11 May 2021 “Disability, Mental Health and Me”.

Together with SAMH, the Scottish Disability Sport Young Start team has designed a series of workshops: “Disability, Mental Health and Me”. 


The workshops are free and there are a number of online workshops throughout May: 


13th May (6:30pm - 8pm): 

Disability, Mental Well-being and Me


Register here: https://sds.azolve.com/workbench/public/events?ref=5C8717B91DD46EECF382B8130A440C955FD5DD65


20th May (6:30pm - 8pm): 

Disability, Identity and Me 


Register here: https://sds.azolve.com/workbench/public/events?ref=23CE6CC7BEDDF5FFC05A1F9967A6D11AEE4A1457


27th May (6:30pm - 8pm) 

Disability, Self-Care and Me:  


Register here: https://sds.azolve.com/workbench/public/events?ref=BDF44741CB4E03824938EAE905EC8F29391E9B46


Please see below for further information.


Disability, Mental Well-being and Me: 


This online workshop allows you to explore what mental health and well-being are, what it means to you and how it impacts you as well as the world around you. 


After you attend this workshop, you will have an enhanced understanding of your own mental well-being and be able to positively impact your personal mental health. 


Disability, Identity and Me: 

What does having a disability mean to you?


This identity session is to help people with disabilities explore and grow their identity and self-acceptance to enable them to celebrate their differences. This workshop will help participants to have a better understanding of barriers and opportunities that having a disability can hold and empower young people to engage in many different possibilities.


Disability, Self-Care and Me: 


This online self-care workshop allows you to discover what self-care means to you and how to use it to support your mental health. 


By the end of the workshop, you will be able to understand what a self-care plan is and now to create one which will help you maintain a positive mindset. 


Please contact Victoria Clark victoria@activeadvantage.org if you have any questions.

05 May 2021National Office Update

 Dear RDA UK volunteers and staff,

I hope you had a good Bank Holiday Weekend and, if you were meeting outdoors, that you survived whatever random Spring weather came your way.

Thanks to all the Regional Showjumping Reps attending tonight’s meeting with National Lead Sally-Anne O’Neill – and to you too, Sally, of course. I hope it goes well.


30-minute webinar

Tomorrow: 6 May, 7pm, 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  

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 - unless you’d like to volunteer to present one (that’s a serious request!), in which case please let me know in time for tomorrow’s email to groups.

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.


That’s all this week. Best wishes and stay safe,


Caroline Ward
Head of Communication & Insight, RDA UK
01926 405968

28 April 2021National Office Update

Dear RDA UK volunteers and staff,

I was very sorry to hear about the death of Jane Guilford, North West Regional Physiotherapist. Jane had been a hard working and dedicated volunteer with RDA for nearly thirty years, including as Chair of the Camsley Grange Group in Cheshire.

As a qualified Physiotherapist, as well as helping children during her working life, she willingly supported the riders across the North West Region and was a valued member of the Regional Committee. Jane leaves a legacy of positivity and sound advice, and she will be sorely missed by all who knew her within RDA and beyond. Our thoughts go to her family at this sad time.

With thanks to Sheila Saner.

In happier news, I am delighted to welcome Kathy Mottershead as the new County Chair for Gloucestershire. Kathy is a coach and trustee at Watershed Group. She takes over from Caroline Longsdon. Thank you Caroline for everything you have done to support RDA UK over the years.


Opportunity to purchase horses

An email was circulated to Regional Chairs and RDA Group Contacts in England, Wales and Scotland yesterday, inviting groups to register their interest in purchasing horses from a large riding centre that is closing. Groups have until the end of today to complete the online form, which can be found here: www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/RDAequines

A copy of my original email can be found on MyRDA here: www.myrda.org.uk/opportunity-to-buy-a-horse/


30-minute webinar

Tomorrow: 29 April, 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. The survey will be similar to the one we carried out last October, and is invaluable for our negotiations with insurers, as well as finding out what percentage of our usual participant numbers we are currently able to work with.

The results will also be circulated to Regional Chairs to help with the local support you provide your groups. Please encourage your signed-off groups to take part.


‘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


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.”


Best wishes and stay safe,


Caroline Ward
Head of Communication & Insight, RDA UK
01926 405968

28 April 2021Edinburgh & Borders Regional Qualifier Classes 2021

The Schedule for our virtual RQ and the one for the virtual Nat Champs taking place in September is now available.

The Schedule covers all the classes - Dressage, Countryside Challenge, Arts& Crafts and Musical Ride.  The Dressage Tests are available on MyRDA under National Championships/Dressage where you can download all the Tests and Scoresheets. The documents are available in pdf form under the competitions tab on the library page.

Further information will be provided as soon as we have confirmation that our Schedule has gone live on Horse Monkey and you can upload entries.  This does not stop you from starting to practice the tests and filming. 

Advice on where best to film a test is also available from My RDA under National Championships.

As you may recall from Sue Mack's talk on Countryside Challenge, to help you get an accurate and useful recording of the test, it is best for the person doing the filming to follow the participant round the course.  For those who were unable to attend the Forum, Sue as made a YouTube Clip which is available through the link on MyRDA which gives you a step by step guide to how to set up a course as well as what a judge will be marking.  To assist with this Sue has kindly sent through the two scoresheets that will be used for the event.  Sue will judge our entries and recommended that you record two separate videos at the same time, one for the RQ and one for the Nat Champs.  If you have any questions relating to Countryside Challenge, Sue is very happy to answer them.  Her email is:  suemackRDA@gmail.com .


Edinburgh & Borders Regional Qualifier Classes 2021


As you are aware in 2021 both the Regional Qualifiers and National Championships will be taking place virtually.


Please see below a list of the Dressage, Countryside Challenge, Arts & Crafts and Musical Ride classes for our Regional Qualifier.  Carriage Driving, Showing and Vaulting classes will have direct entry to the National Championships, and there is an opportunity to take part in the Endurance competition.




There will be no Entry Fee for the 2021 Regional Qualifier with expenses covered by money raised by CHUFFS.

Each group will be required to pay a one-off £1.50 admin fee to access Horse Monkey.


Further Information


Horse Monkey is the entry system we will be using to enter and for you to upload your video(s).  You will be notified once the schedule has been uploaded onto Horse Monkey and is open for entries. 

The closing date for entries to all classes is Sunday 27th June 2021.

Riders who are new to dressage should be entered in one of the Introduction to Dressage Classes 1 to 4.

The winner in each qualifier class will qualify for the National Championships providing they score more than 60%.

In Dressage, two trophies will be awarded based on the best test ridden in the judges’ opinion. Riders placed first in their class are eligible. The Val Brown trophy is awarded to the best rider in the Introduction to Dressage Classes 1 to 4, and the Mark Headen trophy is awarded to the best rider in the Qualifying Classes 5 to 16.

For Countryside Challenge, a trophy will be awarded to the highest scoring Junior and Senior participant.

Please note that if a participant qualifies for the National Championships their contact details will be shared with RDA National Office.

Results will be publicised on the Regional Website http://www.rdasouthscotland.org.uk/ by Friday 9th July 2021.



Written guide for filming virtual competition entries for Regional Qualifiers and National Championships

Video guide for filming virtual competition entries for Regional Qualifiers and National Championships

Extra info can be found on the RDA You Tube channel www.youtube.com/channel/UCrI8v8J0WoEXNCu25ktkm0Q



26 April 2021Horsescotland Update


Covid Guidance Update - 26th April 2021

Today sees some very long awaited normality resume to life in general.

From today, all restrictions for travel around Scotland, and across Britain, are lifted, including for sport and physical activity.

With mainland Scotland moving universally to Level 3, this sees 'field of play' bubbles increase to 30 and we await confirmation from sportscotland around increased event numbers for Levels 0-2. As soon as we have this information we will provide further update. It is anticipated that the vast majority of Scotland will move to Level 2 from Monday17th May and to Level 1 from Monday 7th June. The expectation is that later in June Level 0 will be achieved.

Again, I would like to extend thanks to horsescotland member bodies, venues, participants and to everyone within our Scottish equestrian community that has worked with our Equestrian Guidance throughout. It has been hard going, but today sees us emerge into sunlight from what has been a very long and dimly lit tunnel.

I wish you every success, and enjoyment, within your chosen activity for the forthcoming season.

Grant Turnbull

horsescotland Chair

Visit our website for full details https://www.horsescotland.org/covid-19support

15 April 2021National Office Update

National Office Update 


Dear RDA UK volunteers and staff,

Congratulations and thank you to everyone in Mid West region who supported Wellow Group’s non-Royal visit yesterday. 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

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, the following has been issued by British Equestrian for those that wish to pay their respects:

Guidance for marking the funeral of HRH The Prince Philip

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.

Reminder to groups

For the avoidance of confusion, I will be reminding groups tomorrow 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.

Some volunteers may also need reminding about the difference between the main rda.org.uk site (our public-facing website) and MyRDA (for volunteer support), so I will mention this too.

30-minute webinar

This week: 15 April, 7pm, (just for groups and RDA UK volunteers in Scotland): The Community & Third Sector Recovery Programme.

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

Best wishes and stay safe,


Caroline Ward
Head of Communication & Insight, RDA UK
01926 405968

14 April 2021Horse Scotland Update

COVID Guidance Update - 14th April 2021

The First Minister yesterday provided an unexpected update on COVID-19 and related restrictions. The key elements of the announcement for sport are as follows:

Friday 16 April

✳Travel: From Friday, some travel restrictions will be relaxed to allow travel across Scotland for the purposes of meeting outdoors with friends and family. This will allow travel for informal physical activity, but not for organised sport. Travel restrictions for wider purposes - including organised sport, leisure, shopping, visiting hospitality premises or staying in tourist accommodation - will remain until 26 April, as originally planned, when all travel restrictions within Scotland will be lifted. 

✳Outdoor gatherings: Up to 6 adults from 6 households can meet outside. The exemption for groups of up to 15 adults and over 18's taking part in organised outdoor sport within their own Local Authority area remains.

The accelerated easing of travel restrictions on Friday 16 April is aimed at improving the mental health of the nation by encouraging more people to see small groups of family and friends in an informal outdoor setting. 

Travel for organised sport will still be able to resume as originally planned on Monday 26 April. Please note this applies to all sports, not just equestrian activity. 

We will provide an update in relation to changes that come into effect on April 26 when we have final details

Grant Turnbull
horsescotland Chair

07 April 2021 National Office Update

Dear RDA UK volunteers and staff,

I hope you all had a good Easter. In Warwickshire, we had all possible weathers, but not even the snow could lessen the joy of spending a bit of time with friends. Here we are back at our usual day of Wednesday, with a delightfully short email to get you back into the swing of things.


30-minute webinar

This week: 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


Next week’s webinar (15 April) is just for groups and RDA UK volunteers in Scotland: The Community & Third Sector Recovery Programme.Register at http://www.myrda.org.uk/runningyourgroup/new-participants/new-participants/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:


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


Best wishes and stay safe,


Caroline Ward
Head of Communication & Insight, RDA UK
01926 405968



26 March 2021National Office Update

Dear RDA UK volunteers and staff,

Next 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 everything you have done to spread the word and encourage your groups during this time.

As it’s Good Friday next week, you’re going to have a break from me, and my next email will be Wednesday 7 April (I’m reverting to emailing you on Wednesdays as it seems to work better for getting news out in a timely fashion). As ever, if anything urgent comes up in the meantime I will be in touch.


Useful information at MyRDA.org.uk

Our final theme is ‘Funding’, ensuring group trustees have sufficient confidence in their fundraising capability in order to reopen. The Group Fundraising Support pages of MyRDA contain templates, top tips, ‘how to’ guides and more to help groups 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 for next week’s webinar 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 in advance at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_27p3ZusnR_K9pUg3VR281w  

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with the joining instructions.


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 for groups as and when they 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: www.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: www.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/


Have a good weekend and a Happy Easter,


Caroline Ward
Head of Communication & Insight, RDA UK
01926 405968


20 March 2021National Office Update

Dear RDA UK volunteers and staff,

Great webinar last night all about horses and restarting RDA activities (including RDA UK resources, Carriage Driving horses and communication with riding schools). Thanks to everyone involved. You can catch up at www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1VCALVsvV0

Next week’s theme is all about 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.

Regional Physios – thanks to all of you for everything you are doing to support groups with their concerns about rider fitness.

 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 (will be added Monday) - 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 of last week 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 to groups 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/  


Have a good weekend,


Caroline Ward
Head of Communication & Insight, RDA UK
01926 405968

19 March 2021Ettrickbridge & Dryden RDA Group Balloon Race

12 March 2021National Office Update


Dear RDA UK volunteers and staff,

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. 

Thanks to Sarah Healing and Lynne Munro for last night’s webinar, which is ready to watch along with HRH’s video message and more at:www.youtube.com/channel/UCrI8v8J0WoEXNCu25ktkm0Q

Next 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 REA’s who are on hand to help groups.  

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: http://www.myrda.org.uk/runningyourgroup/horses-and-rda/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:  www.myrda.org.uk/runningyourgroup/horses-and-rda/  . If groups are concerned about their equines immediate health they should consult their practising vet. For general advice then their 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 - Please remind groups to check their 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 I will be asking groups to look out for them and submit bids by 29 March. 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


Have a good weekend,


Caroline Ward
Head of Communication & Insight, RDA UK
01926 405968



12 March 2021Horsescotland Update

COVID Guidance - 12th March 2021
Update from horsescotland Chair, Grant Turnbull 

Dear All

Following on from our statement earlier in the week, we finally received an update from sportscotland on the 'Return to sport and physical activity' guidance at just after 5pm last night.  There has been a tremendous amount of work being carried out by sportscotland around this guidance.  In turn, Fiona Rawson, our Education and Development Manager has gone way beyond the call of duty to revise our Equestrian Guidance in line with the update and this has been turned around overnight and approved by sportscotland this morning.  Absolutely no mean feat, and Fiona's work must be applauded.

Full updated Equestrian Guidance https://www.horsescotland.org/covid-19support

Key points within our revised Equestrian Guidance are as follows:

✳Children under 12 years of age can take part in outdoor contact and non-contact organised sport including training, group exercise and competition (organised activity) within their usual club or facility environment.

✳An outdoor sporting ‘field of play bubble’ for under 12's consists of up to 30 people including children and coaches at any one time.  For 12 years and over (including adults) a ‘field of play bubble' is restricted to up to 15 people, including coaches.

✳Adults (18 years and over) can only take part in organised activity including training and competitions within their own Local Authority area. For informal activity i.e. hacking or facility hire without a coach, they can travel up to 5 miles into a neighbouring Local Authority area. 

✳17 years old and under have an exemption to allow travel to their usual club or facility, including to a national club venue where regular organised activity takes place.  Where it is a national club  event, cross border travel is permitted for organised activity.

✳Further information on travel guidance can be found here Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance on travel and transport - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)

Through working closely with sportscotland, I am delighted to see activity again opening up for the equestrian community in Scotland.  I urge you to work with us, our Member Bodies and the wider community to ensure progression is speedy and continuous.  I personally believe that further relaxation measures are likely to be accelerated and that we can look forward to much greater freedom in the not too distant future.

Thank you for your continued support of what horsescotland does to assist our Scottish equestrian community. 

Grant Turnbull 
horsescotland Chair

08 March 2021President’s Message

Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal has recorded a message for groups in support of our Road to Restart. You can watch it here: https://youtu.be/RnwUUDrhWOo

05 March 2021National Office Update

Dear RDA UK volunteers and staff,

Firstly, an apology for ‘webinar-gate’ – those of you who tried but couldn’t get onto Tuesdays session with Ed Bracher. My fault, a rookie error that is now resolved, but I appreciate how frustrating that was. Next week you’ll be delighted to hear that it’s not me in charge (plus we have increased the number of attendees we can accommodate).

Remember all webinars are recorded and can be found a day or so after the event at www.youtube.com/channel/UCrI8v8J0WoEXNCu25ktkm0Q.

So – onto next week’s theme ‘Group Readiness’. This is all about the steps groups need to take in order to get signed off to restart. Once again, please support your groups in any way you can. Our objective is to get those involved in the practical aspects of restart to understand what they need to do and where to get help.



Step by step information at www.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 groups 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 next week we will 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.  Many of you know Eileen already. She 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. You can find the schedule and other information at www.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 www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/dofesurvey

Regional Equine Advisors & Vets: Please remind your groups about the equine welfare support available from your regional team.


Have a good weekend,


Caroline Ward
Head of Communication & Insight, RDA UK
01926 405968

04 March 2021ScotEquine Card

Horse owners and keepers all over Scotland are already enjoying the added security which comes from registering on ScotEquine.

Firstly, printed horse passports can be left securely at home as they can simply carry their horse's free, compact, and very handsome ScotEquine picture-ID card for most day-to-day purposes.

Secondly, and more significantly, an accurate census of Scotland's equine population will mean ScotEquine's Disease Notification system will come into its own.  Government vets will be able to request that disease alerts be sent out locally, regionally or even nationally as befits the nature of the outbreak.  So, yes, even retired and stay-at-home animals should please register.  We acknowledge the members who have opted-in to help us test the alerts system at regional and national level.  Tests at a local level will follow once the number of members increases so please share our links.

It is also envisaged that the same notification system could be used by Police to alert keepers of localised criminal activity, allowing keepers to be extra vigilant.

Registration and the first ScotEquine card for each horse or pony is free.  Simply click on https://scotequine.com?signup.   Follow the simple on-screen prompts to register as a keeper; after that you can Connect to all your horses, ponies, donkeys, asses, mules and zebras.

If you prefer visual instructions, please check out ScotEquine on YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC206KiNWHoUyjWizemOsjQA

Please check out the ScotEquine YouTube channel for helpful videos https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC206KiNWHoUyjWizemOsjQA/videos


You are invited to please opt-in to the ScotEquine health alerts system testing process.  See https://scotequine.com?optin for instructions and for how this will benefit your horse.


Office hours - Monday to Friday, 9.00am - 5.00pm

Please note that mobile phone numbers used by ScotEquine are for SMS text only.  We cannot access voice or voicemail.


Huntly Business Centre, 83 Gordon Street, Huntly, AB54 8FG
T 01466 405105

01 March 2021National Office Update

 Dear RDA UK volunteers and staff,

As trailed earlier this week, please find here the first of your new Friday emails, as we prepare to launch our 5-week ‘Road to Restart’ programme. Next week’s theme is ‘Trustee Confidence’, and I will be contacting groups on Monday with all the details below.

Please support this theme any way you feel you can in the coming days, to help your Group Trustees understand the vital role they play in the restart process. The planning phase is relevant to all groups – regardless of restrictions on their usual activities or local guidelines. Our single objective should be to encourage Group Trustees to meet up and start their preparations.


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

Next 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.

We would like to prioritise Group Trustees attending this session, which will also be available afterwards.

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


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

Next 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  


Resources to signpost

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!


Other news in brief

The Carriage Driving Magazine Awards are on 14 March from 7pm at www.carriagedrivingawards.co.uk/2020


Best wishes and stay safe,


Caroline Ward
Head of Communication & Insight, RDA UK
01926 405968

23 February 2021National Office Update

Dear RDA UK volunteers and staff,

It’s ok, the week isn’t running away with you, I’m writing a day early following the briefing from the UK Government yesterday and to let you know about our plans for the coming 5 weeks. Please note that groups will also be hearing from me today with the same news.


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 maximum 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 groups 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 relating to that topic.

As RDA UK volunteers, you will hear from me on a Friday (starting this week), as I brief you on the following week’s theme (as well as the usual news). Groups will receive their email on the Monday, introducing the theme for that week. Spoiler alert: the first topic is ‘Trustee Confidence’. Any support you can give your groups in relation to the theme each week will make a huge difference.

The 5 weeks takes us to 29 March, when hopefully many of your groups will be getting ready to restart.

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:



Best wishes and stay safe,


Caroline Ward
Head of Communication & Insight, RDA UK
01926 405968

18 February 2021National Office Update

Dear RDA UK volunteers and staff,

Short and sweet this week. Education, education, education…..


30-minute webinars

This week: 18 Feb, 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 Wagerlwager@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:



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:



Best wishes and stay safe,


Caroline Ward
Head of Communication & Insight, RDA UK
01926 405968



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