Weekly News 27 May

New Chair and EGM

Group Chairs have been sent the information about the nomination of Rachel Medill as the new Chair of RDA UK and the notice of the EGM on 17 June. If you are a Group Chair and you have not received this information, please contact Amanda Perkins aperkins@rda.org.uk.

About Rachel Medill, MBE

Rachel has a lifelong love of horses. She was shortlisted for junior and young rider British eventing teams and was 14th at Burghley before starting her career in the City of London (as Director of PR, Corporate Communications and Direct Marketing). In 2000, Rachel left the City and has since held various consultancy and board positions, including 5 years as an independent director of the British Equestrian Federation.

In 2008, Rachel founded a charity, Ride High, in order to support children who are vulnerable, isolated, disadvantaged or otherwise struggling to cope with daily life. She developed programmes which use horses to connect with children, and associated educational projects to build confidence and self esteem as well as social, communication and literacy skills. Having seen the organisation into its long-term home and onto a secure financial footing, she stepped back from her full-time role as CEO at the start of 2020 with the intention of supporting a number of other charities.

In 2016 Rachel received an MBE for her services to children. She no longer rides but wants to take up carriage driving.

To help introduce Rachel, we will be recording a Zoom conversation between her and Frances Lochrane, who has been Acting Chair for the past 6 months.  We will be circulating the link to this early next week.

 

Government Restart Grants for businesses – England only

From 1 April 2021, local authorities in England have been able to allocate one-off grants of up to £18,000 to support non-essential businesses to reopen safely as restrictions are eased.  Indoor riding schools are eligible to apply and are included as an example of an eligible business in the “Leisure” section of the official guidance. The Government has now confirmed that riding schools which operate outside only (i.e. without an indoor facility) are also eligible to apply.

The “Gym and Sports” section of the guidance includes reference to non-profit establishments. The first step to check if your RDA Group meets the criteria to make an application is to visit:  www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-youre-eligible-for-a-coronavirus-restart-grant

If you then wish to make an application, you will need to contact your local authority directly for details on how to apply.  If you are not sure which local authority area you are in, you can find out here: www.gov.uk/find-local-council .

The application closure date for this scheme is 30 June 2021 and payments to successful businesses will be made by the end of July 2021.

You can view the full guidance issued to local authorities here:  https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/986420/restart-grant-guidance.pdf

 

30-minute webinar

Tonight, 7pm, Restarting RDA: Don’t wait for ‘normality’ to return

The process of restarting RDA sessions after a long break will require planning (and yes, undoubtedly some paperwork), even if COVID restrictions are eased and things feel largely back to normal – so it makes sense to start sooner rather than later. We look at the considerations for a safe and orderly restart. We will be chatting with Lesley Davies from Belvoir Vale RDA Group and will have some ideas from other groups about how they have got started.

https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_aADeuzJoRx2WEsZKlTdjOQ

 

Next week: 3 June, Volunteers’ Week

Lindsay Correa, National Volunteering Lead and Faye McKenning, Projects Co-ordinator: Volunteer Development will be talking about all things volunteering, and Lindsay’s volunteering journey. If you have any questions please send them to fmckenning@rda.org.uk

Register at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_nfsR3IA1SFaxjvsLsoYy8w

 

National Lead for Dressage

We are sad to be losing John Robinson as National Lead for Dressage. We would like to thank him wholeheartedly for the time he has put into dressage nationally, providing training, forging strong links to British Dressage and being an invaluable asset leading the team of judges at our National Championships.  It has been an honour having someone at the highest level of Para Judging involved with RDA giving us credibility and the knowledge to keep moving forward. We wish John well and thank him for his time and support of RDA over the years.

We are now looking for an inspirational National Lead to promote the world of dressage as a core activity and experience within RDA. Are you passionate about dressage and unlocking potential? Could you bring your knowledge and experience to make a difference to people’s lives? If you think this is you, please visit www.myrda.org.uk/assets/Dressage_Lead_Role_Description.docx for more information.

Closing date: Monday 5 July 2021.

 

Volunteers’ Week 1-7 June

A reminder that next week is Volunteers’ Week. Anyone who wants to share their ‘why I volunteer’ stories can email Faye fmckenning@rda.org.uk  anytime between now and the end of Volunteers’ Week.

Page Last Updated: May 28, 2021

Weekly News 20 May

Sidewalkers: clarification for Scotland

In Scotland, one sidewalker for riding and carriage driving is permitted if an area is in Level 1 or 2 but not in Level 3.  We understand Glasgow and Moray remain in Level 3. 

 

Search for a ‘heritage champion’

For over 50 years RDA has been at the forefront of disability sport, and a pioneer in the world of horses for therapy. In partnership with Sporting Heritage, we are now looking for a volunteer (or volunteer team) to capture, record and share our heritage: preserving our history and making it more accessible for future generations.

If you know someone who might enjoy this challenge, the full spec can be found here:

www.myrda.org.uk/we-are-looking-for-a-volunteer-heritage-champion/    

Anyone interested can pop me an email cward@rda.org.uk

 

30-minute webinar

Tonight, 7pm, RDA Endurance

To coincide with Endurance Week and the launch of this year’s RDA Endurance league, we hear from new National Lead for this increasingly popular activity, Gilly Roper.

Register at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_kw6qcDH8QHCNr9XONbfnkg 

Next week: 27 May, Restarting RDA: Don’t wait for ‘normality’ to return

The process of restarting RDA sessions after a long break will require planning (and yes, undoubtedly some paperwork), even if COVID restrictions are eased and things feel largely back to normal – so it makes sense to start sooner rather than later. We look at the considerations for a safe and orderly restart.

https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_aADeuzJoRx2WEsZKlTdjOQ

 

Coach Reflection cards

A recent CPD workshop for coaches highlighted the benefits of being able to reflect on sessions in a positive and productive way. In response, we have developed a series of reflection cards as part of our e-learning platform. These can be used at the end of the day on your own, but are just as useful worked through with others. Although developed for coaching, these are suitable for everyone involved in RDA sessions (participants, volunteers and coaches) and are available here: www.rda-learning.org.uk/courses/coach-reflection/

 

Volunteers’ Week 1-7 June

Just a heads up about Volunteers’ Week, as usual the first week of June. This year we will be using our Volunteer Wellbeing research to highlight the reasons people volunteer with RDA (and the benefits) and asking volunteers to share their own experiences with us. Anyone who wants to share their ‘why I volunteer’ stories can email Faye fmckenning@rda.org.uk  anytime between now and the end of Volunteers’ Week.

 

Equi-Scotia courses

Please find here information about courses which might be of interest to develop and deliver non-riding activities to support mental health and well-being: https://www.equi-scotia.com/our-events/

Page Last Updated: May 28, 2021

Weekly News 13 May

Side walkers

The Road to Restart Working Group can now confirm that one side walker from outside the rider’s household/bubble will be permitted to support the rider on the opposite side of the equine to the leader from late May (17 May in England, Scotland and Wales and 24 May in Northern Ireland).

The side walker and leader must be socially distanced by at least 1m at all times. They both must practice good hand hygiene and the side walker must wear a face covering over nose and mouth whilst in the session.  The leader must either look away from the rider and side walker at all times or wear a face covering, or can choose to do both.  As a reminder, if any volunteers are supporting any participants outside their household/ bubble they must be appropriately trained and with a green card.  The COVID-19 basic training record is only for household/bubble members supporting the rider they are in a household/bubble with. 

If the rider needs two side walkers then these both must come from the rider’s household/ bubble and (unless the leader is from the same household), the leader must face away from the rider and side walkers at all times or they must wear a face covering. The leader and the side walker on the same side must also aim to be socially distanced as much as possible.  This applies to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Two side walkers from outside the rider’s household/ bubble are permitted on the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey where physical distancing restrictions are no longer in force.  

The timing of this change is being tied to the level of confidence in each of the respective countries about permitting 2 households to meet indoors and/or to permit contact sport.

It is also proposed when legal limits on restrictions are removed, expected to be 21 June in England, then two side walkers from outside the rider’s household/ bubble will be permitted.  Dates for other home countries will be in step with removal of legal limits, these dates have not yet been announced.

   

New Rider Assessments

A number of groups have asked if they can assess new riders. The answer to this is yes!  When doing so, you should aim to be socially distanced as much as you can but if you have to breach social distancing, you should ensure you practice good hand hygiene (sanitise your hands before you come into contact with anyone and immediately afterwards) and must wear a face covering.

 

30-minute webinar

Next Thursday, 20 May, RDA Endurance

To coincide with Endurance Week and the launch of this year’s RDA Endurance league (see below), we hear from new National Lead for this increasingly popular activity, Gilly Roper.

Register at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_kw6qcDH8QHCNr9XONbfnkg 

 

Tea with a Pony Conference – 19 May, 9-10:30am

A reminder to sign up this Zoom conference on Wednesday 19 May to mark the launch of Tea with a Pony.  The conference will focus on the benefits of equine experiences for people living with Dementia, and also how RDA are using the Dementia Friends initiative. Panellists include: Ally Rood (MRes in Horses for Dementia), Lorna Kook (Retired Occupational Therapist), Claire Jenkins (RDA UK Trustee) and Meg Hardman (Chair, Medical Equestrian Association and RDA Honorary Medic)

Register for the conference at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_eXHBC1UiQnmNBgVPM6zNSg

Please share the details of this conference to anyone you think might be interested – from within and outside of RDA.

 

Toyota Parasport Funding for groups in England – closes 31 May 2021

The Toyota Parasport Fund has launched a new round of funding with awards of between £1,000 and £5,000 for organisations in England looking to support disabled people to return to sport or activity, when relaxing of coronavirus (Covid-19) restrictions allow them to do so.

The link to their webpage is here www.sportengland.org/parasporttoyota. Applications are made using a standard small grants application form and there is an accompanying funding guide.

Although this grant is only applicable to groups in England at the moment, groups in other nations can get more information on what is available in their home countries using this link: https://parasport.org.uk/toyota-parasport-fund

 

Endurance League

As we approach Endurance Week next week, a reminder about the RDA Endurance League, which is running until next April to allow as many groups as possible to take part. 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.

Find out more about this hugely popular initiative here: www.myrda.org.uk/runningyourgroup/endurance/

 

Every Mind Matters

This week is Mental Health Awareness week and Every Mind Matters is updating its resources to help conversations about mental health and the things in our daily lives that can affect it. Every Mind Matters – NHS (www.nhs.uk)

Page Last Updated: May 28, 2021

We are looking for a volunteer Heritage Champion

Could you help us to tell our story through our rich history and heritage?

For over 50 years RDA has been at the forefront of disability sport, and a pioneer in the world of horses for therapy. In partnership with Sporting Heritage, we are now looking for a volunteer (or volunteer team) to capture, record and share our heritage: preserving our history and making it more accessible for future generations.

This project will involve:

  • Developing a clear plan for heritage activity in RDA
  • Working across the RDA network to identify and preserve important records (including oral history)
  • Developing creative solutions for the sharing of our heritage

Person spec:

  • Interested in RDA’s history as a pioneer of disability sport, riding and driving as therapy and the role of women in sport
  • Some experience of archiving and record keeping
  • Self-motivated (and able to work in a team)
  • Understanding of how technology might help us achieve our vision

Supported by:

  • Head of Communications & Insight, RDA UK
  • Training and support from Sporting Heritage

How to apply:

Initial email of interest to Caroline Ward, Head of Communication & Insight, cward@rda.org.uk

Page Last Updated: May 19, 2021

Weekly News 6 May

30-minute webinar

Tonight: 6 May, 7pm, Buying Equines

RDA Honorary Vet Nick Hart, Equine Coordinator at RDA UK Emma Bayliss and Sarah Healing of Penniwells RDA discuss the dos and don’ts of equine purchase.

Register at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_rB17oRf9RIWxM9R2vMHrFw  

Next Thursday, 13 May, A week off!

Since I’m at least a day behind with everything this week, there is no webinar planned for next week. You can have the evening off! We’ll be back the following week.

Stella Hancock Award – a note from National Carriage Driving Lead, Eileen Cornish

Congratulations to Shifford Driving Group in the South Region for being awarded the Stella Hancock Award of £150 towards the training of a new coach for their group. I look forward to her joining the CD Coach ranks in the not-too-distant future once her assessment is completed.

National Office phones: disruption 13 May

You may know we’ve been struggling a bit with the phone system we installed that is supposed to help staff answer calls from home. It has proved a bit unreliable and we are trying a new system, which will be installed next week, 13 May. This may mean the phones are out of action for part or all of that day. I suggest you email us instead, either direct to the person you need, or to info@rda.org.uk and your message will be forwarded to the right person.

Page Last Updated: May 6, 2021

Weekly News 29 April

Opportunity to purchase horses

Thanks to everyone who responded to Tuesday’s email (groups in England, Wales and Scotland) about the horses for sale. We are working with the owner for the rest of this week and next and will update you as soon as there is any news.

30-minute webinar

Tonight: 7pm, RDA Insurance Explained

Richard Doubleday, Executive Chairman of Howdens Insurance Brokers discusses the RDA Insurance. Register at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_vAuxrSipS36DnO_yKbHayA

Next Thursday, 6 May, Buying Equines

RDA Honorary Vet Nick Hart and Emma Baylis discuss the dos and don’ts of equine purchase. A group with recent experience of buying RDA horses will also share their advice.

Register at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_rB17oRf9RIWxM9R2vMHrFw  

Activity Levels survey

In order to help us understand activity levels within groups at the moment, we are issuing a survey to all signed-off groups by the end of this week. I apologise that this means some of you will hear from me again!

‘Tea With a Pony’ Conference 19 May

As part of The Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Action Week #DAW2021, RDA will be hosting a Zoom conference on Wednesday 19 May to mark the launch of Tea with a Pony.  This conference will focus on the benefits of equine experiences for people living with Dementia, and also how RDA are using the Dementia Friends initiative. Panellists include: Ally Rood (MRes in Horses for Dementia), Lorna Kook (Retired Occupational Therapist), Claire Jenkins (RDA UK Trustee) and Meg Hardman (Chair, Medical Equestrian Association and RDA Honorary Medic)

Register for the conference at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_eXHBC1UiQnmNBgVPM6zNSg

Social media boycott this weekend

Along with other British Equestrian member bodies we will be uniting with the football community and other sports for a social media boycott from 3pm on Friday 30 April to 11:59pm on Monday 3 May in support of bringing an end to online abuse and hate. You can read British Equestrian’s statement on this here: www.britishequestrian.org.uk/news/british-equestrian-backs-social-media-boycott-this-weekend

We know that many groups use social media as a key part of their operational communication, so may not feel able to take part in a total boycott, but your support for this initiative is appreciated.

We will be posting a final statement ahead of the boycott about 2pm tomorrow. Please feel free to share/use that message as you wish on your own RDA group channels #EnoughIsEnough #DrawTheLine

Introductory Offer to join Equestrian Employers Association

The Equestrian Employers Association provides support, resources and advice to employers in the equestrian industry. They provide a number of templates that you can use for your employment needs if you employ staff, such as a Contract Creator, Staff Handbook Creator, Health and Safety toolkit and Code of Good Employment as well as information on pensions and payroll to help you to be a compliant and Good Employer. They also have an employment advice helpline.  In addition, they have useful information and templates for those who need to have a Riding Establishments Licence.  They are offering a special introductory rate to RDA groups signing up for the first time of £37.50 per year compared to the usual £49.50. Please note this discount does not apply if you are already a member and please do not pass this on as this offer does not apply to anyone outside of RDA or with Accessibility Mark accreditation. More details here: https://equestrianemployers.org.uk/homeRDA

Horsefest cancellation

The organisers of Horsefest have sadly had to make the difficult decision to cancel the event this year, due to ongoing uncertainties surrounding COVID restrictions.

If you have tickets (bought or won), please see the following message from their Facebook page (www.facebook.com/HorseFestuk):  “We would like to encourage anybody who has purchased tickets or accommodation for this year’s event to roll them over and come party with us in 2022. For anyone who would prefer a refund, this can be arranged by logging onto their TicketSellers account (details are on the email sent to ticket holders). Those who have won tickets – these will transfer to next year’s HorseFest automatically.”

Page Last Updated: May 6, 2021

Opportunity to buy a horse

We have been speaking with an establishment that is selling a significant number of horses and ponies that could be suitable for RDA.  There is a possibility, if we are able to move fairly quickly, that we could (collectively) purchase a significant number of these horses and give them a good and meaningful life with RDA.  I should stress, though, at this stage we are exploring this and there is no firm agreement.

Initially, we just need to be able to gauge demand. If you are actively looking for new equines for your group (ie, you know what you need and have an idea of your budget etc), we have a very quick online form for you to fill in to register your interest. If you are looking for more than one, please complete the form as many times as necessary.

Clearly, there will be more stages to this but for now your initial show of (serious) interest is all we need. If you can complete the form as soon as possible that would be great. Certainly by the end of 28 April.

Please follow the link to the online form here www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/RDAequines

Page Last Updated: April 28, 2021

Weekly News 22 April

Here’s a lovely thing to kick off with: Tonight’s The One Show (7pm, BBC One), features volunteer Jane Dowding of Green Cottage RDA in Dorset receiving a ‘One Big Thank You’ in celebration and recognition of everything she does to support the group. Congratulations Jane, so well deserved. 

The Swiss Cheese model

As more people are vaccinated, and Lateral Flow Testing becomes more routine, we are understandably getting questions about whether this means we can change our guidance (specifically in the area of sidewalkers), and whether other precautions are still necessary.

The problem is that no single measure to prevent the spread of Coronavirus is 100% effective – including vaccines – and it is vital that, for now, we continue to follow social distancing, good hand hygiene and use face coverings where appropriate, even if people are vaccinated or have tested negative. Rest assured, our working party is reviewing our guidance regularly and everyone involved is committed to a return to RDA activities for all riders and drivers as soon as possible.

The ‘Swiss Cheese’ model explains the need for multiple safety measures in quite a neat way if you are interested:  www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-40ac92b1-1750-4e86-9936-2cda6b0acb3f 

30-minute webinar

Tonight: 7pm, Physiotherapy advice

Regional Physio for Grampian & Highland Valerie Cooper will advise on helping participants return to activity.

Register at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_kjcf1rn5Q1CtB_gyKGNkUQ

Next Thursday, 29 April, RDA Insurance explained

Richard Doubleday, Executive Chairman of Howdens Insurance Brokers discusses the RDA Insurance. Register at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_vAuxrSipS36DnO_yKbHayA

Competition rulebook

If you are having difficulty using the Rulebook inserts we produced for this year, full copies of the Rulebook and the inserts (in A4 and A5) are available here: www.myrda.org.uk/runningyourgroup/national-championships/ .

For 2022, the Rulebook will be re-designed and full copies will be printed.

British Equestrian Launches Youth Development & Performance Pathway Handbook

British Equestrian has launched the first edition of its Youth Development & Performance Pathway Handbook, which focuses on the Olympic and Paralympic disciplines of dressage, para dressage, eventing and showjumping.

The handbook outlines the various stages that an aspiring rider might go through as they progress through their chosen discipline, starting at entry level and progressing through the various development stages, up to being an athlete at the upper levels of the World Class Programme.

The digital e-book is available to view here:  www.britishequestrian.org.uk/competitors/youth-development-performance-pathway-handbook

Page Last Updated: April 28, 2021

Weekly News 15 April

Congratulations to Wellow Group for their non-Royal visit on Tuesday! Despite the (completely understandable) absence of The Princess Royal, the group nevertheless put on a fantastic event for the local Lieutenancy and selected guests. A timely reminder that things will get better and there are still good times to be had.

Remembering The Duke Of Edinburgh

RDA Chief Executive, Ed Bracher has sent a message of condolence on behalf of RDA to The Palace following the death of The Duke of Edinburgh. Prince Philip was known to many within RDA, especially among our driving community, so I’m sure some groups will be planning to mark his passing in their own way.

With that in mind, there are two announcements below about how to pay your respects if you wish, one from British Equestrian and then from the organisers of Windsor Horse Show.  

Guidance from British Equestrian

The Royal Ceremonial Funeral of His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh will be held on 17 April at 15.00 in St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, and British Equestrian is aware that a large number in the equestrian community will wish to pay their respects. With a busy weekend of competition ahead and many planning to enjoy  activities with their horses, we wanted to offer guidance on paying respects.

Many sporting fixtures, racing included, are making arrangements for a period of respect during the funeral service of The Duke of Edinburgh between 14.45 and 16.15 on Saturday. We leave it to the organiser’s discretion on whether to facilitate any such break in their own schedule. Organisers may also wish to consider allowing/requesting riders to wear black armbands on Saturday.

However, we would request that all events/venues make provision in their timetable to observe the national one minute silence at 15.00 with a halt in any activity, ensuring enough time for action to stop sufficiently to allow a full minute of reflection and respect.

Should venues wish to pay their respects by half-masting flags, please follow the guidance issued by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

The Cabinet Office has also issued guidance on the Period of National Mourning.

 

Organisers of Windsor Horse Show: The Horse World Remembers
The Horse World Remembers – an Equestrian Tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh will be coordinated by Royal Windsor Horse Show, of which he was an active President for 30 years. During a time when we may not be able to pay tribute in person, The Horse World Remembers will provide a way to celebrate and commemorate the life of a remarkable man – available to all online who wish to pay their respects.

At the heart of The Horse World Remembers is an online Book of Condolence, which will form the platform for our collective memories and tributes. Messages from organisations and individuals, professionals and amateurs alike are all welcome. Please feel free to write whatever comes to your mind. It could be personal, it could be reflective, it could be joyous or it could be a message to His Royal Highness to thank him for his contribution to the horse world. Your message could be anonymous or not, it is up to you – photographs, stories, condolences and thoughts are all welcome. We also encourage you to share this opportunity with your society members and friends in the equestrian community.  The Book of Condolence can be found at www.horseworldremembers.com

We will also be sharing stories across social media (Instagram, Twitter and Facebook) using #HorseWorldRemembers.

During the 2021 Royal Windsor Horse Show (1st to 4th July) the entries to the Book of Condolence will be on display making up a Puissance Wall which will be wrapped in the contributions. The Wall will become a central feature for people to remember The Duke of Edinburgh, and his amazing equestrian achievements. The entries will also be bound into a book for presentation to Her Majesty The Queen.

The online Book of Condolence will stay active for four weeks.

Advice and guidance from National Office

Please remember to refer to MyRDA for the latest local guidance about returning to RDA activities. We will now only be issuing specific guidance in these weekly emails if there is a tightening of restrictions or a significant change that needs addressing.

Do also remind your volunteers about the difference between our main website www.rda.org.uk (our public-facing website) and www.MyRDA.org.uk (for volunteer support, where all the COVID information lives). We’ve had a few frustrated volunteers unable to find the restart information as they are looking at the wrong website.

30-minute webinar

Tonight, 7pm, (just for groups and RDA UK volunteers in Scotland): The Community & Third Sector Recovery Programme

The Community & Third Sector Recovery Programme aims to support charities, community groups, social enterprises and voluntary organisations in Scotland that are supporting people and communities through the shift from lockdown to recovery. The programme is now open and grants of up to £75,000 are available.  To access  funding your organisation must operate primarily in Scotland. This  webinar is specifically for RDA groups in Scotland and will be chaired by Lynda Whittaker, RDA Trustee  who has experience of the programme. Joined by groups whom have applied to the programme this is an opportunity to find out more about the fund and how you can access the funding.

Register at https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_WPKb5jr3RN-d50Cs8RiHmA

 

Next week: 22 April, Physiotherapy advice

Advice on restarting participants. Register at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_kjcf1rn5Q1CtB_gyKGNkUQ

 

Horses for Health Relay to benefit RDA

We are one of seven equine charities benefiting from a fundraising event this summer called ‘The Great Horses for Health Relay’. The event is already gaining huge interest and registrations among the equine community. I know some RDA people are already planning to take part, and it might be a fun thing for some groups to do with their participants too.

The organisers have divided the UK into 11 regions over 5 months with participants given two weeks to choose their own route in their local area, which is then recorded on the relay map.  The relay ‘baton’ will be passed onto the next participating region at a pre-arranged Covid-safe event. The relay starts in Yorkshire 2 May and is set to end in Cornwall around 2 October.

Find out more here: www.horses4health.co.uk/ or on their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/groups/1399636837047873

Sport England and #ClubMatters say thank you to volunteers

Sport England and #ClubMatters have joined forces to produce a short video presented by Baroness Tani Grey-Thompson acknowledging the vital role of volunteers throughout the pandemic. Lots of lovely messages and I spy RDA in there too! www.facebook.com/sportengland/videos/470423321068790

 

Equine Flu Awareness Week

This week is ‘Keeping Britain’s Horses Healthy Equine Flu Awareness Week’. We are taking this opportunity to say thank you to our partners MSD, Zoetis and Boehringer Ingelheim, who have supported our groups with free vaccinations for many years. This vaccine programme has enabled us to have 100% vaccine acceptance rate for horses competing at our National Championships during the Equine Flu outbreak in 2019. It also allows our groups to be able to operate out of some of the larger equestrian centres where either annual or six monthly vaccination is required.

You can find out more about Equine Flu Awareness Week on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/KeepingHorsesHealthy

Page Last Updated: April 28, 2021

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