Thank you to Di Williams RDASC, former equine manager at Clwyd  for offering Coaches-in-Training across the region, a fantastic opportunity to participate in a series of online training sessions, regarding RDA lesson planning.

Using a variety of techniques, including scenarios, group discussions, interactive and paper exercises, Di's extensive knowledge and coaching experience proved invaluable, and gave lots of insight into how to coach both individual and group sessions. She managed to get us working together as effective teams, finding safe solutions to coaching issues.

Di did a terrific job, and we appreciate all her efforts. We went away with new ideas, resources and approaches to use when planning RDA lessons in the future.

Thank you to everyone involved, especially Lynne Munro for organising and supporting everyone. It was fun, informative and a great time was had by all.

CONTINUOUS COACH DEVELOPMENT is high on the agenda in the Region and was on show at the Stourport Riding Centre when over 50 coaches and other key players were brought up to date with the latest developments in Proficiency Awards. Janet Alderton delivered the training using video of some of her Ride2Achieve team sessions followed by mounted riders from Ride2Achieve and Baschurch & Loppington groups. The sessions were warmly welcomed, encouraged good debate and highlighted the value of the Scheme. Ed Bracher, the CE RDA, was on hand to place the training in context as a sound, evidence based way to capture and reward achievement.  Alongside the Endeavour, Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards there is a clear pathway for participants to set and achieve goals tailored specifically for them.

click here for link to blank lesson plan 


 Ideas for games and activities with equipment

Examples of equipment; poles on the ground, upright poles with “nests”, cones, rings, beanbags, buckets, toys, traffic lights, blocks, countryside challenge equipment, pictures, photographs, grooming kit, small flexible sports markers etc.

Make sure all equipment is in good condition and fit for purpose. Have some wet wipes handy to keep equipment clean. Soft toys should have no removable parts and should be able to be washed. Where possible, prevent toys landing on the arena surface, especially if the rider put things in their mouth.

Make sure horses are OK with all equipment, especially noisy toys and things being dropped beside them. Make sure poles on the ground are well bedded in so that they can’t roll if touched or accidentally stood on. Make sure team can all step over poles without catching their toes.

Think Health and Safety especially when moving larger equipment and always store equipment safely. Where possible carry poles between 2 people

All of the ideas for the games and activities without equipment can be used with equipment as well to add interest and promote riding skills

Poles on the ground

Stopping between to encourage straightness

Forming a maze for steering through, choosing number of poles to go over, differing widths to make steering more accurate

Leaning forward, keeping seat in saddle to challenge balance

Closing eyes and saying when horse is going over a pole (led)

Using poles with different coloured bands e.g. blue and white to encourage steering over a named colour

Circles of different sizes, serpentines

Making a “road”

Making a road, riding on the left hand side, halting, looking left, right and left again before safely proceeding. Volunteers can act as traffic.

Making a road, traffic lights, can simply be  red, amber and green circles, recognising colour and moving off correctly

Upright poles with “nests”

Make sure poles are stable with a wide base of support and if there are 2          sidewalkers how the horse can be safely positioned so that the rider can reach

Reaching and stretching for rings, bean bags, small toys

Taking something from one pole to another, organising reins

Naming, colour matching games

Identifying grooming kit and use or Bits, stirrups, reins lead rope empty hay net, tail bandage

Horse or human game? Toothbrush and body brush 


Placing rings on cones and taking rings off

Numbers on cones; stopping at a given number

Weaving in and out; placement of cones important to encourage steering

Marking out circles, shape.

Cones and poles 

scatter around arena and when rider comes to a cone they have to walk a circle around or a pole halt beside and count 5  walk on to next.

Small toys

Carrying from place to place to encourage holding ability

Hide and seek

Scavenger hunt

Show and tell

Where is?

Musical buckets



Here are the links for 

RDA Show Jumping

Para Show Jumping

Frequently Asked Questions
(FAQ sheets)
Physiotherapists within RDA:  

Frequently Asked Questions  

The Chartered Physiotherapists in Therapeutic Riding and Hippotherapy (CPTRH) 

Ideas for games and activities without any equipment except arena letters

Grandmother’s footsteps, halt when grandmother turns.

Halt and  copy grandmothers actions

Stopping at letters

BEEP BEEP game a rider walks to next letter and shouts beep beep out of my space that  rider moves off and repeats at next rider. Could have 2 riders moving at same time if school large enough

Or .Riders looking behind to see when following rider is approaching and time their move off.

Riders at halt at different letters; coach shouts a number between 1-5 and riders have to move and count forward the correct number of letters and Halt with their body opposite letter

Riders to think of something beginning with what letter they are beside e.g. B bucket, F food, C canter, H Horse, M mane,

Transitions from halt to walk and walk to halt, giving prompts and then reducing prompts

Variations in speed; slow, medium, fast

Counting walk steps between letters on both reins ask them to make pony take bigger steps and therefore one less or small steps one or two more

Exercises at halt and at walk.

Assign an exercise to each of the letters can progress to riders remembering which exercise at which letter.

Give and take the reins, reins in one hand pat pony, place reins on neck of pony, clap hands together and retake correctly.

How many times can they do it on a full lap of the arena .

Feet out of stirrups at a named place and replace feet at another named place without looking down at feet ( helps if you twist stirrup leather just above stirrup so it sits in the correct angle for rider)

Can they do it 3 times between F and M 

Simple rein change.

Follow my Leader who  changes the rein, then circles to the rear and new leader to change rein  at a different places than the last rider.

Where is X? Ride across it and shout out your pony’s name as you cross X.

Simon says and other action songs e.g. head, shoulders, knees and toes

Countryside challenge type activities; leaning forwards for under the arch

Circles of different sizes and in different places but keep the rhyth.

Walking races

Ride on the track down one long side then move on to inside track on opposite long side a good one when off the lead rein.

Shallow loops, one two or three down long side or up centre line like a snake.

How to work out which rein they are on?

Right and left hand games; e.g. hold reins in one hand, pat the pony 5 times with right hand.

Drill ride

Circle to rear of the ride

Lead file turn down centre line and halt on the E B Line Rest of ride go large and new leading file turn up the centre line passing right to right or left to left and also halt on the E B line First rider moves off and joins the rear of the ride.  When riders are halted on EB line a volunteer could ask a question.

Shout out horse name, colour, etc when passing coach or a named letter

Split ride in 2 teams and ride circles at opposite ends of the arena and , wave or high 5 if safe to other riders as they meet over X

Using volunteers as “cones” to steer around, stop between, say hello to, answer a question about their pony

To encourage independent riding, have a line of volunteers down one long side to form a riding lane. Riders off the lead rope ride down the lane; last volunteer reclips the lead rope before the corner.

I spy games

Questions and answers on points of pony

Use the  colours of pony’s to ask riders to do something e.g the bay pony to halt at K the grey pony’s rider to wave .

Have Fun and let us know of 

any other idea’s


Training ... Spotlight on our Trainers Click Here to read more 


Show Jumping

Three Stages Of Leading Explained

Showjumping is now a core discipline in RDA, and to ensure groups deliver it with safety to Riders, horses and Volunteers, the process of Leading/jumping over a jump, (raised pole) is no longer seen as a safe practice.

To clarify this, if the pole is on the ground the horse may still be led in walk or trot, with the Leader passing between the wings. As soon as the pole is raised off the ground it is no longer a pole work exercise, it is actually jumping. Therefore the following Leading methods must be used

 This method of Leading should be practised by the Leader whilst warming up before the session starts and should include walking or trotting over poles.

Leading at Stage 1 (Leader has control of the horse)

This method of Leading is used when the Rider has minimum control of the horse and is often used with a Rider that requires two side walkers and a Leader. The Leader has control of the horse and follows the commands of the Rider and Instructor, with minimum input from the side walkers. The Leader is placed between the shoulder and head of the horse with enough contact on the lead rope to keep control at all times. This Leading procedure is used for Riders performing SJ Level .1

Leading at Stage 2 (Control of the horse is shared between Leader and Rider)

At this stage of Leading the Rider is now at a level where they should be working to control the horse in walk or trot and practising working independently. The Leader is positioned at the horse’s shoulder but with a lighter contact than used at Stage 1, allowing the Rider to direct the horse. There may be a need for one side walker but usually at this level the Rider works with just a Leader.

Leading at Stage 3 (Rider has control of the horse)

The Leader at this stage is positioned beside the Rider’s leg and allows the Rider to control the horse. The Leader’s role is to ensure the Rider is applying the correct aids with input from the Instructor, before the Rider comes off the lead rein. The Leader is just there in case an incorrect aid is given to the horse and also acts as a confidence-giver to a Rider that is ready for the transition of moving from being led to riding independently. This stage of Leading is required for Showjumping Level 2.

The Effect of Mounting Technique on the Horse

Russell MacKechnie-Guire

Centaur Biomechanics

Report from the Zoom training evening

Click here

 The Importance of riding at Walk

So much can be achieved at walk (providing this is an active walk, which includes many changes of directions).

Beware thinking that the aim if every session is to include a trot.

Trot is something to work towards,  when a balance position and confidence has been attained.

So often our riders are asked to trot as a culmination to lessons only to find that they lose the relaxed, flexible balanced seat we have achieved.  Then they go into spasm just before they dismount to get into the bus and the benefit of the first part of the lesson is lost.

So make use of the walk to relax encourage, flexibility, self righting abilities and other very real riding skills such as hand dexterity with balance in and aids for transitions halt walk halt.

Lesson Plan Ideas 
dumb bell.pdf dumb bell.pdf
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Roundabout.pdf Roundabout.pdf
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Satelite circle.pdf Satelite circle.pdf
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Advance Satelite circle.pdf Advance Satelite circle.pdf
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Sue's Ideas.pdf Sue's Ideas.pdf
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circle snakes.pdf circle snakes.pdf
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        More Game Ideas

Letters game.pdf Letters game.pdf
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Numbers game.pdf Numbers game.pdf
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School Markers game.pdf School Markers game.pdf
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Shapes game.pdf Shapes game.pdf
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Jigsaw game.pdf Jigsaw game.pdf
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Type : pdf
Lego game.pdf Lego game.pdf
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Type : pdf

Dressage Test Ideas 


Here are some points to remember when working with Autistic clients.

  Use the name of your rider they are comfortable with (find out from carer teacher or mother)

Do not make direct eye contact.

Touch rider as little as possible. Let them put on their own hat then you can quickly adjust.

Do not invade their space.

If you have to handle them i.e. change stirrup length then tell them what you are going to do and then be firm and quick.

Please do not count down much time has been used to teach your rider to count 1,2,3....

Back up a direct question of choice with a visual prompt. A direct question is quite confrontational.

If your autistic rider is grumpy and aggressive check that something could have happened on route to riding or earlier in the day. You may have to miss that session.

Try to change their pony and leader at odd times to prepare for pony being unavailable etc. Be firm, positive straight on and instantly move off.

If calling a dressage test only call the next movement at approximately 3-5 strides before and only give the one letter eg. At A turn right miss the letters in between.