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The Abingdon Group excel at the RDA National Championships.

July 21, 2023 jillf 0

Written by India Collins-Davies.

We are so proud of all of the riders who represented Abingdon RDA at the National Championships this year: every one of them has faced challenges in reaching this stage of such a unique and prestigious competition and are a credit to us as a group!

– Mia Prowse & Ocean (borrowed with great thanks from the RDA National Training Centre) – L2 Show Jumping, not placed but a wonderful achievement. Our first competitor ever in this class and on a horse she had only ridden once prior to the day of the class!

Sophia Aitken & Marshall – Introduction to Dressage walk – 3rd place out of a huge class of 33 junior riders. This was Sophia’s first time competing at Nationals. She was expertly led for her class by Julia.

Natalie Anderson & Jimbob – TVI walk – 1st in Junior section. Natalie was aided by a team of talking letters who put on a rosette-winning performance too. There was a fantastic atmosphere in the arena while Natalie’s test was going on.

Alfie Brew-Lee & Jimbob – Grade 7 walk – 5th place in a very tightly contested class. It was wonderful to see Alfie ride at Nationals in person after his class was cancelled last year due to the heatwave.

Megan Marriott &  Lisa – Grade 7 walk & trot – 8th place in one of the largest and closest scored classes of the weekend – a very impressive achievement, especially as this was Lisa’s very first RDA competition.

Tara Aitken & Bean (borrowed with great thanks from the Townsend family) – unplaced in a huge Grade 6 walk class (but a fantastic test all the same, especially outdoors in strong winds) and 2nd place in the Grade 6 walk freestyle, riding to some great tunes mixed by Darren Woodlow. Tara and Sophia were the first mother and daughter duo we have ever qualified for the championships, and it was wonderful to see them supporting each other.

Frankie Townsend, our independent rider who competes on her own ponies, brought home an impressive 1st place in both the Grade 6 walk/trot grade test and freestyle (in the Open section, where she was competing against adults) on Bean, and also 6th place in her first ever showing class on her other pony, Aurora. Frankie’s family offered a lot of support to the rest of the group during the weekend, which really added to the fantastic team atmosphere and was so appreciated.

We also achieved 4th place in our first ever entry to the costume freestyle class, featuring Sophia as Cruella DeVil and not quite 101 volunteers and coaches as the Dalmatians she was trying to catch (not forgetting Becci as Henchman Horace the Dogcatcher – complete with ominous moustache). The judges offered some flattering reviews of our acting and storytelling skills!

It really is a huge team effort both home and away to bring any number of riders and horses to an event of this scale, so huge thanks are owed to the staff and volunteers who put in so much time on preparation, packing, transport, training, and care of the horses (and people!) over the weekend. Team Abingdon have been attending RDA Nationals since its inception and it’s wonderful that we are still able to offer riders and other members of our group such an exciting and fulfilling opportunity.  Now – what’s next?

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Ann Cutcliffe OBE 1943-2023

June 11, 2023 jillf 0

Published in the Horse and Hound Magazine 3rd June 2023

Ann Cutcliffe OBE, the honorary vice-president of the British Paralympic Association and influential figure in para dressage, died on 20 April, aged 80.

Mrs Cutcliffe joined the South Bucks Riding for the Disabled Association group in 1977, and soon became an instructor. She was an inspiration and joy to all the riders she taught.

She went on to hold central roles in the para equestrian world. From those riding for therapy through the RDA to athletes competing on the world stage, countless riders flourished under her support and leadership. In 2000 she was chef d’équipe for the gold medal-winning British team at the Sydney Games, and in 2004 was the chief selector for Athens, where the team again won gold.

Mrs Cutcliffe was a British Paralympic Association board member from 2001 until 2013, and was involved in charities including WheelPower and Hearing Dogs for Deaf People. She was an RDA board member, a member of the International Paralympic Equestrian Committee, and served on the British Dressage (BD) committee for numerous years.

She was appointed OBE for services to para equestrian sport in the 2011 new year honours list and the next year was involved with the London 2012 International Inspiration programme, having been part of the committee during the bid process for the London Games.

Chris Porterfield, BD judge and FEI para judge and steward, said Mrs Cutcliffe was a “lady by nature and in her demeanour”.

“She was always gracious, and very good at persuading people and getting the very best out of them. It was Ann, with Inger Bryant and Jonquil Solt who really pushed the para movement forward, eventually leading to para dressage becoming an FEI discipline in 2006,” she said. “She was an inspiration to so many and we owe her a huge debt of gratitude.”

A BD spokesman said the board and staff offer sincerest condolences to Mrs Cutcliffe’s husband Peter and her family and friends: “She will be greatly missed and warmly remembered by so many within para dressage and para sport as a whole.”

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June 9, 2023 jillf 0

Congratulations to John-James Entwistle who was presented with the Rachel Plumbe Cup on 6th June by South Region Chair, Frances Lochrane. The Rachel Plumbe Cup is awarded once a year to a participant who has achieved much, despite challenging and difficult conditions.

John-James Entwistle who has  rare genetic disease that resulted in sight loss at the age of 12, an ongoing progressive loss of hearing and with other issues associated with the condition.  JJ started riding with Andover RDA in January 2022 at the age of 27.  Despite no previous riding experience, only being able to ride once a fortnight and being coached in a group situation he has made huge progress due to his positive outlook and ‘can do’ approach to everything; his answer to anything you ask him to do is ‘I’ll give it a go’ or ‘I’ll try’.  He can now mount and dismount with minimal help and is starting to ride more independently.

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May 15, 2023 jillf 0

Sunday 21 May
Berkshire College of Agriculture

Congratulations to all those who competed at the South Region Qualifier. It was a fabulous day and so lovely to see so many competitors representing a wide range of our groups in the South Region. A huge amount of effort goes into entering these competitions, so a big thank you to everyone who was involved.

Please see below for links to the results.

Here is the link to the photographs from the day: Events attended by LRG Photography (


Equine Vaccinations for Championships

Due to the shortages of equine influenza vaccine supply in the last year, Hartpury have confirmed that they will only require the last influenza vaccination to have been administered within twelve months of the National Championships in 2023, so long as the preceding vaccinations have been administered according to RDA policy.

Please see RDA Rulebook for further information on the MyRDA National Championships page.

Endurance at the National Championships 2023

We will be holding a 1km, 2km, 3km and 5km Endurance rides at National Championships this year. Endurance provides an excellent hack around the magnificent grounds at Hartpury as well as promoting equine welfare and offers a new and exciting challenge for participants. For more information on this see MyRDA Endurance page.

Virtual National Championships – Schedule Now Available

The schedule for the Virtual National Championships is now available to download here. All the information you need and how to enter can be found in the schedule.

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April 1, 2023 jillf 0

Update from the RDA Board

We would like to share an announcement on behalf of the RDA Board. It is with great sadness that we announce the separate resignations of both Kathryn England, CEO and Rachel Medill, Chair of Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA).  We understand this will come as a shock to many of you. The full statement can be read on website here.