Marking 50 years since the start of RDA, groups all over the UK have been holding special events as part of a week of celebrations. Over 3000 specially designed gold rosettes have been presented, with riders, drivers and volunteers taking part in everything from fun rides and fundraisers to horse blessings and tea parties.
The week was also a chance to raise awareness of RDA more generally. RDA Chief Executive Ed Bracher was interviewed on Sky News, and several BBC Radio stations followed the story in Wales, Cambridgeshire, Merseyside, Shropshire, Somerset and Wiltshire.
With free rein to celebrate however they wanted, there was no shortage of creativity on show. In the South West, Green Cottage RDA held a gold themed pageant featuring all their participants and ponies. At the new Cavalier Centre in Shropshire, Perry RDA held vaulting and Countryside Challenge competitions. And, on the other side of the country, Green Hedges, Barton and Iceni RDA from the East Region met up for a celebratory picnic.
Every group in South region came together to mark the anniversary. Each group was issued with its own pennant for participants and volunteers to sign. The pennants were then joined together to form a commemorative bunting, which was unveiled a special event at Abingdon RDA.
The Brook Cottage Farm RDA in Hertfordshire held demonstration of carriage driving through the ages. County Chair for Hertfordshire, Suzanne Brown, set herself the gruelling challenge of walking the ‘horseshoe’ shaped route between all the groups in her patch. Suzanne hopes to use the walk to recruit 50 new volunteers for groups in the area.
RDA Communications Manager, Caroline Ward said: “At both national and group levels, celebration week has offered an opportunity to raise awareness and encourage vital support. The anniversary has also created a focus for recognising the individuals around the organisation who make us what we are today. From those members who have dedicated many years to RDA, to the next generation of talent among our participants and volunteers, there has been much to celebrate.”