My weekend at the RDA National Championships
As you may know, I’m a volunteer regional veterinary advisor for the RDA, working predominantly in the South of England. I’m pretty new to the role, so attending the National Championships at Hartpury was a great opportunity to discover exactly what the RDA is about! I worked alongside a team of regional vets across the event, carrying out duties including health and identity checks as well as treating horses that needed us.
There were approximately 250 horses competing over the weekend, with the event taking place at Hartpury College, Gloucestershire. With 500 competitors a
nd over 1600 rosettes, we were lucky to be taking advantage of the superb facilities. There were horses competing in various RDA disciplines including dressage, vaulting, countryside challenge (a little like handy-pony!) and for the first time – endurance.
Every horse required a vet check on arrival to ensure vaccinations were up to date, to discuss those under veterinary treatment and ensure no infectious diseases were being brought into the stables.
On the Saturday, riders took advantage of the
new endurance competition, which I took part helping with vet checks. Luckily there weren’t many horses that needed treatment, so we spent the rest of the time ensuring the high welfare standards expected in the RDA were upheld, paying attention to appropriate rider-horse combinations and ensuring riders were appropriate weight for their mounts. This is a hot topic in the equestrian world right now, and its great to see the RDA taking this seriously, with stewards raising concerns to the veterinary team as soon as possible.
The highlight of the weekend for me has to have been seeing the award ceremonies with some very happy faces! It was fantastic to see so many riders having a great time and clearly gaining so much from riding.
Horse & Hound have covered lots surrounding the event, if you’re keen to learn more about the amazing work the RDA do take a look at the articles listed below, and visit the RDA website.
See you all soon,