Road to Restart

Meet RDA UK Director of Operations, Anna Hall, as she discusses the changes to legal restrictions in the England from Monday 19th July 2021 – and what they will mean to our Groups:

If your group has already been signed-off to restart activity by RDA National Office, there is no need to reapply after local or national lockdowns to continue with the approved activities.  However, as and when you plan to reopen, please email to let us know, so that we can ensure that we are aware, and that you can be given the support you need.

If you are looking for recorded webinars and other ‘how to’ videos visit the MyRDA YouTube Channel 

Please note: With current easing of restrictions, we are still regularly reviewing our guidance documents and forms, to ensure that they remain relevant.

Any resources with changes are clearly 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.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do talk them through with your Regional Chair, Regional Coach or email the RDA National Office team:

What do Groups now need to do to apply to restart?

We are making changes to RDA sign off when remaining legal COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. This is planned to happen on:

These will be confirmed by the respective governments nearer the time and so please keep an eye out for any changes. RDA cannot be held responsible for any groups following incorrect guidelines as government rules do change frequently and often with short notice.

Restarting activity

All groups who have NOT started any activity before these dates will still need to be signed off by National Office.  This is because the groups will have been closed for at least 15 months and so there are a number of processes that the group will have to go through to ensure a safe return for all.  Please be aware that groups need to be signed off prior to any face to face gathering of people at the group, this includes volunteer training, induction etc. 

You are required to read the Road to Restart Guidance Notes and Road to Restart – Are you Ready? 

The Are you Ready? document ask a series of questions which you need to complete answers to in the Road to Restart Trustee Checklist. You will have to complete a risk assessment which will need to include COVID-19 risks but this no longer needs to be submitted to National Office.  If you require support in doing this, the Group Support team are there to help. 

The trustee checklist is the only document you need to submit to National Office using the email address to be signed off to restart activities. You do not need to answer ‘Yes’ to all questions to be signed off as there may be elements that you cannot answer, for example you won’t be able say yes to the questions about participants if you are only bringing volunteers back for training.

You will be required to share a copy of the Consent Information to all staff, volunteers (or guardians if relevant) and participants (or their carers/ guardians if relevant) at the group and ensure that they have understood the information.  We no longer require you collect signed consent forms from all staff, volunteers and participants. 

You will be required to continue to collect the names, contact details and times at which all individuals attended RDA activities for 21 days to enable contact to be made in case of a positive COVID-19 case at the group. 

Use of Face Coverings

Please refer to the guidance below, relating to the use of face coverings/masks and personal protective equipment (PPE) in sessions from 19th July onwards. Respecting others and maintaining social distancing remains the most effective way to protect everyone. Hand hygiene also remains a critical defence from contamination:

Disability Dispensation: 

Please refer to the document below, which offers guidance for RDA Groups on close-proximity support for riders during COVID-19 where this applies in their country:

COVID-19 Officer 

An appointed COVID-19 Officer is a mandatory requirement for venues in Scotland. As best practice elsewhere, we would expect RDA Groups to assign an individual to take on the role of COVID-19 Officer.

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

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:

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.

Test & Trace: What do groups still need to do?

We know you all keep records of people at your sessions, but you need to ensure you keep these for 21 days. From 14 September 2020 this has been a legal requirement in England. You should also consider printing out a QR code for your venue in England and Wales.  Details on how to create a code are available here.

There is some guidance around positive cases on the link below. We recommend you add the following to any system you use to collect names and contact details or make your volunteers/ participants aware:

‘We will hold your contact details for 21 days following your attendance at an RDA session/ event and share this with NHS Test and Trace or similar (different countries have different names, e.g. Test, Trace and Protect in Wales) if required to do in the event of a positive COVID case, as is required by government.’ Don’t forget to include your tracking protocols in your COVID-19 Risk Assessments!

Hat Sanitising 

We’ve received confirmation that the Aqueos sanitiser, as well as being effective at cleaning and disinfecting tack, equipment and surfaces, can also be safely used on both the interior and exterior of riding hats. Don’t forget to cover your RDA Group’s hat protocols when completing your COVID-19 risk assessments. Aqueos are currently offering 30% discount to all RDA groups – quote ‘RDA’ when placing your order online, or over the phone.

Working with Schools

We are encouraging groups to start and continue to have conversations with our schools, ideally with the Head so that they understand what activities are being offered if you are a group that is open, or what you plans are if you are not yet able to open. 

Additional information pages

Please also see the dedicated pages for useful advice and guidance:

Please note that whilst we are working hard to keep this information as up to date and as current as possible, we strongly advise all groups to remain vigilant to any information or policies being implemented locally (e.g. new social distancing rules, local lockdowns, guidance on gatherings etc.) which may supersede the general RDA guidance.

It is every group’s responsibility to keep up with changes to any restrictions that affect their group and ensure they are adhering to them.  This may mean a change to your protocols and risk assessment at short notice.  Please consider this when developing your plans and inviting participants and volunteers to sessions. 

If you have any queries at all about how the guidance may affect your group, please contact the Group Support team on 01926 492915 or email

All resources on this and the other Road to Restart pages have been developed by a working party of RDA staff, group/regional volunteers and trustees, who will continue to meet and agree amendments and additions to resources, as government guidance inevitably changes. 

Page Last Updated: August 13, 2021