The New Year brings with it some changes to RDA in Northern Ireland, not least of which is the retirement of our inspirational chairman for the last 5 years, Mrs. Julie Jordan MBE. She has led the organisation with dedication and enthusiasm over the period and the results of her hard work are there for all to see. Following in her footsteps is a somewhat daunting prospect for me, however I shall do my best to maintain the high standards she has set for us while hopefully increasing the provision of riding therapy for young people and adults across the Region.
This ambition will be only achievable with the help of our Regional Committee, Training Advisers, Groups, Instructors, Trustees, Fundraisers, Sponsors, Volunteers and of course the participants themselves, who are such important advocates for our work. I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible in the coming year and hope that you will allow me to help you in whatever way I can.
We are looking forward to another busy year, starting with our Showjumping competition at Danescroft on Wednesday 25th March. There are now 7 Registered Show Jumping Groups in Northern Ireland, which is a good effort considering it was only introduced in 2012.
This year is also the 40th anniversary of the introduction of Carriage Driving to RDA. We are hoping that our Carriage Drivers will be able to celebrate this by putting on a display at Balmoral Show on Thursday 14th May, followed by a parade of groups carrying Posters which they have created themselves and will enter in the Regional Art and Craft competition (a new introduction here last year).
Also during May will be the Regional Championships which includes Dressage competitions and Countryside Challenge, now well established with many groups taking part and some riders qualifying to compete at the National Championships in July in Gloucestershire.
Just a few of the highlights to look forward to, meanwhile all 28 Groups will be working hard delivering our services to experienced riders and also to many participants who have never ridden before and almost certainly would never have had the opportunity without RDA. (368 new riders last year).
We are always happy to welcome new volunteers so if you feel you would like to help in anyway please do get in touch.
Wishing you all a happy and successful 2015!
Regional Chairman RDA NI