RDA South Wales Region News and Events

If your group has any news or events you wish to share, please contact Sylvia Fowles, secretary@rdasouthwales.org.uk


RDA South Wales Region AGM

Minutes of the RDA South Wales Region AGM held on Thursday April13th 2017 at Coleg Penybont Pencoed Campus, Pencoed, CF35 5LG.

Present: Regional Committee members: Julie Humphry (JH joint chair), Joan Lean (JL joint chair), Lynne Mordecai (LM joint chair), Michael Butcher, Emma Jelfs, Anneli Jeynes, Sarah Parry-Jones, Amanda Say, Di Waghorn, Sylvia Fowles.
RDA Chief Executive: Ed Bracher.
Representatives from Groups throughout the region: Bridgend County, Clytha, Dinas Powis, Llangynidr, Mount Pleasant, Pembrokeshire Groups, United Counties.

1. Apologies: Rachel Wolverson (SE county chair), Patricia Luxmore (Clytha), Alison Booth (Treasurer), Clare Roberts (Vale of Glamorgan), Beck Webb (Bryngwyn), Judith England (Green Meadow), Sue Wright (Aberystwyth), Clare Willis (Green Meadow), Julie Cole (Dinas Powys), Jo Goldsmith (Pembrokeshire), Sue and Alison Corp, Gini Gristwood (North Pembrokeshire), Pat Roberts (Dinas Powys).

2. The minutes of the last AGM were agreed and signed as a true record. Proposed Anneli Jeynes, seconded Julie Humphry.

3. Matters arising: none.

4. Chairman's Report (JH):
Riding for the Disabled continues to actively and successfully thrive in South Wales, all of which has been demonstrated throughout the year by the pure determination, commitment and goals the Groups have achieved. The accomplishments at the National Championships at Hartpury were evidence of this and sincere congratulations go to all who competed.
There have been significant changes in the structure of the South Wales RDA Group namely the retirement of the Regional Chair, Tricia Luxmore who we would like to thank for her hard work and commitment throughout her six years of office, and the appointment of Joan, Lynne and myself as the new Chairs on a job share basis. We know this was a bit of a scary proposal for Ed but we are trying hard to put his mind at rest and show him that it will work. Another significant appointment is that of two Regional Coaches Anneli Jeynes and Mike Butcher. They replace Rachel Wolverson who retired at the end of last year and our thanks go to Rachel for her hard work. The role of County Coach has been filled by Emma Jelfs and we wish all three of them every success in their respective roles.
Whilst our own term is still in its infancy we believe we have secured a robust communication strategy. We plan to visit every group before the end of this year and are currently working on our schedule of visits. In fact we have already completed our first visit which was to Bryngwyn, where we were made very welcome and came away with a positive impression of this very progressive Group.
Joan and I attended the Regional Officers' Meeting at Aintree on 27th/28th February where the RDA UK Strategy was launched setting out RDA's core values and objectives with targets to achieve by the end of 2021. Ed will be speaking in more detail about the Strategy at the end of this meeting. It was a very interesting two days which covered a wide range of topics including finance, publicity, participation to name but a few and it was good to know that we have a wealth of support and experience to tap in to, not only from National Office but from other RDA Groups throughout the UK.
Joan and Emma Jelfs attended the Education Information Programme Day on 18th March, where the new Learning for Life Group was formed. They found it a very thought-provoking day where participants from within and outside of RDA discussed the various mentoring and proficiency testing processes, the differing aspects of Visually Impaired riders and drivers and the ASDAN preparing for adulthood programme.
We're pleased to announce that Cardiff Riding School, Pontcanna have successfully gained the 'Accessibility' stamp of approval and are currently the only centre in Wales to hold this. Congratulations to everyone who made this possible.
Representatives from all Groups have attended a variety of courses throughout the year including induction, coaching, volunteering and safeguarding. The Visually Impaired Project has provided significant insight, support and guidance into the various techniques utilised for coaching VI riders and drivers. A number of groups attended a demonstration on the Tracker System which provides a valuable tool to utilise when presenting a case to the Education Authorities to secure funding for school children to take part in RDA activities.
This year's Dressage and Show Jumping Qualifiers will be held on 17th May at Coleg Sir Gar and the Countryside Challenge Qualifiers will be held on 25th May at Pencoed College.
Last July we were presented with the Master's Award from the Worshipful Livery Company of Wales together with a donation which Tricia Luxmore kindly received on our behalf.
We have two unfortunate pieces of news. Dragon Fly Vision Group based at Pembrey have decided to withdraw from RDA. Despite a great deal of effort from Regional and National colleagues they feel they are not in a position to sustain the Group. Catsash Group in Torfaen are also in the process of closing.
Sam Orde is organising the 'Big Ride RDA UK' Lynne will be giving more details on this later.
Finally, on behalf of the three of us I would like to extend our sincere thanks to all the riders, drivers, volunteers and coaches for all your hard work, dedication and commitment demonstrated throughout the year without which we wouldn't be able to continue. Our vision is to work collaboratively with each other and in partnership with all groups within the South Wales Region so that we become a major player in the RDA UK team.
Thank you.

5. Regional Officers Reports:
SOUTH WEST WALES GROUPS: Sarah Parry Jones, County Chair
During the last year, 143 riders and carriage drivers participated in RDA activities in South West Wales.
Sadly, in March of this year, one group decided to close. Despite the best endeavours of myself, the former Regional Chairman and National Office over several months, Dragonfly Group in Pembrey is no longer a member of RDA.
Six groups, however, remain buoyant; all have coped with waiting lists for participants and enjoyed continuous support from their local communities:
a) Aberystwyth Group working closely with a local Educational Unit have had the benefit of new school ponies and their new mounting block purpose built to their own design.
b) Carmarthen Carriage Drivers Group operate from April to October at the United Counties Showground. Several participants and volunteers competed at the British Driving Society Show in Carmarthen during the summer. During winter months, contact was maintained with a successful Christmas party and later a bowling evening.
c) Cardigan and North Pembrokeshire have continued to work with local schools and the physiotherapy department at Cardigan Hospital, providing a range of activities for their riders from participation in the ASDAN educational programme to grade tests, endurance and endeavour awards. Art and creative writing complete the activity. In the autumn, they were awarded the National Trophy by the Worshipful Company of Loriners, presented by the Princess Royal at the RDA National Conference. The award was in recognition of their quiet and professional approach to hard work and dedication to educational activities in their sessions. Many congratulations go to this group on their huge achievement.
d) Dynevor Group continue to work with a local special school and individual riders, several referred by the physiotherapy department at Glan Gwili Hospital. Group services continue with the option to have individual sessions for those who are unable to ride a pony or are perhaps needing personal attention on the riding school's mechanical horse.
e) Pembrokeshire Groups continue to offer sessions over three days a week with referrals from many of the local schools and the physiotherapy department at Withybush Hospital. A long waiting list is addressed and quickly refilled as the benefit of riding activity is recognised by the schools. New coaches are coming on stream at this centre and participants have the option to compete in a summer show.
f) United Counties continue to offer individual coaching sessions to a number of owner riders. This year, they were able to offer dressage coaching, showjumping up to level4, an equibalance workshop and access to a mounted biomechanics session. All aimed to improve rider position and contact. This group hosts the Regional Dressage and Showjumping Competition.
The "County" has hosted three courses; a regional course on Grade Tests and county courses on Governance and Safeguarding. All three were well attended.
Finally, nothing directly to do with RDA but perhaps with roots in the organisation, two individuals should be mentioned - Jan Edwards, participant and volunteer Treasurer of Pembrokeshire Group went on to access British Dressage Para Training and was selected during the year to a Wales Team to compete at a Home International.
Also, Mike Butcher, Fellow of RDA based with Pembrokeshire College at Bowlings Riding School was awarded the national Pearson Teaching Award, winning the title Wales F. E. College Lecturer of the year and going on to the UK finals where he won the Gold Award and National Title.
Many congratulations go to them both. My thanks go to all riding school proprietors and Colleges of Further Education in the area with whom we work in partnership. Finally, huge thanks to all the volunteers and the ever patient ponies without whom none of our activities would happen.
MID SOUTH WALES GROUPS: Joan Lean, County Chair
THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN
The Vale of Glamorgan have had a successful year with riders progressing and benefiting from the therapeutic qualities of horse riding. In May, two riders Cadi and Jamie competed in the Countryside Challenge and Dressage competitions at the Pencoed 'Fun Day where Cadi qualified for the National Championships at Hartpury gaining 3rd position in the Countryside Challenge and the Combined Training Classes.
The Coaches have attended many training days, including Test Standard Setting, Riding Therapy and Tracker Workshops, Coaching Participants with Visual Impairments, the AGM at Cheltenham and the Supra Regional Conference where Clare Roberts received recognition for her 25yrs service by being presented with a Certificate from Princess Anne.
Congratulations are extended to Lynne Mordecai for taking up the joint role of Regional South Wales Chair.
Well done to all the coaches and helpers at the Vale for succeeding in providing a fun environment for all the riders to ride in.
DINAS POWIS
This year has been a quiet but rewarding one for the Dinas Powis Group. All the children who participate in RDA have greatly improved not only their riding skills, but RDA has nurtured them and developed their confidence in coping with life skills. A number of riders are in the preparatory stage of undertaking their Grade 1 and 2 tests both in riding and horse care.
The Group enjoyed a very successful day at the Fun Day at Pencoed College in May, with all of the competitors being placed in the Introduction to Dressage class, and with Carson Thomas receiving 1st Place. Congratulations to all those who participated.
A noteworthy Fund Raising Cabaret evening was held which raised much needed funds for the group. A big thank you is extended to all the dedicated volunteers who are currently in the planning process for a Christmas event.
THE HEATH
The Heath Group have worked hard to retain their RDA status, and credit is extended to all the riders, coaches, trustees and supporters who have made this happen.
Cadi the longest attending RDA rider is leaving the Group as she turns 18. Having joined the group at the tender age of 6 she has been a dedicated, loyal rider who has made excellent riding progress. The Group wish her well for a happy "hopefully horsey future", and sincere thanks are extended to her parents for the committed support they have also provided the Heath RDA.
Congratulations also go to Liz Dance who received her 20 year volunteer award for her commitment as a helper, previous chair and currently coach.
Finally the Group have enjoyed fun and games with enthusiastic riders and helpers throughout the year, and well done to you all.
GREEN MEADOW
Green Meadow have experienced another really busy year. They presently ride 5 groups each week, with all riders achieving their personal goals through fun and interactive games.
A very successful Summer Fun Day was held, involving all the groups. A rather hectic but thoroughly enjoyable day was enjoyed by all.
The Group participated in the achievement badges/tests and also used the Endeavour Award Scheme which the children loved.
All in all another very successful year at Green Meadow and well done to you all.
MOUNT PLEASANT
To celebrate the end of a great 2016 the Group held a Christmas fun ride which included a presentation of rosettes and the most improved rider award, which was won by Giorgio Alzetta. They have increased their rider numbers with some promising new riders. The Group anticipate submitting entries for the Dressage Qualifier at Carmarthen, and have a few young riders who wish to participate in the RDA Showing Class, in the Search for a Star competition.
Congratulations are extended to Anneli for taking up the role of joint Regional Coach, and sincere thanks are extended to all those involved in making the Group such a success.
BRIDGEND COUNTY
Bridgend have experienced another successful year, with increasing numbers rising to 54 including 9·independent riders, some of whom will hopefully qualify for Hartpury in the Countryside Challenge.
The 2 new boys on the block, namely Robbie and Lazy Joe (horses of course), have adapted well to the College and RDA regimes, however, Hercules, the third was more of a challenge and was purchased by Emma, enjoying a life of riley at Costa De la Cefn Cribbwr.
A highlight in the Bridgend RDA calendar was the appointment of Emma as the new County Coach, and Julie as joint South Wales Regional Chair along with myself.
A further highlight was the collaborative venture with the College of the refurbishment of the small school including a new surface and kick boards which has benefited the riders and the helpers who are now working in a much healthier environment.
A big thank you to all those who have supported the group i.e. helpers, coaches, trustees, and in particular a Big Thank you to the Secretary Ann and her husband who have very professionally relaunched the Group's new website.
Finally thank you all for the support you have provided me throughout the year, and I wish you all a very successful and progressive year.
SOUTH EAST WALES GROUPS: Rachel Wolverson, County Chair
ABERGAVENNY
Abergavenny are still on hold but will ride again soon and carry on all summer.
CEFFYLDU
Fourteen members attended our AGM (down by 6 from last year), followed by much better attendance at our 2 Volunteer training days. 8 disabled members drove including 3 new members. 1 of our disabled drivers from last year decided that she did not want to pursue carriage driving any further, and another who has her own pony and turnout felt the Group activities did not meet her needs. We are still open to take on new disabled drivers.
At the start we had 16 regular volunteers (7 RDA Whips and 9 volunteers), and 2 members who help us with administration. We now have 6 RDA Whips as Pat Dutson has resigned but has offered to help us out at any time that we are short. We acquired 7 new volunteers (2 discontinued) and had 2 Duke of Edinburgh award candidates, one of whom completed their assessment and plans to return this year. Unfortunately Lucy was not used again because of a lack of transport, but Tinker was transported to the farm by Hilary and Bethanie transported Daisy. r. We have 9 first alders.
We completed 14 weekly sessions at the farm, two were cancelled due to rain. We did manage a Picnic Drive at Usk Castle Woods in September. As planned we concentrated on driving in our new paddock throughout the season and we saw our drivers develop their skills negotiating cones and starting to follow dressage courses. Those not driving could watch the lessons from the viewing platform and learn by observation so our sessions could be very much more inclusive this year and enjoyed by everyone. The training programme will be reviewed with each Driver for the new season.
Maintenance of the paddock was carried out by Sue Blair using our newly purchased fertilizer spreader and aerator and George Headworth topped the grass. The farm only allowed sheep to graze.
In May 10 Group members had an outing on a coach to Royal Windsor Show and enjoyed the International Cross Country event as well as seeing some of the celebrations for the Queen's90th Birthday, which included a wonderful display of horsemanship. Also in May 3 members (Mark, Christine and Hilary) had a wonderful time at a Royal Garden Party. In September 5 Drivers enjoyed a picnic Drive in Usk Castle Chase woodland thanks to Rosie Humphries who continues to be a keen supporter of this Group. We closed the year with our Christmas Party which was fun with poetry recitals, stories and carol singing.
Our Trustees have been advised by RDA to consider Incorporating the Group and having explored the process and at the AGM will be recommending Group Members to support this amendment to our constitution. This is a major change to our Group set-up but does not affect the practise of the Group to provide carriage driving opportunities to disabled people as it has always done. .
I am confident that the future is bright for Ceffyl Du - We have a super venue and we have great plans for training and development of our present members, as well as opening up to more disabled drivers. We need to look forward now and make plans as to where we want to be in the next few years?
AGM held on 6th March 2017 18 members attended
Hilary Lipscombe resigned as Secretary and Lauren Moffitt was voted in as our new Secretary.
Volunteers training starts in April 2017 and our first driving session will be on 8th May 2017.
CLYTHA
Clytha at Clytha Park on a Wednesday continues their good work. They had a bit of a hiccup when their school bus was out of action but now are back on track.
Clytha at Usk Campus are going from strength to strength and have increased their time on a Tuesday morning to accommodate another school and 2 new individual adults. They still have Des, Holly, Alfie, Maisie and newby Penny and are hoping that Beryl will be able to return after the Easter holidays. They are working hard with 2 riders and will attend the regional Qualifier for Dressage and Show Jumping with the aim to compete at the National Championships in July.
LLANGYNIDR
Unfortunately three volunteers resigned at the start of the year because of work commitments, but we were delighted to get two young girls. One who was taking time out after her degree was with us for the year and the other, still at school, was working for a Duke of Edinburgh Award and joined us for the summer. Five pupils rode during the autumn and summer terms. Some of these children were with us before, but for others it was a new experience and we were delighted with the progress they made and the confidence they had. As usual they loved taking part in various competitions at the Fun Day at Clytha Park and returned home adorned with rosettes. The event was a great success once again and our thanks go to the organisers for their hard work.
In September we assisted in the running of an endurance ride from which we received a donation which helped our funds.

6. Election of Officers (LM)
Secretary
Sylvia's wishes to stand down as secretary when a replacement is found, she will however continue to edit the RDA Regional Web Site. For which we're very grateful. If anyone would like or knows of anyone suited to the role please do not be shy in coming forward. Sylvia will be happy to discuss the role with you.
Treasurer
Alison our Regional treasurer would also like to stand down. We are therefore looking for someone with a sound financial back ground to take on the role. Once again if you know of a suitably qualified person to take on this position please let us know. A copy of the role profile can be found on the RDA web site.
Publicity Officer
I'm sorry to say that Amanda has completed 9 years in the role so must make way for a new representative to fill her position. Amanda will be a very hard act to follow as you will all see by looking at the newsletter which she has so ably produced. If you know of someone who would find this role interesting and be willing to take it forward, please speak up. A copy of the role profile can be found on the RDA wed site. However, the best person to speak to would be Amanda, who would be happy to guide and nurture a prospective officer into the role.

7. Jo Pringle Award: the Jo Pringle shield was presented by Ed Bracher to United Counties, South West Wales, and received by Di Waghorn representing the United Counties Group.

8. Sue Johns Powell Award: The Sue Johns Powell Award was presented by Ed Bracher to two riders from the Mount Pleasant Group; Amelie Griffiths and Charlotte Morgan. The award will pay for shared lessons. The certificates were received by Anneli Jeynes representing the Mount Pleasant Group.

9. Sam Orde's Big Ride: Sam Orde proposes to undertake a "Big Ride" in each of the UK Regions to raise funds for the new Training Site at Lowlands. The South Wales Region Ride with Sam Orde will take place on Friday 4th August at the Green Meadow RDA site in the Dare Valley, Aberdare organised by Judith England. This is a wonderful site which is fit for purpose as there is an outside arena which then leads out into the Dare Valley Park which is suitable for RDA riders. RDA riders can ride 1-2km and will be insured under RDA insurance. Other riders can ride up to 15km and must have their own public liability insurance, e.g. BHS Gold Membership.

10. The Regional Newsletter: was distributed to all Groups.

11. Dates:
Regional Qualifiers Dressage and Show Jumping: 17th May, Coleg Sir Gar, Carmarthen, SA31 2NH
Regional Qualifier Countryside Challenge: 25th May, Pencoed Campus, Bridgend College, Pencoed, CF35 5LG
Pontcanna Fun Day: Monday 19th June
Clytha Fun Day: Wednesday 21st June

END OF AGM

Following the meeting:
Miss Fiona Harris, Coaching Co-ordinator, National RDA Office, delivered a presentation on "Engaging with Visually Impaired Riders." (This involved some physical exercises including riding an RDA horse blind-folded).
Mr Mike Butcher, FRDA, Regional Coach, South Wales (joint), delivered a presentation on "Ticking the Education Box".