channel is a bit empty at the moment, but I will be populating it with training videos and webinars so we can offer a dedicated channel for volunteer learning and development. The main RDAnational YouTube Channel will remain as a public ‘shopfront’ for RDA.

Free vaccination scheme for RDA horses

For a number of years, pharmaceutical companies have supplied free vaccines for RDA equines ‘who contribute a significant amount of their time doing RDA activities’. Claiming the free vaccine is easy: just print off the form from MyRDA, ask the vet to fill it in when the equine has their jabs and then send a copy to the pharmaceutical company. For more information, please visit www.myrda.org.uk/runningyourgroup/horses-and-rda/vaccinations/#

Endurance News

Certificates for everyone who completed the Endurance League will be posted within the next week.

RDA members are eligible for Endurance GB Club Membership or can join as Supporters (which is FREE) and as part of that can register as Para Endurance Riders (even those who are traditionally unclassifiable).

Visit https://egb.myclubhouse.co.uk/Cms/Spaces/JOINING/Club+Membership for details.

SEIB Livery Yard & Riding School of the Year Awards

Entries for this year’s awards close on 16 March and there is a category for RDA Centres. More info here: www.seib.co.uk/awards/?fbclid=IwAR37J9BovVoulvY1DvaaiEXKv57bvAbuvKxCzmlFh4vE5qRDq8hI7myhSOU

Page Last Updated: February 4, 2021

Weekly news 28 January

Emergency grants to groups

Tomorrow is the deadline for the current round of group grants. All information and the application form can be found here:  www.myrda.org.uk/runningyourgroup/group-fundraising

Training Horses During Lockdown webinar, tonight at 7pm

There are a few spaces left for tonight’s 30 minute webinar about training horses during lockdown. The session features Equine Lead Doug Smith answering your questions, hosted by our very own Emma Bayliss. Register to join at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_mquTojfESQKMrqvmTivtCg      

Equine Behaviour & Training webinar, Monday 1 Feb, 7:30pm

Another great learning opportunity, this time from Regional Vet Tess Fordham. This talk will outline the basics of equine behaviour and training with a particular focus on training horses to park as well as training techniques for safe handling in a post-covid RDA setting. It is relevant for coaches, participants, volunteers, families, carers and staff.

Register for this at: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYodemrpz4jGNQWWojcKjKhYTB0ReaAjb9I

More webinars from RDA UK are planned for the next few weeks. The next will be at 7pm on 4 Feb and will be about how to make the most of your personal zoom account. I’ll circulate the registration link in next week’s email.

Updates to the RDA Rulebook

The RDA Rulebook has been updated. If you are not familiar with it, the rulebook contains equipment rules for RDA sessions, as well as competition rules. For 2021, the rule changes are available as inserts to the 2020 book. They will soon be going online, but you can also request a hard copy of the updates here: www.myrda.org.uk/runningyourgroup/national-championships/rulebook-request/

South West Regional Chair vacancy

If you or someone you know might be interested in the above role, please email Faye McKenning at fmckenning@rda.org.uk

Helping with some interesting university research

If you would like to, we are asking groups to circulate the information below to any of your adult riders who have Cerebral Palsy. Charlotte is undertaking an interesting research project and we would like to help if possible.

Study Participants Needed

Self-Reported Physical Activity Levels in Adults with Cerebral Palsy: An insight into a UK population

Are you an adult 18 years or over?  Do you have mild to moderate cerebral palsy (GMFCS levels 1 to 4)?

Hi, my name is Charlotte Kreiner and I am a Masters student studying Physiotherapy (Pre-registration) at the University of Brighton.

  • For my Masters Dissertation, I am looking for adults (18 years and over) with mild to moderate cerebral palsy (GMFCS levels 1 to 4) to participate in a brief online survey.
  • The survey will aim to help provide an insight into physical activity levels of adults with cerebral palsy in the UK, as well as factors that can affect physical activity levels.
  • Physical activity involves any voluntary movement including walking (including with a frame or propelling chair), housework, horse-riding, or swimming for example.
  • Participation is voluntary. The online survey will be anonymous, take approximately 20 minutes to self-complete (with/without a carer to use a keyboard if required), and after submitting the online survey, this will complete your involvement in the survey.
  • You will need access to an internet-enabling device to complete the survey.

If you have any questions related to your involvement in the study or would like the participant information sheet for further information, please contact Charlotte Kreiner (c.kreiner1@uni.brighton.ac.uk).

If you would consider participating in the study, please click on the survey link here: https://brighton.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/self-reported-physical-activity-levels-in-adults-with-cere-3

Page Last Updated: January 28, 2021

Weekly news 21 January

Congratulations to Susan Hewetson-Brown of Newbury Pony Driving group for receiving the Dudley-Smith Award, which recognises volunteers who have made an important contribution to RDA Carriage Driving.

Emergency grants to groups

A reminder that our current grants round for groups closes on 29 January. All information and the application form can be found here:  www.myrda.org.uk/runningyourgroup/group-fundraising

Carriage Driving Lead

After years of dedicated service, Margaret Brockie is stepping down from her role as Carriage Driving Lead. Margaret has done a huge amount to encourage and develop driving with RDA (including the introduction of Driving to the National Championships), and to promote RDA Driving to the outside world. She has been a huge support to the staff team, the Driving Committee and our Driving groups around the UK. Thank you Margaret for everything you have given to the role.

We are now looking for a new Carriage Driving Lead. If you would like to register your interest, please email Emma Bayliss ebayliss@rda.org.uk

New webinar series

We are introducing a new series of webinars on a range of topics, kicking off next Thursday 28 at 7pm with an interview with RDA Equine Lead, Doug Smith. Doug will be answering questions about equine training during lockdown.

To register for this webinar visit:

https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_mquTojfESQKMrqvmTivtCg  (If registration is full or you can’t make the date, a recording will be available afterwards).

If you have a question for Doug please email it to Emma Bayliss as soon as possible ebayliss@rda.org.uk

If you would like to suggest a topic for future webinars relating to lockdown and restarting, please email groupsupport@rda.org.uk

Creative Writing Competition

Please spread the word about the Creative Writing Competition. Entries close on 26 February. It is open to RDA participants of all ages and abilities and entry is completely free. All entries will receive a rosette, with a prize for the overall winners.

More details and an entry form can be found here: www.myrda.org.uk/runningyourgroup/education-asdan/  or contact Alex Walker awalker@rda.org.uk or 01926 405971.

Online Accredited Equine Facilitated Learning courses

Here are a couple of great opportunities for those looking to develop their skills in Equine Facilitated Learning, brought to you by Equi-Scotia.

Introduction to Equine Facilitated Learning

The online ‘Intro’ course is a series of three 2-hour evening workshops suitable for anyone with an interest in the subject. Visit www.equi-scotia.com/our-events/  for more details.

Professional Certificate in Equine Facilitated Learning & Development

This qualification is suitable for those with relevant qualifications who are active in the delivery of; education, counselling, coaching, youth work, therapy, equestrian activities and/or mental health services. Visit www.equi-scotia.com/professional-certificate-in-equine-facilitated-learning-efl-and-development/ for more information.

HETI 2021 – call for abstracts

This year’s HETI Conference (June 7-11 – real or virtual) is taking place in Seoul Korea. Under the theme of “Widen the Spectrum”, the organisers will welcome over 800 instructors, therapists, and experts from around the world for an exchange on the developments and future vision for the sector.

The organising committee is accepting submissions of abstracts for talks or poster presentations. If you are interested in taking part, please visit http://heti2021.org/html/user/core/view/basic/main/166/mail/m-e03.html

Free Zoom talk from The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies

Edinburgh & Borders Regional Vet Tess Fordham has arranged for RDA members to be able to join the following free talk:

Wednesday 27th January 7.30pm via Zoom –

Equine Lockdown Lard – so many experts, so few solutions – what’s the latest in equine obesity? Dr Ruth Morgan will be presenting her latest research into equine obesity. 

Sign up here: https://edinburgh.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/equine-client-evenings-jan-20th-730pm-strangles-and-jan

With many thanks to Tess.

An evening with Sophie Christiansen

Sophie Christiansen CBE is giving a talk ‘Pandemic to Paralympics’ on 28 January from 6-7pm on Zoom. The event is a fundraiser for Andover RDA and Sophie’s Gold Club. Details and bookings here: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/charity-web/charity/displayCharityCampaignPage.action?charityCampaignUrl=AndoverRDA-talk

Page Last Updated: January 28, 2021

Weekly news 14 January

Welcome to three new Regional Chairs: In Great London – Paul Turner; Celia McMorran in Northern Ireland and in West & Central Scotland Dominic Ind. Thank you and welcome to you all.

Thanks also to the outgoing Chairs: Julie Frazer (NI), Mike Locke (GL) and Kate Bennet (W&CS) for everything you have done to support your regions and the wider RDA community while in post.

Remember we still have a vacancy for a Regional Chair in the South West. Email Faye at fmckenning@rda.org.uk for details. 

Emergency grants to groups and other funding options

We are pleased to be launching today a third round of grants to provide support through the pandemic.  We have made the process as straightforward as possible, but please read the instructions carefully before applying.  You can apply for a grant for financial hardship; or for a grant to help your group restart (when possible) or adapt to broaden services and benefit more people.  The closing date is 29th January.

All information and the application form can be found here:  

www.myrda.org.uk/runningyourgroup/group-fundraising

A useful list of other funding and financial support information can be found at: https://learn.sportenglandclubmatters.com/mod/page/view.php?id=670

National Championships

It is with a heavy heart that we have decided to review the possibility of running a face-to-face National Championships at Hartpury this year. If you had sight of yesterday’s email to RDA UK volunteers, you will see this is an overnight change to what we said then. I’m sorry if this causes any confusion but please consider today’s email to be our most up to date position.

Originally, our policy was to continue to plan as if there was to be a physical Championships and review it at the time that we would be required to commit any resource to the event.  However, it is clear that the most recent lockdown and the possibility of restrictions continuing for some time means that there will be potential difficulties running regional qualifiers, not to mention the issues that riders will face trying to train for the event.  We are therefore going to review the plan and will make a firm decision in the next week or so.  

I realise this will be a further frustration and disappointment to many people, but I hope you will understand that we need to proceed with caution and also take into consideration how the current restrictions are likely to affect things.

Virtual Championships

Whether or not the face-to-face Championships goes ahead, we will be running a virtual National Championships in September. This will hopefully enable more people to take part and allow us to run classes which otherwise might not have taken place at all this year.

We will confirm our position on the National Championships and provide details about the virtual event as soon as possible.

Sad loss of two RDA ‘stalwarts’

It is with sadness that we report the deaths of Carolyn Walker MCSP from the South West Region, and Jane Matthews from Mid-West.

Carolyn was a long-standing, dedicated RDA supporter and CPTRH member who held many roles over the years, notably as a Chartered Physiotherapist providing support and advice to RDA groups. We will miss Carolyn’s professional caring attitude, her great sense of humour and her love of travel to HETI conferences.

Jane was a great stalwart of RDA in Wiltshire, having in the past held positions such as County Chairman, Chairman of Lackham RDA and latterly Wansdyke Driving Group to name but a few of her roles. She was a tireless fundraiser and driving force for RDA right up until she became unwell, and will be sadly missed.

With thanks to Lynne Munro and Rachel Vaughan-Johns.

Vacancy for RDA UK Chair

A reminder that we are recruiting for a new Chair for RDA UK. Don’t hide your light under a bushel! RDA is full of talented, experienced people who would be ideally placed to bring their knowledge of RDA and leadership skills to our national board. Click the link below for more details, or call Chief Executive Ed Bracher for an informal chat (or if you have someone you would like to recommend).

www.rda.org.uk/join-the-rda-uk-team/

Free NAF garlic supplements

NAF (the feed manufacturer) is offering RDA groups in mainland England, Wales and Scotland free 500g and 10kg tubs of its garlic feed supplement (now discontinued so not to be sold on, but sealed and in date).

Interested groups should fill out the form at the link below. The details will be sent on to NAF for them to allocate supplies, based on the number of horses and how much they have in stock. This is on a first come, first served basis and we can’t guarantee your group will receive some.

Offer closes 22 January. Apply online at:

www.myrda.org.uk/runningyourgroup/horses-and-rda/feed-supplements  

Any questions email Helen at hkallow@rda.org.uk

Horsefest – exclusive ticket offer for RDA members and volunteers

HorseFest is a new, three day festival for horse fans, taking place from July 23 to 25. Visit www.horsefest.org for all the details.

Early bird tickets are on sale now while available or until 28 February. Thanks to the team at HorseFest, we have secured a further discount for RDA members and volunteers with 10% off any Adult, Young Person, Child or Family entry ticket. Just use the code HORSEFESTRDA10 at the checkout on the website.

More information about HorseFest and this exclusive offer at MyRDA here: www.myrda.org.uk/exclusive-horsefest-ticket-offer-for-rda-members/

Page Last Updated: January 28, 2021

Weekly news 10 December

RDA on ITV advert

If you didn’t happen to be watching Supermarket Sweep on Saturday, you may have missed the lovely People’s Postcode Lottery advert featuring RDA. I am allowed to share it until the end of this week, so visit our Facebook page or follow this link and take a look: https://youtu.be/FIcypeD0R70

Restarting hippotherapy

Hippotherapy is now able to restart at those groups that can offer it.  The guidance is now live on the myRDA website, covering details such as training horses and volunteers, as well as the extensive use of personal protective equipment following CSP and CPTRH guidelines.  Visit www.myrda.org.uk/runningyourgroup/getting-started-after-lockdown/24335-2/

We are still looking for groups to send in their ideas for activities that can be done at home, so please be on the look out for resources that you think might be good to share. Email Alex Walker at awalker@rda.org.uk

RDA at Home

Community Sport & Recreation Awards

There is a £1000 prize up for grabs for winners of a Community Sport & Recreation Award, organised by the Sport & Recreation Alliance (of which RDA is a member through the BEF). The awards ‘showcase the very best projects and initiatives at grassroots level’ and they are free to enter. This year’s categories are:

  • Youth Development
  • Resilience in Adversity
  • Mental Health and Wellbeing
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Sustainable Programme

Details and entry form here: www.sportandrecreation.org.uk/pages/awards  The deadline is 21 December.

Vacancy at Cavalier Centre, home of Perry RDA

Cavalier Centre in Shropshire has a maternity leave vacancy for a full time Volunteer Coordinator and Executive Assistant. Click here for details: https://findajob.dwp.gov.uk/details/5078140?v=F34C4BF506DC076027BC125B8D1ACABBE8F63D3D

Page Last Updated: January 28, 2021

Weekly news 3 December

Harry Hall Charity of the Year

Equestrian outfitters Harry Hall are looking for nominations to be one of their three charities of the year in 2021. You can help ensure that RDA is on the shortlist by visiting the Harry Hall Facebook page (@HarryHallRiding) and commenting in the relevant post tagging in @RDANational. Or visit their nominations page at: https://harryhall.com/charity-partnership-donations .

This would be a fantastic opportunity for us so please share with your friends and family as well as your RDA network.

First Aid training

As well as taking bookings directly from RDA Groups and Regions for courses, Medi-K & First Aid Training Cooperative have planned a number of public 1-day ‘Emergency First Aid at Work’ and 3-day ‘First Aid at Work’ courses at venues across the UK in 2021. If you are interested in booking a place or places at one of these courses, please visit: https://firstaidtrainingcooperative.co.uk/public-first-aid-courses/cat-13-equestrian-first-aid/

You can also find a full list of dates for these courses on the events page of MyRDA at www.myrda.org.uk/runningyourgroup/events/

Discount for Groups at Townfields Saddlers

A reminder that Townfield Saddlers offer 15% off online orders to all RDA groups. Just enter the following code at the checkout: RDAS15

Townfields supply everything from stable equipment, clothing, body protectors and hats as well as saddlery. They will even drop off to local yards for bigger bulky orders. Visit www.townfields.com to view their range and to take advantage of this brilliant offer.

A huge thank you to the team at Townfields Saddlers for their continued support of RDA.

RDA Tartan scarves and ties

The RDA scarves are still available to buy from Norvite, despite a run on them after my previous email. They make fantastic Christmas gifts so visit www.norvitefarmandcountry.com/11406/products/rda-50th-anniversary-tartan-lambswool-scarf.aspx and place your order today.

In addition, there are a small number of tartan ties available (I can send you a picture of our Chief Executive, Ed Bracher sporting one at last year’s AGM if you want to know what they look like). They cost £24 including post and packaging (1st class, registered).  If you would like to snap up one of the last 11 ties please email Kim McCutcheon at eandb.region.rda@gmail.com. When they are gone, they are gone!

RDA on ITV Christmas advert

With thanks to Centre of England and Ravelrig groups, RDA features in a Postcode Lottery advert to be aired on Saturday 5 December at 19:15 (during Celebrity Supermarket Sweep!). It’s a lovely thing so please do tune in.

BETA survey

BETA (British Equestrian Trade Association) has launched a new survey to riders covering two main topics:

  • Their perceptions of coaching qualifications, the importance of these when selecting coaches and other criteria used in coach selection.
  • Riding activity and purchasing behaviour since the beginning of the year to better understand spending and riding patterns and in terms of buying channels whether any change is a temporary or permanent one.

The link to the survey is: https://wh1.snapsurveys.com/s.asp?k=160624164105 and you have the opportunity to win a £50 shopping voucher.

Page Last Updated: January 28, 2021

Weekly news 26 November

We are sorry to share the sad news that Pat Burgess, Founder of Wilton RDA in Wiltshire, has sadly passed away. Pat was a much-loved figure throughout RDA, especially of course at her group and in the region. Described as a ‘powerhouse’ of a person, Pat said she ran Wilton on ‘love, joy and enthusiasm’. We could all do with a bit more of that at the moment, and Pat will be sadly missed.

You can read more about Pat here www.rdawilton.co.uk/calendar-news-events/pat-burgess  

Financial support for groups in England

Today’s DMCS announcement of a ‘Winter Survival Package’ will unfortunately not benefit RDA groups. However:

Sport England ‘Return to Play’ funds

There are three funds still open for application from Sport England, part of a wider package of over £220m of support which they have provided since late March (which several groups have already benefited from). Find out more here: www.sportengland.org/how-we-can-help/our-funds 

Support for closed businesses

RDA groups in England that pay business rates may be eligible for a grant following the latest lockdown. Check your eligibility here: www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-your-business-is-eligible-for-a-coronavirus-grant-due-to-national-restrictions-for-closed-businesses

Groups in Scotland entering Level 4

We updated Regional Chairs in Scotland yesterday following the Scottish First Minister’s announcement that will bring a number of areas into Level 4 from this Friday, 20 November at 6pm. If you are affected by the changes or just want to keep up to date visit www.myrda.org.uk/runningyourgroup/getting-started-after-lockdown/rules-for-scotland and read: COVID-19: What it means to groups in Scotland for all the details.

Vacancy: Regional Chair West & Central Scotland

Kate Bennet will be stepping down as Regional Chair for West & Central Scotland after nine successful years in post, and we are now looking for her replacement.  This is a fantastic opportunity to bring your knowledge, experience and professionalism to a key role in RDA UK, so please get in touch to find out more. We also have vacancies for Regional Chairs in Greater London and South West. Contact Faye McKenning in the office (fmckenning@rda.org.uk) if you would like to find out more about these roles – or any other RDA UK volunteer positions currently vacant.

Clare Balding signed bookplates

A reminder that the Clare Balding signed bookplate scheme is open until tomorrow. If you want to take part, here’s how it works:

  • Buy your copies of Heroic Animals as cheaply as you can
  • One coordinator per group, head to myrda.org.uk/clare-balding-book and fill out the details.
  • We’ll send the information to Clare who will sign the bookplates and return them.
  • You stick them into the books and use them for fundraising
  • The scheme closes on 20 November.

This project is being coordinated by Angela Sly at National Office, so any questions please email her at asly@rda.org.uk .

Page Last Updated: January 28, 2021

Exclusive HorseFest Ticket offer for RDA members

HorseFest is a new, three day festival, taking place from July 23 to 25, for all those horse fans with an interest in the equine world, allowing them to come together, learn, celebrate, have fun and create special memories.

And for those who can’t manage to get away for the whole weekend, day tickets are now on sale for the Saturday and Sunday with a packed line-up planned, all for just £65 at the Early Bird day ticket price.

Thanks to the team at HorseFest we have secured a further discount for RDA members and volunteers with 10% off any Adult, Young Person, Child or Family entry ticket. Just use the code HORSEFESTRDA10 at the checkout on the website.

Held at the stunning Weston Park in Shropshire, the event includes a variety of interactive and inclusive performances and demonstrations from top riders and experts across all areas of the equestrian world, all designed to help the HorseFest festivalgoers to learn and develop their own knowledge in an inspirational and caring environment.

Entry to HorseFest whether with a day or weekend ticket, includes workshops, talks, large and small arena demonstrations, as well as music and entertainment into the late evening. Ten headline experts and professionals are already announced and there’s more to come!

If you want to see and watch everything on offer a weekend ticket is a must to ensure you don’t miss out on one of HorseFest’s fantastic headliners.

Across the weekend HorseFest will showcase an amazing 36 Main Arena demonstrations, 124 workshops, talks and interviews to participate in; a wellbeing zone, children’s area for family fun, equestrian and lifestyle trade stands, delicious catering, three nights of music, bands and DJs; and there’s six ways to stay, from tents to live in vehicles, glamping or cottages and rooms in Weston Park if you want to enjoy the full magical experience.

Saturday so far includes:

  • Eventing mother and daughter duo, Mary and Emily King
  • Grand Prix dressage rider Sam Turner and her traditional gypsy cob, Billy Whiz
  • Performance psychologist Charlie Unwin
  • UK based Australian Horseman, Jason Webb
  • All action stuntman himself, Ben Atkinson
  • Dressage legend and renowned story teller, Steph Croxford
  • Event rider and presenter Jonty Evans with Cooley Rorkes Drift
  • Jamaican event rider and mentor, Lydia Heywood
  • Gillian Higgins of Horses Inside Out

Sunday so far includes:

  • Leading showjumper and trainer, Jay Halim
  • Top event rider Lissa Green
  • UK based Australian Horseman, Jason Webb
  • Event rider and presenter Jonty Evans with Cooley Rorkes Drift
  • Gillian Higgins of Horses Inside Out
  • Dressage legend and renowned story teller, Steph Croxford
  • All action stuntman himself, Ben Atkinson
  • Jamaican event rider and mentor, Lydia Heywood

With leading names already signed up, topics covered will include training on and off the ground, saddlery fitting, biomechanics, physiology of horse and rider and many more – there will be something for everyone to get involved with and enjoy whilst learning.

As well as the educational element, socialising is a key ingredient in the HorseFest mix, and the horse world does love a party!

At night, unwind, relax or dance the night away with the live music and entertainment or get involved with fun quizzes as you treat yourself to a drink or two!

Throughout the event there will be a variety of tasty and innovative food stalls and bars as well as a shopping village that will include horsey and lifestyle stands to browse and enjoy.

Not forgetting the little ones, the festival will have fairground activities, a play area, arts and crafts and hugely popular hobby horse races to keep children entertained.

Early Bird Adult Ticket Prices are available until they are sold out or February 28, 2021. Come along for the whole weekend and stay 3 nights for £165 per adult or day tickets are £65 per adult You can bring the family (2 adults and 2 young persons and/or children) for the weekend for  £350 or a family day ticket is £150.

For further information and to book your tickets visit www.horsefest.org

ENDS

For further information please contact Issy Cooke at TSM on (01724) 784600.

Page Last Updated: January 13, 2021

Weekly News 19 November

We are sorry to share the sad news that Pat Burgess, Founder of Wilton RDA in Wiltshire, has sadly passed away. Pat was a much-loved figure throughout RDA, especially of course at her group and in the region. Described as a ‘powerhouse’ of a person, Pat said she ran Wilton on ‘love, joy and enthusiasm’. We could all do with a bit more of that at the moment, and Pat will be sadly missed.
You can read more about Pat here www.rdawilton.co.uk/calendar-news-events/pat-burgess

Financial support for groups in England
Today’s DMCS announcement of a ‘Winter Survival Package’ will unfortunately not benefit RDA groups. However:
Sport England ‘Return to Play’ funds
There are three funds still open for application from Sport England, part of a wider package of over £220m of support which they have provided since late March (which several groups have already benefited from). Find out more here: www.sportengland.org/how-we-can-help/our-funds
Support for closed businesses
RDA groups in England that pay business rates may be eligible for a grant following the latest lockdown. Check your eligibility here: www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-your-business-is-eligible-for-a-coronavirus-grant-due-to-national-restrictions-for-closed-businesses

Groups in Scotland entering Level 4
We updated Regional Chairs in Scotland yesterday following the Scottish First Minister’s announcement that will bring a number of areas into Level 4 from this Friday, 20 November at 6pm. If you are affected by the changes or just want to keep up to date visit www.myrda.org.uk/runningyourgroup/getting-started-after-lockdown/rules-for-scotland and read: COVID-19: What it means to groups in Scotland for all the details.

Vacancy: Regional Chair West & Central Scotland
Kate Bennet will be stepping down as Regional Chair for West & Central Scotland after nine successful years in post, and we are now looking for her replacement. This is a fantastic opportunity to bring your knowledge, experience and professionalism to a key role in RDA UK, so please get in touch to find out more. We also have vacancies for Regional Chairs in Greater London and South West. Contact Faye McKenning in the office (fmckenning@rda.org.uk) if you would like to find out more about these roles – or any other RDA UK volunteer positions currently vacant.

Clare Balding signed bookplates
A reminder that the Clare Balding signed bookplate scheme is open until tomorrow. If you want to take part, here’s how it works:

  • Buy your copies of Heroic Animals as cheaply as you can
  • One coordinator per group, head to www.myrda.org.uk/clare-balding-book and fill out the details.
  • We’ll send the information to Clare who will sign the bookplates and return them.
  • You stick them into the books and use them for fundraising
  • The scheme closes on 20 November.

This project is being coordinated by Angela Sly at National Office, so any questions please email her at asly@rda.org.uk .

Page Last Updated: November 19, 2020

New look Operations Team at National Office – changes explained

There have been a few changes to the Operations staff team at National Office. We have moved away from having a member of staff responsible for each activity area (e.g. dressage, showjumping, carriage driving etc.) and instead now have teams covering specific areas of our work, eg:

  • Training & Education (which deals with any qualifications, coaching pathway, training around delivering sessions, participant education, Proficiency Tests etc)
  • Group Support (safeguarding, governance)

Your first point of contact if you are not sure who to speak to is the Group Support Team who can be contacted at groupsupport@rda.org.uk and 01926 492915 and then pressing option 2 followed by option 1.

Please find here a brief presentation that explains this new structure, which was presented at the October 2020 Operational Planning Committee Meeting and the November 2020 Regional Chairs Meeting, which you might find interesting.

201117_OPs_team

Also you can view the whole staff team and their contact details here: www.myrda.org.uk/about-rda/meet-the-team/ 

Page Last Updated: November 18, 2020

Weekly News 12 November

Clare Balding signed bookplates

The Clare Balding signed bookplate scheme is now open! If you want to take part, here’s how it will work:

  • Buy your copies of Heroic Animals as cheaply as you can (currently on Amazon for just £10)
  • One coordinator per group, head to myrda.org.uk/clare-balding-book and fill out the details.
  • We’ll send the information to Clare who will sign the bookplates and return them.
  • You stick them into the books and use them for fundraising
  • The scheme is open for 2 weeks and closes on 20 November.

This project is being coordinated by Angela Sly at National Office, so any questions please email her at asly@rda.org.uk .

Award winners

Congratulations to President’s Award winners Sue Robson (Richmond & Catterick); Jane McMurray (Lisburn RDA); Brigid Hamill (Windsor & Ascot); Lynne Munro (Perry RDA); Isobel Buchanan (Winton); Anne Mitchell (Barrow Farm); Lesley Furnell and Zara Campbell Harris (Wyfold – who received her award earlier this year).

The RDA ‘Brilliant’ awards went to Trish Clarke (Gareloch); Teagan Murphy (South Bucks); Natalie O’Rourke (Park Lane Stables) and Equipower Group. These awards were kindly supported by Childs Farm, players of Peoples Postcode Lottery, Oliver Wight and Andrews Bowen.

The Birt Spooner Cup, awarded to someone who has gone over and above to promote the cause of RDA, was awarded to Sue Adams-Wheeler, Lead Coach for 10 years and International Liaison Officer. Congratulations Sue. Sue gave a very interesting talk at the AGM. You can watch a recording of this on our YouTube channel, along with the acceptance videos of the Brilliant Award winners, at www.youtube.com/rdanational

More details about the AGM and award winners here in the latest news stories at: www.myrda.org.uk/category/news/

Creative Writing competition

Back by popular demand, the Creative Writing Competition is open! The form and poster are on MyRDA for you to use, and we will also be sharing on social media so that participants can enter directly if they wish. The competition closes on 26 Feb 2021 so there’s plenty of time for riders and drivers to join in.

You can download the information and entry form here (this link may immediately download the document, so don’t be surprised if that happens!): www.myrda.org.uk/assets/Creative-Writing-Competition-Entry-Form-2021.docx

And the poster here: www.myrda.org.uk/assets/Creative-Writing-Competition-Poster-2021-1.pdf

Thanks to Godolphin for sponsoring this competition.

RDA activities at home

We are really keen to produce more worksheets and resources for participants to do at home and in school. I know many of you are crying out for help here – particularly those of you who have been creating your own materials since March.

As a first step, if you are happy sharing your activities and resources with us, this would give us a real head start. We will then (shamelessly) use your ideas and produce a range of regularly updated resources for all groups and participants to access.

If you can share anything with us, that would be great. Some of you were kind enough to send me your ideas and worksheets over the summer and they were so helpful – and your ideas and creativity are outstanding.

Please send to Alex Walker at awalker@rda.org.uk

Page Last Updated: November 13, 2020

Recognition for Coach who brought therapeutic riding to Russia

‘Birt Spooner’ Cup awarded to Lead Coach and International Liaison

RDA has presented coach and RDA Fellow Sue Adams-Wheeler with the prestigious Birt Spooner Cup. The cup is awarded to an individual who has supported and promoted the cause of RDA in an outstanding way.

Sue accepted the award during RDA’s virtual AGM, chaired by Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal. In her acceptance speech she recalled the challenges of bringing RDA to Russia – at a time when the authorities refused to acknowledge that disability existed – and other pioneering trips around the world.

Sue started with RDA journey in 1976 as part of Leominster group in Herefordshire. Her passion for coaching and the development of standards across RDA soon earned her a place on what was then known as the Training Committee, from where Sue’s role as an ambassador for RDA coaching both at home and abroad really took off.

She travelled to Russia just at the end of Perestroika. “Russia had a policy that disabled people did not exist, so they didn’t provide any support or activities,” Sue explains. “I had no idea what I was in for and had so many adventures. I spent three years going backwards and forwards to Russia, and travelled all over.”

Since then Sue has presented at conferences all over the world, and brought RDA coaching and training to Hong Kong, Malaysia, Kelantan, Penang, Borneo, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

In China, Sue and fellow RDA coach and physiotherapist Lynne Munro worked with American charity, Hope, to help disabled orphans – a legacy of China’s One Child policy. More recently, RDA has taken her to Korea, where she trained horses for a programme supporting military and fire service personnel with PTSD.

“They are all adventures in themselves,” says Sue. “Sometimes fun, sometimes really very frightening, but always I’ve enjoyed it. I’m so honoured to get this award.”

Watch Sue’s talk and acceptance speech at www.youtube.com/rdanational 

Page Last Updated: November 11, 2020

RDA presents one-off awards to recognise COVID challenges

(RDA) has recognised the particular challenge faced by its groups during 2020 with series of one-off awards presented at the charity’s virtual AGM. The four ‘Brilliant’ awards acknowledge the dedication of the RDA community throughout lockdown and the gradual restarting of activities.

Brilliant Person Award, sponsored by Childs Farm

Trish Clarke of Gareloch RDA won this award for her creative, problem-solving attitude and everything she has done to keep her group engaged and together during lockdown. Her nominator said: “Trish always sees a problem as an exciting challenge and her enthusiasm and caring personality have enhanced and improved our whole group. Thank you Trish, you’re an inspiration.”

In her acceptance speech, filmed and shown at RDA’s virtual AGM, Trish said “I am honoured and delighted. The RDA is a great organisation, and one that I am proud to be associated with. One of the core strengths of RDA is its ability to foster teamwork and I am lucky to work with a fantastic group of people. This award is a tribute to their hard work and support.”

Brilliant Young Person, supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery

RDA rider Teagan Murphy was the deserving recipient of this award. Teagan wanted to ensure that the ponies at her group had enough to eat during lockdown. In order to raise money, she cycled 55km in stages around her local area with the support of her family. Her original aim of £200 was well and truly beaten with her final total of £1,380.

Brilliant RDA Group, sponsored by Oliver Wight

Equipower RDA won this award for their extraordinary efforts to keep their riders and volunteers engaged during lockdown. They ran fitness classes, mental health support services, educational activities, fundraisers and more.

Ettrickbridge & Dryden group were highly commended in this category for their weekly ‘horsey homeworks’ for schools, regular news-drops and zoom social events.

RDA UK Award, sponsored by Andrews Bowen

Natalie O’Rourke of Park Lane Stables won this award. With stables closing due to the pandemic Natalie was concerned that RDA participants at her group would not be getting their equine therapy. Undaunted, she took a pony to local adults and children in lockdown to brighten up their day. She also visited the children of key workers at schools, elderly people in care homes and a child in Great Ormond Street. Natalie is now running Stable Management and Wellbeing in Wellies sessions, which are proving to be very popular.

Anne Allen was highly commended in this category. She opened up her own stables in order to provide a venue for her group, teaching horse care, feeding, grooming and taking part in a specially devised obstacle course.

Watch the citations and acceptances on the RDA YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/rdanational

Page Last Updated: November 11, 2020

HRH The Princess Royal Chairs Zoom AGM

RDA held its 51st AGM, chaired by our President, Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal. In a first for RDA, the meeting took place on Zoom and was livestreamed on YouTube. Hundreds of members tuned in from around the UK to watch the event, which also included an awards presentation for volunteers and riders.

In her President’s Address, The Princess acknowledged the challenges that RDA and its 500 member groups have faced since the start of lockdown in March. She recognised the dedication shown by the charity’s volunteers and coaches to ensure that RDA’s commitment to disabled people has not suffered.

The Princess, who previously ‘met’ with volunteers and riders on Zoom during the first lockdown, spoke about the individuals throughout the organisation who have shown great leadership in helping RDA to adapt and innovate throughout this period.

RDA Chief Executive Ed Bracher also acknowledged this point, saying he has ‘never been more proud to be part of RDA’ than during this year.

“My main message is one of thanks to everyone in the RDA community – collectively, you have done so much to support each other during this crisis,” he said.  “When I look back over 2020 I will, of course, remember a time when we all felt the stress, uncertainty and frustration of what was happening. But I will also remember a time when our community really pulled together and supported each other.”

Private meeting with President’s Award winners

After chairing the AGM, The Princess moved to a private break out room to meet winners of The President’s Award – RDA’s most prestigious award for over 30 years ‘above and beyond’ voluntary service.

Award winner Lynne Munro said: “At first the idea of a virtual awards ceremony was strange but actually turned out to be a great experience. A couple of practice sessions helped too! We each had lots of individual time chatting with Princess Anne in a relaxed, friendly and personal way with lots of anecdotes and laughter too. The only downside was no photograph with The Princess but that is a small price to pay for what was, for me, the most exciting thing to happen in my kitchen during lockdown!”

Ed Bracher said: “Thank you to all of these volunteers for their amazing service to and support for RDA over the years – we are blessed to attract volunteers to this organisation who not only stay with us, but also do incredible things to take us forward.”

President’s Award winners

Susan Robson            
Susan Robson joined Richmond and Catterick Group in 1983 chairing the group between 1983 and 2000 leading them through some tough times. Throughout her 50 years involvement with RDA Sue has held positions at group, county and regional level.  Her greatest achievement has been in the practical help she has given to disabled people throughout the region with whom she has a natural empathy having had her own challenges with dyslexia. These she has overcome through willpower and a dogged determination not to let that limit in any way what she can do. 

Jane McMurray
Jane McMurray is one of the founders of RDA in Northern Ireland and started Lisburn RDA in 1975 . The Group continues to provide riding for pupils from Parkview to this day. 

Jane’s lifelong association with horses and wide experience have been invaluable both at group and regional level where her contribution should not be underestimated. She has never held an official regional post but for many years no Dressage Competition, Holiday, or Day Out took place without Jane’s help, quietly working away in the background assisting wherever she was needed, always ready with a kind word and encouragement

Brigid Hamill
Brigid Hamill was one of the founder members of Windsor and Ascot Driving Group in 1975 and is still supporting the group today.  The group started with donkeys and jubilee carriages and now has three lovely ponies – over 40 volunteers and currently 13 drivers. She has recently given up coaching, but she can still be seen busy helping, head holding and assisting participants at the sessions.  She is a great “mother” figure in the group, always there with a listening ear, supporting the team, and has given so many people over the years the opportunity to enjoy driving.  

 

Lynne Munro
Lynne Munroe first met the RDA in 1974 as a placement activity during her physiotherapy training in the East End of London working with disabled children riding horses. Over the years, Lynne has touched every part of RDA at Group, County and National levels. She is a “doer” who will put her hand to any aspect of the daily delivery of tuition, support and encouragement to both participant and volunteer alike. She has helped to develop vaulting as a core RDA activity. Perry RDA group in Shropshire, where she is a regular coach, has benefitted from her careful guidance.

Isobel Buchanan
Isobel joined the Winton Group as a volunteer in 1977 four years after it was founded. She did a variety of roles and became Chairman in 1990 and remained in that role for nine years.

The group was very active during this period, raising substantial funds, owning a minibus, and taking disabled children on holiday each year.  Isobel was called upon to take the Chairman’s role again in 2008-2014 and was County Chairman from 2011-2015

One of her proudest memories is when a Winton Group rider won a silver medal at the Special Olympics in Shanghai, China in 2007.  

Anne Mitchell
Anne has run and worked at Barrow Farm since its start in 1976 – she has taught and supported hundreds of disabled people to appreciate riding and driving. Through her enthusiasm, determination and dedication Barrow Farm has progressed from 12 to over 140 riders and drivers each week. She has been involved in all aspects of running the organisation and has trained and developed many RDA coaches.  Anne has also contributed to RDA at County and Regional level.  She has taken part in and run many training courses for coaches and volunteers.

Lesley Furnell
For over 30 years Lesley Furnell has dedicated herself to RDA through her expertise as a physiotherapist. Lesley moved from her previous group to Shiresmill Riding Therapy Centre in 2000.  Qualifying as a Group Coach in 2004, she has worked tirelessly displaying endless patience and care with all participants.  For nearly 10 years she has held Group governance roles and been a key player in increasing activities, improving training for volunteers and developing funding streams.

As Regional Physio from 2004 to 2016, Lesley travelled extensively capturing the latest thinking and developments, readily passing on that knowledge and understanding to the Region and RDA nationally.  She was a member of the International Coordination Group representing RDA and presenting papers at HETI conferences worldwide.  Throughout, she has encouraged many young therapists to get involved with RDA.

Lesley has channelled her energy into qualifying as a Coach Developer, part of a successful Regional Coaching Team.

Page Last Updated: November 12, 2020

Weekly email to groups 5 November

Watch the RDA AGM & Awards live on You Tube

The RDA AGM & Awards will be broadcast live on YouTube tomorrow from about 10:30 to midday on Friday 6 November. Simply head to our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/rdanational . Please encourage your volunteers and wider RDA community to tune in by sharing this link.

RDA Tartan scarf

As the cold weather begins to take hold, you might be interested in purchasing an RDA tartan scarf. These beautiful (and warm!) Lochcarron of Scotland scarves were produced during our 50th anniversary and can be bought through the good people at Norvite Farm & Country with all proceeds to RDA. www.norvitefarmandcountry.com/11406/products/rda-50th-anniversary-tartan-lambswool-scarf.aspx . 

Resource for managing horse care

Tess Fordham, Regional Vet for Scotland has produced a useful template form for groups with horses to ensure consistent care and decision-making in an emergency. This might be useful if you have different people coming in on different days to look after them. You can find it here (third form in the list on the right hand side of the page): www.myrda.org.uk/runningyourgroup/horses-and-rda/

Carriage Driving Facebook Page

With Carriage Driving groups still unable to return to activity, don’t forget there is a Facebook group for helping to keep you in touch with your RDA carriage driving community. In Facebook search for ‘RDA Carriage Driving’ and request to join. 

Page Last Updated: November 5, 2020

5 November Update to groups in England

As promised, please find here our latest advice regarding the lockdown in England from 5 November to 2 December.

Group closure

In order to comply with the country-wide lockdown, RDA groups in England should close until 2 December. Reducing the spread of COVID-19 is a priority and as an organisation we will act accordingly.

Two possible exemptions

There are two situations where, in specific, individual cases, RDA activities may be requested to continue by a school or healthcare provider for specific educational and/or therapeutic purposes.

These situations are:

  • Where a school wants to continue RDA sessions for their students as it forms part of their normal provision for education and training
  • Where an individual or members of a small group have been referred or prescribed RDA activity by NHS, social care providers or similar and the trustees have written approval from this NHS healthcare (e.g. GP, CAMHS etc.) or social care provider for this activity to continue as part of ongoing medical assistance or therapy.

These situations will be covered by RDA insurance where trustees have received a written request from the education or healthcare provider. It is up to the trustees to decide if they want to meet these requests. Staff and volunteers required for these sessions can travel in this instance as this is classed as essential.  If these exemptions apply to any of your activities and you plan to remain open, please email groupsupport@rda.org.uk so we are aware of which groups this relates to. 

Horse care

Riding centres and stables can remain open for the care and exercise of horses during this period to protect animal welfare.  Staff and volunteers can travel in this case as this is classed as essential.

Exercise should be done following our existing insurance and exercising of equines policy, which permits volunteers to exercise equines for the benefit of the equine both at an RDA venue and away from an RDA approved venue (e.g. hacking from the venue where this is possible and safe).  Most groups will have this in place anyway.  This needs to be agreed, signed and retained by the trustees.  All of these activities would be covered by RDA insurance as long as this policy is followed. 

Protecting your RDA community

The health of everyone within our RDA community is paramount. It hopefully goes without saying that volunteers and staff should be under no pressure to attend RDA for any purpose if they don’t want to.

The government has released new advice that those over 60 and those who are clinically vulnerable are at higher risk from COVID-19.  Those at risk should:

  • be especially careful to follow the rules and minimise contact with others
  • continue to wash hands carefully and more frequently than usual and maintain thorough cleaning of frequently touched areas at home and/or workspace.

We are therefore advising that where possible these individuals should avoid any RDA activities that involves mixing with other households. 

The government has also advised those who are clinically extremely vulnerable to shield. These individuals will receive a letter confirming this.  Further guidance is available on www.gov.uk .

This includes: ‘You are strongly advised to work from home. If you cannot work from home, you should not attend work for this period of restrictions.’  Therefore, any staff or volunteers should not undertake any RDA work or volunteering away from their home during this period. 

I hope that this brings some clarity, but if you are in any doubt about your next steps please do get in touch.

Page Last Updated: November 5, 2020