12 things you (probably) didn’t know about the RDA championships

  • The Riding for the Disabled (RDA) National Championships happened last weekend (13-15 July) at Hartpury, in Gloucestershire. To explain more about this event, here’s a few things you might not have known about it…

    1. The RDA National Championships is the biggest event of its kind in the world for disabled horse riders and carriage drivers.

    2. Paralympians including Sophie Christiansen, Sir Lee Pearson, Natasha Baker, Ricky Balshaw, Deb Criddle and Liz Stone all began their competitive careers at the championships.

    3. This year over 500 competitors took part, with over 1,600 rosettes presented over three days.

    4. 102 RDA groups travelled to this year’s event. The furthest travelling from Garioch 490 miles away.

    5. In recent years the championships have welcomed VIP visitors HRH The Princess Royal, Carl Hester and Clare Balding.

    6. Since 1994 the championships has been hosted at Hartpury College. Their support over the weekend makes them one of the charity’s biggest and most loyal donors.

    7. The championships started as a dressage competition and now includes carriage driving, vaulting, showjumping, endurance, showing and countryside challenge.

    8. The countryside challenge is a unique event to RDA. Styled as a ‘walk in the countryside’, competitors are scored on their execution of a range of obstacles including the apple tree, the bridge, the gate, the post box and archway.

    9. The event is run by a team of more than 160 volunteers – not counting the teams of volunteers who come to support their riders and drivers.

    10. The championships has no age restrictions. Competitors as young as four and in their 90s have taken part.

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    11. Riders who compete at the championships will have first qualified at a regional qualifying competition over 18 regions.

    12. Chigwell Riding Trust horse, Mountain City, has attended the championships for over 20 years and this Sunday marked not only his last championships (he came third), but also his retirement from RDA.

    For more information about the RDA, visit www.rda.org.uk.

    For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.

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