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03 April 2020Ettrickbridge & Dryden RDA Group Newsletter




Following the government’s announcement yesterday, asking people to work from home and implement social distancing measures, we now assume that most if not all RDA group activity will have to cease.


Open groups

While it is the decision of your board of trustees whether to close or remain open, RDA’s strong advice is for groups to close and suspend activity.

If you do not, you must be certain that you can meet the guidance around social distancing and that your group can put measures in place to keep everyone safe.

What is social distancing?

▪ Social distancing means trying to avoid contact with other people.

▪ It means spending less time in public places, where a lot of people are around.

You can read the government guidelines on this here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people/guidance-on-social-distancing-for-everyone-in-the-uk-and-protecting-older-people-and-vulnerable-adults


Regional Qualifiers & National Championships

In consultation with Regional Chairs and the Championships Lead, we have decided to cancel all Regional Qualifiers and The National Championships. We know this will be disappointing for everyone involved but please understand we have not made this decision lightly.


Coach reviews, First Aid and Safeguarding Updates

We understand that some training or reviews have a deadline attached to them to enable your coaches and volunteers to continue supporting your group. For the time being, we are issuing 6 month extensions on coach reviews and first aid courses.


Whilst safeguarding training should be updated every three years and alternated between face-to-face and on-line, if anyone is due to update their safeguarding and it should be face to face, they can either:

▪ Delay face to face training for up to 6 months i.e. by end of September


▪ Update online, providing face to face training is then attended within 12 months.

Please be assured; we have run this by our insurers who have agreed the extensions in the current circumstances.


Coach assessments

We advise postponing all coach assessments for the foreseeable future. We know this will be a frustration for the coaches affected, but we must prioritise the health of everyone involved, including the riders and volunteers who would be needed. This will mean the coaches will need to continue to be supervised until such time the assessments can be rescheduled.


Closed groups

Understandably, many RDA groups have now taken the difficult decision to close. We fully support this action and know it has not been made lightly. The impact on participants will be significant, as well as for volunteers, for whom RDA provides an important community.


We will continue to support groups as much as possible during this difficult time. There will be a few staff in the office and the majority will be working from home, but please continue to contact us – by email wherever possible.



Some specific areas you might be interested in:

▪ Talk to the comms team about publicity for your group. We will be circulating a template press release to help get support from your local area. This will also be a good time to stay in touch with your RDA community through social media, so please ask if you have any questions or need any advice. cward@rda.org.uk

▪ Talk to the fundraising team about how to use this time to fundraise. This could be a good time to look at MyRDA and applying for grants, using social media to fundraise etc. cyapp@rda.org.uk 

▪ Use our educational resources to help your participants continue with RDA while they can’t come to sessions. Contact Marisa about Proficiency Tests, Arts & Crafts and more. marisa@rda.org.uk


Groups with paid employees

Employees have now been asked to work from home where possible. This may have an impact on your ability to look after your horses. The government has not issued any advice about this yet. We will let you know as soon as this changes.


In the meantime, ACAS is regularly updating its website with useful advice and information for employers and employees. www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus


National Office

National Office remains open but will be operating with a skeleton staff in the office, with the majority of staff working from home. Please contact us by email wherever possible.


Staying safe

Most importantly, we urge you and everyone involved at your group to prioritise their own health and wellbeing. This is an unprecedented situation for all of us and there is still a lot of change to come. We will do our very best to stay in regular contact, to support you and your community as much as possible, and we wish you all the very best of health and good luck in the coming weeks.

Best wishes,


Ed Bracher
Chief Executive, RDA UK


11 March 2020Regional Coaching Conference

Regional Coaching Conference 

You are likely be keeping up to date with events in the media, and may have seen the recent update from RDA UK regarding Covid 19 (copied below for info).  

Whilst there is no firm evidence to suggest that holding our conference on the 22nd of March will add to the risk of the virus spreading, sense would say that we have a duty of care to our volunteers, participants and their families, not to run the event as planned.  

This is a postponement until after Easter and we are currently working with our speakers to identify a suitable date either in late April or early May before the 'silly season' starts.  As soon as we have a date identified a further calling notice and booking form will be sent out.

Thank you for your understanding. 



The date for the conference has been out for some time, but not the content. 

These are the details for the conference and the booking form.  There will be briefings and workshops on:


Equine behaviour and tips to solve

Equine Facilitated Learning

Setting Goals, Risk Assessments & Progression


The conference will again be taking place at the Dick Vet, Easter Bush Campus.

We will be in the Veterinary Teaching Building 


Please have your responses in Wed 18th March so that we can sort out catering etc.





On Thursday Kim and Tess had a great visit to East Fife and Scooniehill Group in their new home at Balcormo Stud, Leven.  It was lovely to be see their new location and hear about their plans for the future.  They have done a great deal of work already and the 'buzz' from the volunteers, is particularly noticeable.  Everyone; participants, volunteers and ponies are happy!  

The picture is of Fran demonstrating her 'pony wash' with hot and cold running water!

04 March 2020Inter Group Quiz

Berwickshire, Borders & Tweeddale groups all had a great time at todays Inter Group Quiz.

Over the 20 years it has been run it has been very sucessful & the volunteers & organisers have enjoyed watching the riders & vaulters who attend grow in confidence and knowledge.

Sadly this is the last quiz of its kind & all the groups involved are grateful to Margaret & the volunteers for all the hard they have put in over the years.

First Place Tweeddale Mercury

Second Place Tweeddale Neptune

Third Place Border Jupiter

Fourth Place Berwickshire Mars

Fifth Place Tweeddale Saturn

Sixth Place Tweeddale Venus




The first session of Safeguarding Training this year has been confirmed for Wed 1st Apr at Muirfield RDA Group and will run from 6-9pm.     

The location, date and time might not suit all but other sessions will be organised.

There are spaces available for up to 25 volunteers to attend and whilst there is a demand from Muirfield Group, spaces are available to other Groups who might have Safeguarding Officers, Coaches, Coaches in Training who require to attend a face to face session. As a reminder Safeguarding Officers and Coaches must do their first course face to face, then they can do the e-learning after 3 years. Then when that expires after another 3 years they must do a face to face course again.

If you have anyone who needs to attend the training on 1st Apr please e-mail Kim and Susan Law giving the individuals name, role and a contact telephone number (in case of last minute changes).

A further note will follow on Safeguarding and First Aid training to ascertain who across the Region needs this training in 2020.






On Wednesday 5th February, members from Kirkcudbright Inner Wheel presented Galloway RDA with a cheque for £400. The Inner Wheel nationally has over 14,000 members in GB and Northern Ireland and they have chosen Riding for the Disabled as their charity of the year supporting RDA groups both locally and on a national level.

Speaking on behalf of Kirkcudbright Inner Wheel Barbara Hawksfield (Chairman) said she was delighted that the local branch of the Inner Wheel could support the excellent work carried out by Galloway RDA for both children and adults within the Kirkcudbright area.

The members enjoyed watching and talking to the riders from Borgue and Kirkcudbright High and Primary Schools and RDA volunteers and Instructors were also on hand to answer any questions. Our lovely ponies also received lots of attention.

Tricia Keith, Chairman, Galloway RDA thanked the members of Kirkcudbright Inner Wheel for their support and generosity and the money received will help fund activities and events planned for 2020/21.



14 February 2020RDA Dressage Judges’ Training Day - SCOTLAND

RDA Dressage Judges’ Training Day - SCOTLAND

Glasgow RDA, Sandyflat, Summerston G23 5NA

Sunday 29th March 2020

Hosted by John Robinson


We’re pleased to announce that RDA will be hosting the next Dressage Judges’ training day in Glasgow, on Sunday 29th March 2020. The final programme will be available very soon, but we are now taking reservations for places at this important event, for all current and prospective judges.


Whilst open to any interested RDA/BD Dressage reps, coaches, volunteers and riders, RDA Dressage Judge training days are essential for anyone wanting to become an RDA Dressage Judge - and are also currently a requirement for those also wishing to become a British Dressage Para Judge.

There will be no charge for attending the training – if you wish to book a place please complete and return this form to Marissa (marisa@rda.org.uk) either by post, or by return email, before Monday 16th March.



14 February 2020BEF/ BD Para Classification Hub - SCOTLAND

BEF/ BD Para Classification Hub - SCOTLAND

Glasgow RDA, Sandyflat, Summerston G23 5NA

Sunday 15th March 2020

British Dressage Scotland is currently working with the BEF to host a para classification hub at Glasgow RDA, on Sunday 15th March. This is the first such opportunity for quite some time, and as such we’d strongly recommend any riders interested in being classified at this event to contact Emma Stewart, British Dressage RDO (Scotland), to find out more: Emma.Stewart@BritishDressage.co.uk / Tel: 07584 147258



26 January 2020National Championships

National Championships 2020

The RDA National Championships is RDA’s flagship event, bringing together in excess of 500 competitors of all abilities in events including Carriage Driving, Countryside Challenge, Dressage, Showjumping, Vaulting and Showing.

Year on year the Championships has grown with 2019 seeing record figures. The RDA National Championships is bigger than the Paralympics and Para World Championships combined. In previous years it has proved a springboard for the Paralympics, with many of the Team GBR riders having competed with us.

The RDA National Championships is held at Hartpury University & Hartpury College in Gloucestershire during July each year. Riders must first qualify at a Regional Qualifier in one of our 18 regions, these usually take place through April & May but do start as early as September the previous year.  Riders from all over the country compete at the Championships and come away with a sense of achievement, great confidence, new friends – not to mention the odd rosette!

2020 Event

We are delighted to announce that the dates for the 2020 RDA National Championships are Friday 10th – Sunday 12th July 2020


Fiona Harris

National Office

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