RDA has presented its annual awards at a special reception held during its National Championships. To the cheers – and some tears – of family and supporters, Mia Prowse of Abingdon RDA was awarded RDA Participant of the Year, Annie Horshaw won Young Volunteer of the Year, Pauline Harrison received Volunteer of the Year and a team of miniature Shetland ponies from Wellow in Bath earned the title of RDA Horse of the Year. The reception was also a chance for The Worshipful Company of Saddlers to present their annual ‘Jubilee Saddle’, gifted to a group from a different RDA region each year. This year was the turn of Calvert Trust RDA, Keswick.
Participant of the Year, sponsored by Childs Farm – Mia Prowse
Mia has been with her Group, Abingdon, for 14 years. She has had great competition success competing at the RDA Virtual Championships leading to her selection to represent Team GB at the Virtus Para Dressage World Championships achieving a first and second place in the youth division. Her sportsmanship is second to none, as she has become a role model and inspiration to younger members of her group. She not only rides for her Group but is also a keen fundraiser, thinking of new ways to go about supporting Abingdon.
In the words of her Group “It is rare to meet a participant who has such an acute, gracious understanding of the wider picture of what it means to be part of an RDA group.”
Horse/Pony of the Year – The Shetland Ponies at Wellow RDA (presented to Anne Allen on their behalf)
Chelsea, Crunchie, Hector, Smartie and Freddo make up the team of Shetland ponies supporting participants at Wellow RDA. They have enabled the group to increase their range of support which now includes long-reining. These lovely little ponies engage with every single adult and child who come into contact with them. The love they soak up and the patience they display is outstanding.
Young Volunteer of the Year, supported by the players of Peoples Postcode Lottery – Annie Horshaw
Annie is a young volunteer at Throstle Nest RDA. She has played a key role in establishing a youth group at the centre, as well as developing fundraisers. She has developed personally and shown resilience and determination. As well as her volunteering, Annie has had successes at the National Championships.
RDA UK Volunteer of the Year – Pauline Harrison
Pauline Harrison has been North Regional Chair for three years and within this time has supported the participants and groups within her Region. She has an incredible positive and thoughtful attitude and outlook. Never shying away from a challenge, the support she gives to others is outstanding.
In receiving her award, Pauline praised her regional team and the staff at RDA’s National Office in Warwickshire for all their support.
Jubilee Saddle – Keswick (Calvert Trust) RDA
Each year, The Worshipful Company of Saddlers gifts RDA a bespoke ‘Jubilee Saddle’. This year it was the turn of RDA’s North Region to receive the saddle, which will be presented to Keswick (Calvert Trust) RDA. The saddle is just one of many ways that The Saddlers support RDA – a relationship stretching back to 1978. They currently support RDA’s core activities, including coaching pathway and conference, and more recently the Road to Restart project following the pandemic.