Getting Started after Lockdown


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

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

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

photo showing social distancing

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


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


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

Getting Started Guidance Notes 10Jul2020

Glossary of Terms Updated 10Jul2020

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





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


Are we ready to start?

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

Getting Started Are You Ready 29May2020

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

Risk Assessment Covid-19

What about our horses?

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

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

Volunteers and Participants

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

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

Updates to Guidance

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

Update 24Jul2020

Update 10th July 2020


Update 11Jun2020

Update 28May2020

Update 20May2020

Horse Matching!

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

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

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

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

Alternative Activities and Top Tips

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

Thank you to Muirfield Riding Therapy for sharing a presentation that helped their trustees through the planning stages to get started:-

Downloadable resources

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

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

          AGMA – quote RDA5SD8YGPF when ordering, for 10% discount

          AQUEOS – quote ‘RDA’ for 30% discount

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

Page Last Updated: August 5, 2020