Supra Conference 2019
West and Central scotland
Riding for the disabled
Slowly and carefully RDA Groups all around the UK are beginning to emerge from the months under lockdown. We are definitely not out of the woods yet, but are beginning to get a little bit freer and wiser.
Whilst we have been shut away many of us have learnt new skills and have stayed connected via Zoom. I, for one, do not always know what I am doing but after a bit of practice it has been wonderful to enjoy time with colleagues and friends.
A few months ago we began our Zoom Forums, led by Anne Brown , supported by Petra Humphries and organised by Mary Dunlop. The Forums have been well attended by group representatives from all corners of our region and a growing attendance has helped us all share what is going on and learn a great deal.
Tess Fordham, a vet from the Royal Dick Vet College in Edinburgh, put together an excellent presentation on Equine Behaviour and Training. I know many of us were quick to try out the techniques – and they worked!
The good news is Tess in in the midst of preparing further presentations and when they are available I will be quick to let you know.
Zoom has provided a lifeline for many of us , to keep in touch and to be able to see a friendly face whilst doing so. Groups have adopted Zoom for essential meetings, presentations, training and activities and most importantly engaging with our volunteers and participants along the way. AGMs have been moved to a zoom format , enabling groups to keep up to date with governance. The more we use it the more opportunities we find and I am sure I will use it moving forward.
This year the committee had been desperate to arrange some form of Scottish Competition this Autumn, unfortunately this is simply not possible.
Lastly, I am sure I echo many of the groups by saying we look forward to a time when we can welcome back our participants to every group; In the meantime thank you for all your efforts and patience.
Regional Chairman West & Central Scotland
Regional Chairman's Welcome
West & Central Scotland Regional Chairman
Riding for the Disabled Association
Our Region is looking for a new Chairman to start in January 2021
Please consider this role for yourself but also share with those you feel may be interested in it - an experience of RDA or equestrian activities in the area would be preferable but not essential.
There is a well structured Regional Committee in place with the support of Head Office available throughout your tenure.
Strong business acumen
Ability to organise and motivate
A passion for driving forward the activities of a charity organistaion
Ability to build internal and external relationships
This is a voluntary role with the ability to delegate tasks to experienced committee members.
The role , currently undertaken by Kate Bennet, is integral to each and every one of our Groups and their continued success.
We have all witnessed the impact that RDA can make on the lives of our members, so if you or someone you know is interested in discussing further please do get in touch with Kate - firstname.lastname@example.org .
Whilst it was the RDA' s 50th Anniversary it was also the Horse Trial's 30th and the Castle's 750th, making it a perfect year for partnership and celebration.
Our longstanding relationship with Blair Castle Horse Trials extends beyond our annual stall; with many of our participants and volunteers helping to deliver dressage scores.
The Horse Trials team organised a lovely Gin tasting with Persie Gins, with proceeds going towards our total.
BLAIR CASTLE INTERNATIONAL HORSE TRAILS
CHARITY OF THE YEAR 2019
Anne Brown ,provided an excellent presentation 'Mrs Broon's Story: A RDA' s Rider's Story'.
Wendy Scott provided an informative talk entitled ' Driving Force' which gave an insight into Carriage Driving to the audience.
Petra Humphrey gave attendees a better look into the 'In's and Outs' of what we do and how it all works.
Thank you to all those who helped make it a Blair to remember!
As Charity of the Year our Regional Committee worked tirelessly to prepare and execute a successful week.
We had 50th Anniversary scarves, a very welcome 'Shop & Drop' drop for the public and informative talks - to name but a few!
Volunteers pounded the 'pavements' collecting donations, raffles were won and doggy bow-ties were sold to owners of unsuspecting dogs.
With all the hard work of over 90 volunteers it was no surprise that the weekend was a success - a total of £10,472 was raised.
With the Horse Trials cancelled this year we look forward to 2021 and another year of fundraising, fun and a lot of hard work.
Until then here are some more pictures of 2019!
SUPRA CONFERENCE 2019
CELEBRATING OUR 50TH YEAR AND LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
Throughout 2019 Riding for the Disabled Association celebrated our 50th Anniversary.
This was rounded off in spectacular fashion by a SUPRA Conference held at Ingliston Country Club and hosted by the West and Central Scotland Region - an honour in itself!
The Conference centered around 'Help Our Horses Help Us' and included talk and demonstrations.
Cathy Burrell, Dressage Coach, informed us on how to match a horse with the right rider; Felicity George , a Horse Behaviourist, gave us lessons on how to read horses emotions and Russel Guire, a Horse Trainer and Biomechanics expert, explained how cutting edge Biomechanics can be applied to horses and ponies.
All of this was perfectly rounded off by Riders of Storm who completed a display before talking through techniques on how to gain a horses trust.
HRH The Princess Royal presented 14 volunteers with long time service awards and a further 5 with Volunteers of the Year awards and Over and Above awards.
It was a great day to celebrate the 50th anniversary but also to recognise the development of the West and Central Region since it started in 1967.
HRH The Princess Royal addressed the attendees, reflecting on the strong foundations that the RDA has been built on that now provide a great platform for an exciting future.
Ed Bracher, RDA CEO, encouraged the ongoing development and growth of the RDA allowing for continuing improvement to benefit all RDA participants.
David Milne receiving his award
OUR AWARD WINNERS
25 YEARS SERVICE AWARD
Miss Gillian Beattie (Winton)
Miss Julie McKerracher ( Glasgow)
35 YEARS SERVICE AWARD
David Milne ( Forth Driving)
40 YEARS SERVICE AWARD
Mrs Elizabeth Scott Dempster ( Breadalbane)
Mrs Rosamund Blair ( Glasgow)
30 YEARS SERVICE AWARD
Miss Patsy Muir Simpson ( Forth Driving)
45 YEARS SERVICE AWARD
Mrs Fiona Ross ( Carrick)
50 YEARS SERVICE AWARD
Mrs Phyllis Beattie ( Glasgow)
OVER & ABOVE AWARD
Mrs Barbara Dowdeswell ( Blairgowrie)
Mrs Vivienne Price ( Argyll Carriage Driving)
REGIONAL VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR
Mr Ian Ward (Gareloch)
Updates from each of our Groups during a very strange year
Argyll RDA Carriage Driving Group
Tiny Tim has been enjoying a busy lockdown period as good weather early on meant that he could be exercised in the arena and following updated coaching regulations he is now quite busy.
The group has been preparing for its move to Lochaber Rural Centre at the end of this season and drivers there have been working towards their assessments with weekly visits.
Our other RDA pony, Red, remained at his winter grazing with Carol Boswell, following the lockdown announcement, where he is exercised regularly.
We really miss all our drivers and having to cancel the Scottish Driving Holiday was a huge disappointment- but we have already booked up for next year.
Blairgowrie has not yet been able to welcome our riders back to the yard - but that doesn’t mean we haven't been busy behind the scenes!
Next year is the 50th anniversary of Blairgowrie RDA and we’re busy making plans to celebrate this amazing milestone. We’re very proud to be one of the oldest groups in the UK and are hugely excited about our half century, particularly after a challenging 2020.
Over the coming months, our website and social media will carry all the details about our plans for the Golden Jubilee and how people can get involved – find out more at www.blairgowrierda.co.uk and our Facebook page @BlairgowrieRDA. We would love to hear from anyone who has been involved in the group over the last five decades to help mark this special occasion by sharing their memories and photographs with us at email@example.com
We recently launched a monthly lottery, the 100 Clip Clop Club Draw, which has proven hugely popular! We were delighted when the first winner kindly donated her prize back to the group to help fund the care of our four ponies, Erin, Morven, Percy and Tony.
Although the schools have now returned, unfortunately we’ve not been able to welcome back our young riders yet but our volunteers are working hard to ensure the yard meets all the criteria for our reopening.
Blairgowrie RDA chair Rhona Christie said: “Our fantastic team of volunteers have done a great job of caring for the ponies at our base at Easter Rattray Farm over the last few months and we’re very grateful for their support.
“Morven, Erin, Percy and Tony love interacting with the children, who come from across the local area including Coupar Angus, Meigle, Burrelton and Alyth, and we’ve been working hard over the last few months to keep the four-legged foursome fit and healthy for lessons restarting."
Breadalbane & District Group
We had a very successful season last year with 2 riders passing Grade 3 Riding and Horse Care and everyone passed Grades or was given an Endeavour Award. Our new Shed which was very kindly donated by the League of Friends of Aberfeldy Cottage Hospital is ideal and has been proved to be very dry during the winter. We have one Coach in Training who is hoping to qualify next year.
We were awarded a generous grant from the Region from the Blair Castle Horse Trials for Show-Jumping Equipment and Riding Hats, but this will have to wait until 2021.
We started up again on the 24th of August doing Horse Care to help us adhere to strict social distancing. We had two seven year olds attend, one of whom is unable to stand unaided because of Cerebral Palsy.
We set up two mounting blocks on either side of our pony ,Amy, and Emma was able to stand with support from her mother. Our other pony was 'fenced' in by blocks - both were very happy to be brushed and thoroughly enjoyed their haynets.
We followed, to the letter, all the rules set out. Parents were told to wait in the car until invited in by one of our volunteers. All equipment was ready and both mothers were able to help put this on. While the children waited they were given a talk about grooming kits. Everything was taken home with them and they now arrive dressed and ready each week.
The children were very happy to greet and groom the two very muddy ponies. It was good to see their delight at being 'in touch' again with their ponies.
The able-bodied child was able, with a helper, to lead his pony round the are and came back grinning ear to ear. Gunner, our pony, obeyed verbal commands brilliantly.
Despite the weather making it a rather damp experience it was felt by all to have been a success with protocols managed very well. We aim for our children to achieve Horse Care Grade 2 by the end of the term.
We are yet to re-start but there have been many positives since last Autumn.
Last October we held a celebration for the 50th anniversary of the founding of the RDA, which included dressage tests and some very competitive games.
The group also had a great Christmas party at Bargower Riding School, which was hugely enjoyed by all those who attended.
It would be remiss not to mention the enormous undertaking that we have just completed. Working hard behind the scenes with arena maintenance and the laying of a new surface at Ayr Equestrian Centre. Our sincere thanks to the Galbraith family of AEC for their unwavering support throughout the project and over the last thirty years.
To all our volunteers who have helped to paint, screw in nails and generally help pull it all together - Thank you! We are indebted to all of you.
We look forward to welcoming our riders and volunteers back when we are able to do so.
EQUI-POWER CENTRAL SCOTLAND GROUP
It has been a successful year for Equi-Power.
Our vaulting coach Lynne Blore landed two awards at the Horse Scotland event in early March - Participant and Young Person's coach.
Fifteen participants benefited from online learning with coaches from the 21st of March this year, along with online fun vaulting practice activities. Learning online included RDA levels 1 to 3 and some BHS Challenge awards as well as craft activities.
During lockdown three participants engaged in 'mind-coaching' with Jane Bridley thanks to the funding from the Region's Blair pot. Some funding was also used for coach development sessions to support the mental health of participants, we are working on developing resources that our coaches and participants can use to manage anxiety.
A phased return to services with horses began on Saturday the 15th of August and participants unable to ride will benefit from horse care practicals and Equine Facilitated Learning.
Julie- Anne was invited to provide training in Equine Facilitated Learning for Edinburgh and Borders RDA, a recording of this session will be made available.
Julie-Anne is also in discussions with RDA UK about supporting the inclusion of safe ground work activities within RDA insurance. A very important part of this process is the inclusion of questions around mental health and behaviour on participant and volunteer application forms and having trained specialists on a panel that approves applications and signposts to appropriate levels of support for both physical and psychological safety for all parties.
Equi-Power walkers successfully completed the Kilt Walk surpassing their target of ten thousand pounds. Walkers strutted their stuff on the West Highland Way, London and Stirling with the walk ending at Kildean, the site for our new facilities. The walk was coordinated by SOGB Athlete Ambassador Lyn Dumbleton and her Mum. Thanks to a tip off from Mary Dunlop, Equi-Power was gifted a four berth caravan and awning, along with a 12 man tent from a generous gentlemam in Perth - we foresee this being very useful moving forward.
Last September we had the honour of welcoming HRH The Princess Royal who was treated to a demonstration from Linda Farquhar and Ann Cameron who drove Ozzy and Splash. Both the ponies were presented with Long Service Awards.
The RDA' s 50th Anniversary was a great excuse to celebrate with friends, cake and a driving course. It was enjoyed by all those that attended.
In this most unusual year we would have hosted our own competition at the end of September. It is always such a fun time with lots of support from the sideline.
Drivers would have enjoyed everything from the local streets to regional and national competitions. All of this has been made possible by a wonderful volunteer support team , who really do make dreams possible.
Thank you to you all, it seems like such a small thing to say but it is heart felt. Driving has not happened this year but we look forward to the future.
Forth Valley RDA Group
What a different year it has been at Forth Valley RDA!
Towards the end of our season last year our riders were progressing well. All of them were gaining in confidence and strength along with their riding abilities and were looking forward to continuing that over winter.
All our riders achieved their endeavour challenges along with a few progressing up in their horse care and riding levels.
In January Liz retired as Chair after over 10 years and was replaced by Hazel.
Over the winter our volunteers continued their hard work with the ponies to keep their fitness up in preparation for lessons re-starting in March. However, due to Covid-19 this did not happen.
Despite lockdown our key horse care volunteers have been working hard. Alison has been fundraising by making and selling masks for those in her area.
Although we knew RDA meant a lot to all of us we did not truly understand the gap it would leave in our lives. At the end of August we managed to start one lesson a week and are now looking at setting up a Quiet Corner.
We look forward with hope and anticipation to be able to open this up in the face of our challenged futures.
The groups carriage driving ponies, Bobbie and Isaac, moved to Easterton Farm Park for summer turnout. They have been very happy, and the staff have been accommodating and helpful.
With our wonderful volunteers help we have been able to exercise the ponies twice a week; the drive to their new home is a much longer journey, so we thank them for their continued support and commitment.
The ponies have been getting used to their new surroundings and whilst we can’t take participants out until there are no social distancing measures, we hope to have our coaches out shortly.
By the time this is published we hope to have launched our Quiet Corner activity at Easterton which will allow our drivers to spend some much needed time with the ponies whilst adhering to Social Distancing measures.
The Groups riding lessons were able to get underway on the 24th of July at our regular base of Colgrain Equestrian Centre but are limited to our more able riders and those whose family can assist. We are indebted to volunteers who have worked hard to put all the paperwork in place and get Harris, our lovely pony, suited and booted for each lesson.
We are well underway in preparing to welcome back our members and volunteers, by the time this is printed we hope to be re-starting albeit in a new normal.
Over last summer, with the support of Patersons of Greenoakhill Ltd we made upgrades to the centre with new kickboards and lighting in our outdoor school and stable area. Along with some upgrades to our fencing to keep our friends safe.
At the start of August we launched a competition to select the new colour for our outdoor arena. In December the work was completed with WGM Engineering kindly donating the paint and carrying out the work.
Our Riders and ponies were honoured to take part in the Supra Conference in the Presence of HRH Princess Anne in October.
November saw the Glasgow Group win the British Horse Society Approvals Centre award for ‘the facility which has made the greatest difference to the community’.
Our Tulliallen Trail was reinstated and refurbished with help from our Corporate Groups and our office received a makeover with some lovely furniture donated by BAM Properties.
During Lockdown Smudge has helped keep our members and volunteers engaged and challenged! Whilst Smudge got stuck into the 2.6k challenge he also challenged Lynda, Julia and Chelsea to the 26k a day challenge with Marianne also completing the 2.6k Challenge.
We would like to thank our Staff, Volunteers and Supporters who make everything possible . The horses and ponies have enjoyed an enforced holiday we all miss the buzz that our participants bring.
The team look forward to welcoming all our riders back as soon as we safely can.
Kinfauns Group were able to start one to one lessons at the beginning of July. We took this time to also start training parents to help with mounting and dismounting , along with leading their child's pony.
We have set out strict instructions for those who attend and operate a Track and Trace system.
Over the last month we have been able to conduct lessons with two riders at a time.
It has been lovely to welcome back our coaches Rosie and Sarah.
Over the Lockdown period many of our supporters were busy raising funds for the group. Notably, Hayley Tomson who raised £370.50 through her bake sale and Karen Brown who raised £530.00 with her annual plant sale.
The group ran a Race Night at the end of last year which proved to be a great success.
Our riders were kept busy earlier in the season with dressage tests and many passed their Grade 1&2 assessments successfully.
It has not been easy to get up and running but judging by the reaction of our young participants the decision has proven a major benefit to them.
Hand sanitiser kindly donated by Mull & Iona Trust
At the start of March we joined forces with Isle of Mull Pony Club for a First Aid course run by one of our local paramedics. After a full on morning with lots to remember we got to spend time in small groups working through scenarios.
Not only did we get to try out what we learned, we also saw how important it was to manage people after an incident. Richard Kellett, our trainer, was adept at throwing extra complications into the scenarios as we worked through them, and we now know who the group's drama queens are. We witnessed some truly excellent hysterics from some of our 'casualties'.
That was almost our last group event before Lockdown - we held our AGM by Zoom (possibly our fastest AGM ever), and were due to start back riding on the 11th of September.
We we able to start back on the 18th of September after a false start due to weather conditions. It was a beautiful day and great to welcome back returning members.
Oban and Lorn Group
Our riding classes stopped on 20th March 2020.
We have missed our social side as not being able to see one another has prevented our Open Day, bingo and shop performing as normal. We feel a bit like old nags on box rest!
We look forward to welcoming back all our members and volunteers when it is safe to do so. In the meantime, we must think positively and obey the rules.
Last term our riders were busy both on and off the ponies. Early in school year we welcomed Kate and Petra for a visit and they enjoyed an uncharacteristically sunny day.
Members of the group took advantage of the creative writing competition. Christopher Campbell, Danielle Ashworth and Rhyianna Stevely all received rosettes for their entries; submissions varied from poems to short stories, but all had one thing in common – the Velvet Path Ponies!
We look forward to welcoming our members back when it is safe to do so.
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