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Cotswolds riders’ journey to RDA Championships

Posted on Tuesday, July 30, 2013 by Heather Dodd

becky andrews cotswold rda for Central Horse News

Becky Andrews with her rosette from the Regional Countryside Challenge Qualifier

Six local riders from the Cotswold RDA took part in the Regional Countryside Challenge event at Avon Riding Centre on Monday 20th May, two of them qualifying for the RDA Championships. During the course riders were given the opportunity to put their skills to the test through challenging tasks, demonstrating their ability to steer and maintain balance.

Four more Cotswold RDA Riders entered the Regional Dressage Qualifier two of them proving themselves worthy of a position at the Championships, where they were required to ride a specific test with a predetermined pattern. Dependent on their impairment and/or experience, they can ride tests with walk only, walk and trot or walk, trot and canter. Dressage is a multi-disability activity but at the Championships, intellectual disability and visually impaired riders can choose to ride in their own classes.

The riders acquitted themselves very well at the RDA Championships on 12th July at Hartpury College when Sally Hatherall won a 3rd and James Ashby won a 6th in the countryside challenge. Victoria Smith  won a 6th for turnout and  independent rider Hannah Stalley came 2nd  and 7th in dressage. Aidan O’Donnell came 6th in the art competition and the musical drill ride came first with 100%!

The championships are the RDA’s flagship event, bringing together hundreds of competitors of all abilities. It has grown year on year and is now bigger than the Paralympics and Para World Championships combined. In previous years it has proved a springboard for the Paralympics, with many of the current Team GB having competed at The Championships.

Cotswold RDA is a member of the Riding for the Disabled Association national charity. They offer riding lessons for disabled children and adults and are based at Cheltenham racecourse. The Cotswold RDA has been in operation for over 40 years in various locations in the Cheltenham area.

It has over 200 hundred riders supported by around 150 volunteers every week throughout term time, which equates to nearly 8000 lessons per year. All the riders are physically disabled or have learning difficulties/special needs and all receive positive help and a real boost to their confidence during their time with the group.

The Cotswold RDA has three principal objectives:

  • Developing and supporting opportunities for therapy
  • Developing and supporting opportunities for achievement
  • Enabling physical activity and enjoyment

For more information on Cotswold RDA visit:

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