RDA UK Fortnightly Newsletter

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Page Last Updated: May 22, 2024

Emma’s Gold Award

Emma receives her Gold Horse care certificate. She is wearing a Christmas Jumper.

Emma receives her Gold Horse care award at Barrow Farm RDA.

Congratulations to RDA participant Emma, from Barrow Farm Riding for the Disabled, on being the first their participant to receive a Gold Award in Horse care.


Emma has cerebral palsy and has been riding at Barrow Farm since she was 15 years old.  Now 10 years later, she has competed successfully both regionally and nationally.    

During the last couple of years some physical difficulties have made riding more difficult for her and she has started carriage driving, which she now loves. Emma has been the Rider Representative on the Trustees since 2012.  She has spoken at fundraising talks for local groups, e.g. Round Tables and has helped at training sessions for volunteers. During the pandemic she was successful in gaining both her Bronze (October 2020) and her Silver (July 2021) Horse Care Awards.  She has been working towards her Gold Award since July 2021.  

The Gold Award consists of 7 modules: 

  • Describing a horse 
  • Grooming 
  • Feeding 
  • Daily care of a horse 
  • The healthy horse 
  • Tack  
  • Farrier  

Emma was helped with her learning by all the coaches at Barrow Farm RDA and would like to thank them for their teaching, their enthusiasm and their support.  They all wrote reports on her knowledge and these were submitted in a portfolio with photos and videos. Emma immersed herself in her learning, taking time to talk to and observe farriers, physiotherapists and saddlers at Barrow Farm and at Ingatestone Saddlers. Her dedication to achieving this award has been amazing and it is very much deserved. 

The award was given to her at Barrow Farm by Barbora Hallam-Skalova, Interim Director of Business Improvement from RDA National during the Barrow Farm Christmas Volunteers’ lunch 2023.  She also received a congratulatory video from Sophie Christiansen, Gold Medal Dressage rider and Emma is now a member of Sophie’s Gold Club.  

Page Last Updated: January 11, 2024

A Visit to Lambourn RDA

On 7th November, our new Philanthropy Manager, Philippa Fairhall, visited Lambourn RDA to meet the team and their Tuesday participants.  It was a busy and enjoyable visit on a beautifully crisp, autumnal morning, with Philippa able to see a group of 7 children from a local special school take part in stable-based activities and riding, as well as two individual riders – a pre-schooler and a young adult – have sessions with their coaches, tailored exactly to their needs.  It was wonderful to chat with teaching assistants, parents and participants and see how much the sessions meant to everyone.  After the morning participants had left, the team also took time to celebrate volunteer Aaron’s 23rd birthday together.  Aaron is a key member of the team, having been a rider with RDA Lambourn since he was 5 years old and the winner of his class at this year’s National Championship’s Countryside Challenge. Aaron has now finished his college course (which included his passion, equine care) and volunteers with the group in various roles up to 6 days a week.  Aaron’s quiet confidence around the horses and his friendship with his fellow volunteers was a clear example of, “It’s what you can do that counts”.  

A huge thank you to Frances Lochrane and whole team who hosted Philippa; it was a great learning experience for Philippa who, new into her role, was very keen to see our work in action before meeting major donors around the country and getting them fired up about our work.

Page Last Updated: November 30, 2023

A Day with the Royal Forest of Dean RDA

October 2023

At National Office at RDAUK, it is essential for members of staff to get out into the volunteer network, to connect with our members and see the people that our activities directly benefit. On the Thursday the 19th of October, Barbora Hallam Skalova Director of Business Improvement at RDAUK, visited the Royal Forest of Dean Driving group. She was also joined by the new Chair Elect Helena Vega-Lozano, Regional Driving Rep Anne Coney and Regional Chair Rachel Vaughan-Johns – who also organised and hosted the visit.  

Barbora’s Travels… 

Well, what can I say, it was simply wonderful to see a group of volunteers so dedicated to our cause! We were greeted by Elizabeth Stephens, and I met with experienced coaches and volunteers, who take care of administrative tasks, logistics, health and safety, escort and most importantly make the most wonderful cups of tea with an array of biscuits.  

I also had a go at driving the carriage under the watchful eye of experienced coach David. It’s much harder than you think, but I really enjoyed it. The most wonderful experience of the day was to see the sheer delight of the participants- some even sing along! 

I know how important role RDA play in lives of many, but to go out there and see it, it’s really heartfelt and makes everything we do worth it. 

Barbora Hallam Skalova and David carriage driving.

Barbora Hallam Skalova, Director of Business and Improvement, and David carriage driving.


Helena Vega-Lozano carriage driving with the Royal Forest of Dean Group.

Chair Elect Helena Vega-Lozano having a go at carriage driving with David.

Anne Coney carriage driving.

National Championships Lead, Anne Coney and David carriage driving.

Page Last Updated: November 1, 2023