RDA (the Riding for the Disabled Association) Northern Ireland is delighted to announce the appointment of Mrs Celia McMorran as the new Regional Chairman. Celia is well known to many within RDA circles already, as she has been County Chairman in North Down for some years and is an experienced volunteer with Newtownards Group, where she is Group Organiser. She has also been a regular attendee at Regional Qualifiers and at the National Championships at Hartpury, supporting Newtownards Group Riders who have achieved many successes in recent years.
As the retiring Chairman, I must take this opportunity to say what a privilege it has been to serve RDA in this way… I have met so many wonderful, inspirational, brave and dedicated people (both volunteers and participants) along the journey. I wish Celia the best of luck and hope that she enjoys her time at the helm as much as I have done.
Of course there have been challenging times and the odd sleepless night, but it all seems worthwhile when you see the smiles on the face of a rider who has achieved something special – whether it is passing a Grade One proficiency Test or becoming Class Champion at Hartpury and all things in between! Our wonderful volunteers and equines who make this possible are sadly unable to function at the moment due to Covid Restrictions, but hopefully the advent of the vaccine will allow us to restart activities during 2021.
I should also mention here the many volunteers who have been working away during successive lockdowns caring for horses at RDA Centres and yards, as well as preparing for re-opening once this becomes possible. Thank you all so much for everything you have done during this most difficult of years to keep groups together virtually if not physically and keep in touch with our schools and riders as well.
I should also mention Ed Bracher and his team at RDA UK for their tireless efforts to support Groups with information, advice, encouragement and, where necessary, financial assistance. I think historically we have always felt rather remote from our Head Office, which geographically is still the case, but the adoption of new technologies has made keeping in touch with meetings on Zoom and delivering training so much easier (and cheaper) that I hope this method of communicating will continue even when we can safely meet up again.
Finally, I would like to draw your attention to our new website, which can be found at www.ridingforthedisabledni.org
Our volunteer webmaster, Austen Burns has done a fantastic job updating it and we are so grateful to him for all his hard work.