Congratulations to all our participants at the RDA Virtual National Championships

For the second year running RDA National has run a virtual National Championships. This provides a great opportunity for our riders and drivers to participate in a national competition without leaving the safety of familiar surroundings. This year we had participants competing in dressage, countryside challenge, show jumping, musical rides, carriage driving dressage and musical carriage drives. Well done to all the teams of riders, drivers, helpers and coaches that made this possible. I think we can safely say all that took part had great fun and plenty of rosettes were won too.

East Region RDA Competition

Charlotte and Rebecca with their rosettes

Well done to the whole team who went to the RDA regional competition on the 20th May. The riders, parents, carers, volunteers, ponies and staff all did a fantastic job. Six riders competed in the Countryside Challenge, with Isabella and Harvey coming 4th and 6th in the class for riders with a sidewalker. Team Barrow Farm RDA did a fantastic job in the led class with Emanuele winning, Andrew 2nd (both qualifying for the National Championships) and Darcey a very close 3rd. It was the first time all these riders had attended so a big well done for rising to the occasion. In the vision impaired class, Charlotte, who is blind, scored an incredible 88%. Charlotte has competed before. She has been used as an example to promote more blind riders to take part in the event but she is always up for a challenge. So this year Charlotte completed the Countryside Challenge off-lead on Lula with Clare only there to provide audio information where necessary. Charlotte has a team of tappers who tap the obstacles so she knows where they are. Charlotte also qualified for the National Championships.

Boycie doing countryside challenge

In the dressage, Charlotte also qualified for the National Championships, her challenge in the dressage was to do it on a different horse. Last year she took the dependable Tawny, this year she went much bigger and rode Rafferty. She did a great job and Rafferty behaved impeccably apart from being keen to investigate the judge’s lunches which contained apples. Rebecca who rides alongside Charlotte on their regular lessons also competed in the new Introduction to Dressage qualifying class, she won her class and also qualified for the Nationals. Rebecca rode the very dependable Lula. On the senior team Claire rode Rafferty to win the Grade 1 dressage, with Emma on Lula coming a very close 3rd. Emma has had a busy week as she raised funds for Barrow Farm RDA earlier this week by going over the O2. Clare, her coach, said that she was really pleased with how Emma and Lula performed their test, they have been working on their accuracy and this paid off on the day. Another first timer was Gina who also rode Rafferty in the Grades 1-6 walk only dressage. She scored just under 68%, the highest Barrow Farm RDA score of the day and was another one to qualify for the National Championships.

Gina on Rafferty

Well done team, and we look forward to our next competition which is at home on 1st July, with the National Championships occurring 2 weeks later.

Barrow Farm Show on 9th July

Katie and Starra after low branches
Katie and Starra having been under the low branches

On the 9 July 2017 we held a competition at home for our riders. There were a number of classes that were offered including Introduction to Dressage, Dressage to Music, Pick Your Own Dressage and Countryside Challenge. The great thing about doing this at home was that the horses and ponies did not have to travel so we could offer it to all our riders. It was a great experience for some of our younger horses in preparation for them going out to compete at RDA competitions. It also meant that some of more inexperienced riders got to compete at home, where it was familiar rather than by being overwhelmed by competing in an unfamiliar environment.

Kiara and Nicco in the Introduction to Dressage
Kiara and Nicco in the Introduction to Dressage

The horses and ponies all behaved themselves brilliantly and the riders all did a fantastic job making judging very difficult. Some of our riders who have competed regularly did a good job but it was really good to see some new faces doing well too. Gina had never ridden a dressage test or even ridden in the outdoor manege but did an excellent job in the walk only Introduction to Dressage to come second. Boycie again demonstrated he plans to follow in Tawny’s footsteps when Holly, in her first RDA competition, won the Freestyle Dressage to Music.

Boycie and Holly doing dressage
Boycie and Holly doing dressage

All the competitors got a rosette with their favourite pony on it for taking part. The winners of each class got a trophy and the first six places all got rosettes that were kindly sponsored by Kampa, The  Peck family and Murphy the horse (who belongs to one of our helpers – Pat Rogers Harrison. In addition we presented two special new trophies that will be awarded annually. Firstly there is the Jet Trophy for the dressage rider with the highest score across the competition. Some of you may not remember but Jet was very successful at dressage both in RDA competitions taking many riders to the National Championships and also with Anne before she switched to driving. The second was the John Adler Trophy for the rider who scored the most points across the Countryside Challenge classes. John was our longest serving trustee until he retired at the end of December 2016, sadly earlier this year John passed away. John was always keen to give riders new opportunities to provide enjoyment as well physical and educational benefits. Each trophy (which will get returned each year) came with a very posh rosette that the riders will keep.

Trophy presentation
John Adler’s wife Hilary and daughter Fiona presenting the trophy and rosette to Charlotte

It was great to see so many of our riders have the opportunity to compete and all do so well. Alongside the event, some of our volunteers offered strawberry teas for refreshment. These were very popular with both riders and spectators and raised over £400. We also need to say thank you to the judges who gave up their time to adjudicate on the day, we also need to thank Suzette for providing a feast for our judges for their lunch. Lastly we need to say a big thank you to all the volunteers who helped on the day, the staff and horses worked hard but the day would not be possible without all the volunteers who led, side-walked, helped organise riders and acted as stewards.