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.

East Region Dressage and Countryside Challenge

Well done to all our riders who took part at the East Region Countryside Challenge and Dressage competitions on Sunday 22nd May. All the riders, ponies, volunteers and staff were immaculately presented and did an amazing job representing Barrow Farm. The horses and ponies behaved themselves (apart from giving in to the temptation of eating the lush grass in the ring) and all the riders did fantastically. We came home with rosettes of all colours.

Louise and Lula at the apple trees
Louise and Piper Lou picking an apple to put in the bucket

In the Countryside Challenge juniors with a helper Molly came 4th on Oural, Elodie came 5th on Oural and Louise came 6th on Piper Lou. In the led juniors Charlotte came 1st on Piper Lou and Harry came 3rd on Oural. In the unled juniors Emma S did a fantastic job of rising to the challenge of doing the course off-lead and came 2nd on Piper Lou. In the seniors Kirstie did a great job coming 5th on Rafferty who found the temptation of the grass just a little too much but Kirstie managed to keep him going. In the Introduction to Dressage Charlotte came 1st in the led juniors (a big well done to Charlotte who won both her classes – having already won Countryside Challenge  – and she took home three trophies as well!). Kirstie came 4th in the led seniors. Charlotte and Emma S both on Piper Lou qualified for the National Championships at Hartpury in July.

Molly and Owly doing the bending
Molly carefully steering Oural around the obstacles

In the Dressage qualifiers, in the 1b class Claire and Rafferty came 1st, Emma H and Piper Lou came 2nd. In the PVI class Lucy came 2nd on Rafferty. In the Freestyle to music Claire and Rafferty came 1st, Lucy and Rafferty came 3rd and Emma H and Piper Lou came 4th. All three riders qualified to go to the National Championships at Hartpury.

Rafferty warming up for dressage
Rafferty and Lucy warming up for dressage with coach Sally

None of this could have happened without the dedication of the staff to train the horses and ponies, the commitment of the riders and parents for all the practice and attending on the day, our great team of volunteers who do a lot of running around on the day and to the Augustine Courtauld Trust who provided financial support to enable us to provide this opportunity to so many riders. And of course a big shout out to the three ponies and horses, for Rafferty and Oural this was their first year competing and Piper Lou had her busiest year and rose to the challenge of doing more off-lead than ever before. I think we can safely say everyone had a great day, there was lots of concentration but also lots of smiles so well done to all and now we are we can look forward to the 15-17th July!

Take a look at our Facebook page for a video compilation of the day.