What is the difference between North Wales RDA Region and the Clwyd Special Riding Centre?

The Region includes all the RDA groups in North Wales plus the Regional and County Committee members. Region exists to help ALL member RDA groups and individuals.

The Clwyd Special Riding Centre (CSRC) was created to be a hub of RDA activity in the Eastern Counties of North Wales for RDA Groups. CSRC has expanded into a service providing centre for activities for people with Special Needs and Physical Disabilities. Four separate RDA Groups from N.E. Wales hire facilities at the CSRC on a weekly basis, as well as a “Hippotherapy” group (Physiotherapy on horseback) led by a private qualified physiotherapist. A new Centre for Equine Therapy and Learning (CELT project) will shortly open at CSRC, funded by a Big Lotto Grant for the first 3 years, providing Therapy to people with more profound or complex needs who may not be able to access RDA sessions.

The Region is entirely separate from CSRC (though Region does hire facilities and hold events at CSRC.) Both are charities in their own right- fundraise separately- and have different charity numbers.

What does the Region do?

The Region exists to support RDA members and RDA Groups within North Wales Region. A Regional committee- including Regional Chair, Secretary and Treasurer- work alongside RDA Groups, Coaches and Representatives to provide support and help in the following areas:

  • Funding for activities such as holidays/skills week/learning days
  • Subsidies for training, competitions and events- such as RDA Regional Qualifiers and RDA National Championship Competition.
  • Training for RDA coaches and volunteers- who form the backbone of the work done in the Region
  • Providing information to RDA members and individuals wishing to access RDA
  • Networking with RDA National Office in Warwick to ensure up to date information (such as insurance, health and safety etc) is passed to RDA Groups and committee members
  • Networking with other RDA regions nearby- our nearest regions are North West and West Mercia Regions- to let our members know about other training and events that may be closer geographically than events occurring in North Wales
  • Meetings three times per year to ensure Group Organisers/contacts are kept in the loop
  • Creating awareness of RDA activities to the public, e.g. Regional Magazine
  • Helping RDA groups to comply with guidelines and standards set out by National RDA

Can my child/family member enter competitions/events even if my RDA group or instructor is not attending the competition/event?

Yes, some events will be open to ALL members of RDA, regardless of which group they come from or whether their Group Coach can attend with them, such as:

  • Regional Fun Days or Learning Days
  • Regional Vaulting training and Fun Vaulting competition days
  • Regional meetings and Regional AGM (though please always let the Regional Secretary know you wish to attend)
  • Regional Dressage Clinics and Show Jumping Clinics (coached by coaches provided by the Region for the day)
  • Regional Holidays

However, some events may require your Group Coach to be present with you. In special circumstances- such as a County coach accompanying you, or for independent riders- RDA members can attend even if their Group Coach is not able to attend with them. The following are events where it is best to check beforehand if you require your Group Coach to be present with you:

  • Regional Qualifier Competitions held at Regional Venues- Dressage, Countryside Challenge and Show Jumping
  • National Championships Held at Hartpury College
  • Regional Carriage Driving events and Fun days
  • Group Fun Days at events outside the Group’s normal venue

What is the Countryside Challenge?

This further develops the skills that riders have acquired in RDA sessions, by going through a course of challenges that they might find on a ride in the country. Whilst the focus is on ‘enjoyment’, it is both challenging and stimulating. The rider’s steering, balance and confidence are tested as they post letters, encounter sheep and hens, and open the farm gate

What is Dressage?

The horse and rider are judged as a combination, and ride a series of school movements from memory or a “caller” can be used. They ride a specific test with a predetermined pattern in a 20m x 40m arena and can also choose to ride a freestyle test, where they choose what movements they do but must include set movements within the test. 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 National Championships, with classified riders, visually impaired riders and riders with learning disabilities each competing in their own classes. To be classified riders must go to a specially trained physiotherapist who decides after a series of tests which grade the rider will compete in. Riders do not have to be classified and can ride in the open class (now called grade 6) competing against riders with different disabilities.

What is Show Jumping?

Rider and horse are judged as they complete a course of at least 5 jumps- height of the fences will be up to 30cm for Level 2, and the height will increase for levels 3, 4 and 5. A Group may only provide Show Jumping if it is registered as a SJ group and the horses have been passed as SJ horses at a certain level by the Region’s SJ Assessor. North Wales Region (at this time, 2018) offers only Level 2 show jumping at 2 groups.

Junior or Senior rider?

All classes are divided into Junior and Senior. Junior riders are aged 16 years and under as at 1 January of this year.

Which competition?

We aim to give all our riders the opportunity of competing at least once during the year. Our competitions can be grouped into 3 levels: local, regional and national (See below).

RDA Group Competitions (local level or “in house”)

Organised by a group- for RDA riding members who are based at the group.

Each group may run this differently, or some groups combine together a day for a competition. These are open to those riders who may not have the opportunity to enter in the Regional level this year. The main aims of these competitions are:

v To introduce the experience of a competition

v To provide a platform to achieve

v All competitors receive a rosette

v Highest placed Junior and Senior participant awarded a Winners Cup

Some Groups may hold a Group level “Qualifier” to select riders to enter for the N Wales Regional level competitions.

North Wales Competitions (regional level)

These are the qualifying competitions for the RDA National Championships held at Hartpury College in Gloucester. It would be expected that all participants were capable of achieving 60% or over, and that they should be prepared to travel to compete in the National Championships. The two highest place competitors in each class will qualify. Please note that the result must be 60% or over for the dressage and 65% or over for the Countryside Challenge to qualify.

On the day of the competition, those qualifying, will be asked to fill in the Hartpury forms and pay for the entry (most groups prefer cash or cheque at present.) The participant will be given a qualifying pack, and that will contain all information you need regarding travel, accommodation, facilities etc

There is also a non-qualifying class available at Regional level for classes not available at Hartpury (eg two side helpers for countryside challenge) and dressage riders who wish to ride at the Regional qualifiers but not compete at Hartpury.

Showjumping classes may be held, subject to sufficient entries, for Level 2 Show Jumping and above, but will depend upon the venues horses and what level the venue is able to provide. Often the Show Jumping qualifiers have been held on the same day as the Dressage qualifiers. If no qualifier is held then riders wishing to qualify for Hartpury may compete at another Region’s qualifier (e.g. North West or West Mercia Regions) or a Show jumping coach may assess the rider at an arranged time to ensure the rider reaches the level of 60% Trophies will be given to the highest senior and highest junior score in each class. In 2018 a trophy will also be given to the highest score for children under the age of 8.

North Wales Fun Days/competitions and Taster days

Organised by the North Wales RDA Region for those riders who have not had the opportunity to participate in the Regional competitions. A day of fun riding! The fun days run subject to sufficient interest from the region.

RDA National Championship Competition (national level)

Participants from over 490 RDA member groups in the United Kingdom come together to compete. A magnificent event running over 3 days, that displays a very high standard of riding, carriage driving and vaulting. Usually held from Friday to Sunday in mid July.

Behind the Scenes…

Competitions days are a hive of activity that starts long before the first participant rides, and continues long after the last rider. Without the dedicated help of our fantastic team of volunteers, none of the above competitions could be realised. Please treat them with respect and remember a ‘thank you’ goes a long way!

Horses to ride at Hartpury are usually organised by the Region and with the Groups who are taking horses to Hartpury. These horses are shared by all N Wales riders, and Region subsidises the costs of transporting the horses to Hartpury. Sometimes horses can be borrowed or hired from other RDA Regions, Groups or from individuals (e.g if the rider has their own horse.)

Horses must have been assessed as safe and appropriate for RDA riders either at Group level or by the Regional coach.

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