Health & Welfare


In RDA we have lots of resources available for you to help keep your Equines fit and healthy. As well as the educational videos and guides on this page, we also have a team of Regional Equine Advisors (REA’s) and Regional Vets (RV’s). REA’s can provide a source of information and advice to RDA groups ensuring effective, efficient and ethical selection, training and use of equines within RDA. They are also a point of contact should you have any welfare concerns regarding an Equine in an RDA Group. The National Equine Lead is Doug Smith (who is also an REA), you will find his contact details along with REA’s and RV’s on the right hand side of the main Horses in RDA page.

Our RDA Honorary Vet is Nick Hart, he and his team of RV’s kindly donate their time assisting RDA Groups with veterinary related equine issues and with Regional Training Days. You may have met some of them at your Regional Qualifiers or at the National Championships. As we all know, the cost of Veterinary care is quite significant, so please do invite our RV’s to your qualifiers, open days or Equine events and make the most of this fabulous resource.

Both REA’s and RV’s attend training days at National Office to ensure current topics and welfare concerns are addressed. If you would like to know who the RV or REA is for your region please contact Emma Bayliss at National Office.

We are starting to collate a series of educational videos, created by our previous Honorary Vet Nathalie Cole. We have started with simple guides to taking your Equines temperature, pulse and respiratory rate as well as a correct way to trot a horse up to check for soundness.

Taking your horse’s temperature

Taking your horse’s respiratory rate

What your horse’s respiratory rate means

Taking your horse’s pulse rate

Taking your horse’s heart rate

Carrying out a Trot Up

Routine care for Equines throughout the year

Find an Equine Physio from ACPAT, Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Animal Therapy

Find an Equine Dental Technician from BAEDT, British Association of Equine Dental Technicians

Find a Master Saddler Saddle Fitter

Keeping Britain’s Horses Healthy is a great resource run by MSD Animal Health, who are one of the providers of vaccines for our free vaccine scheme. The page has loads of useful information including yard resources that can be printed off and displayed around your yard.

World Horse Welfare also has a fantastic library of horse advice and research. To view this please click on this link

Horse and Rider Combination Calculator & Guidance

Horse and Rider combination is something RDA groups must carefully monitor on a regular basis. In line with our Weight Chart Guidelines  we have a Weight Calculator to help our RDA Groups work out the maximum weight a horse could carry. This includes tack and is before taking into consideration, the conformation, age, health and fitness of the horse. Groups must be aware that although heavier horses are deemed to be able to carry more weight when using the figures from the weight chart, this does not include horses that are overweight. If a horse is overweight in itself then carrying more weight will increase the risk of lameness and poor health. Groups must be mindful of adjusting weight carrying capacity in these situations and work towards reducing the equines body weight.

This is purely to ensure that participants and horses are correctly paired. The information is completely confidential.

If you are unsure about the weight of the Equines within your group, TopSpec offer group visits to advise on diet plans and nutrition. They also bring along their weighbridge so you can have your horses, ponies and tack weighed. For your nearest TopSpec Equine Advisor please contact

The Blue Cross offer a fantastic guide to help Body Condition score your equine. There is also a useful chart to print out which can be used as an educational resource.


We have been in talks with several Targeted Worming companies to try to offer groups as much advice as possible plus a discounted service. A recent survey showed that as little as a third of RDA groups are using targeted worming, this is an area in which we are striving to raise awareness. Using a service like this will not only save money by not having to worm when it isn’t required, but also helps to prevent resistance to wormers in the future.

Both Westgate Laboratories and Intelligent Worming have provided us with a wealth of information and look forward to working with RDA Groups.  For more information, please click on the links below.

Intelligent Worming

Westgate Labs

Wesgate Labs are offering a discount code to access their charity rate. It is currently only for the worm egg counts and only applies to the commercial rate so ten need to be purchased as a minimum.  The code is RDAWORMCOUNT.  This will take the price down to £6.60 per sample.  Alternatively if your group already have the pots you can use this  form to submit the samples.  This is a 12% discount.

For more information about worms, faecal egg counts and worming please feel free to have a look at the Presentation Slides from an Equine Training Day given by Katy Kershaw, Regional Vet. You will also find a video of the presentation on our RDA YouTube page.

Page Last Updated: December 8, 2021