Regional Chairman's Page - 

Anona White FRDA

Updated 8/12/17 

A charity day was held at Oswestry Golf Club for the local branch of  Riding for the Disabled.  Funds raised  for the West Mercia branch which has 37 branches spread around Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Hereford will help people take part riding, carriage driving, showjumping and hippotherapy.  Ruth Othan, organiser on day thanked all the teams taking part and said when all monies where IN  over £1500 would be collected  for the charity.  She also thanked local sponsors  for their support, who included, Hatfield Jaguar, Stonehouse and  Cors Brewery, Momentum Wines, Slaters Catering and local golf clubs who donated free games of golf as prises for competition winners.

Winning team from the host club where from left, Bill Willocks, Mike Dearing, organiser Ruth Othan, Alan Gwillian and Ian Pearce.



Can it be a year or so since I took over the reins from Celia as your Regional  Chairman – time does fly when you enjoy yourself,  and I can say that I have truly enjoyed the year. 
Delivering RDA sessions across 5 counties with 37 Groups is quite a business. We set, maintain and ACHIEVE the highest standards for our Clients, using a range of delivery models and in harmony with many 4 legged “Colleagues”. 
We fund and support our business through sheer hard work, supported by the donating public and commercial friends. AND we train, support and VALUE our people. Reading it like that you might think it had come from the Financial Times. But no, these words are just another way of noting what you all, as dedicated and enthusiastic VOLUNTEERS, do every day of every week. 
AND I thank you ALL for the humour, understanding, caring and professional approach you all take.
If I was to pick a highlight or theme from a busy year I would bring focus to SUCCESS. Success can be measured in tiny or huge amounts, you see it every time a participant greets you and then takes part in the session. You see it in the Regional Qualifiers and in the National Championships, it’s there for ALL to see. I love to see SUCCESS met with RECOGNITION and REWARD and it is wonderful to see dozens of rosettes, trophies and certificates presented to delighted recipients in front of their loved ones and carers. 
 Have a look on our WEBSITE at Staffordshire page to see and note a young fellow called MATTY who had a SIGNIFICANT success: what he achieved typifies RDA. Matty worked hard, he was supported by a willing and dedicated team AND he had to meet the standards in front of a Judge. Great stuff and but one example.

Keep up the good work everyone, I and the Regional Team could not be more thrilled with what you (we) have achieved this year.


July 2017

Summer is on us and well deserved holidays beckon for hard working groups, Coaches and individuals.  We have gone from strength to strength in our first half year, culminating in true success at County, Regional and National fun days/competitions.  Everywhere I have been I have witnessed excellence in action, great achievement and very importantly a real sense of commitment in a fun atmosphere.

I have been fortunate to attend a few special anniversary celebrations and seen individuals and teams be honoured for 40 or more years of dedication to our wonderful cause. It is always very humbling to learn of years of support and commitment, “because I love it when I see the riders achieve, smile and improve”. Whatever your motivation, the achievement across the Region is excellent.

As Chairman I am very grateful to all who hold positions of responsibility, be it to riders, groups, counties or fellow Regional Officers. Your dedication and support is hugely appreciated by me and by the NO team. May I commend to you and encourage you all to acquire, read and digest Enriching Lives Though Horses and  What We Do And The Difference We Make. These wonderful booklets published by NO set down what we have achieved, what we aspire to do. They provide an easy way to produce evidence, should you need to, when bidding for funds, raising our profile or supporting schools in their various efforts to “justify why the children should keep riding.”

The NO team have a clear direction of travel to keep RDA as an honourable charity of choice and I very much look forward to guiding our Region along the way.

October 2016 
I am Anona White and am delighted to be West Mercia Regional Chairman. I am passionate about RDA and with all of your help I would like to carry on the good work of Celia Baker, adding value to the Region, Counties and Groups in supporting and encouraging best practice, in recognising commitment and in rewarding achievement.

I have been a RDA Volunteer for 32 years with experience at groups in Sandhurst, Aldershot, Centre of England, Fen End, Lincoln,  Lisburn (Northern Ireland),  Rheindahlen (Germany) and many others. I am presently Shropshire County Coach, West Mercia Regional Coach, a Training Adviser, a member of the RDA NO Show Jumping Committee, a past member of the Dressage Committee, and an examiner for the RDA Knowledge for the RDA Coach exams. I am also a specialist adviser to RDA NO for Induction Training.

I hold the President's Award and have reached the Fellowship qualification having come through all stages of the coaching process. I remain a "grass roots volunteer" who puts my hand on a pony to groom, lead and train and I also make the coffee and sweep out from time to time. 

I set this out simply to let you all know that I have the essence of RDA at heart.  I am delighted to share my knowledge and skills with so many like minded fellow volunteers.

Outgoing West Mercia Regional Chairman’s message

After six years in post I look back on a very happy time, with immense support from the Regional and County officers as well as many of the groups. Thank you all for making my role as enjoyable as it was. I remember so many shows, royal visits and group visits with so many happy faces with fond memories, always for some reason in beautiful weather! - I hope I did the Region proud!

But I would also particularly like to thank all of the Region’s volunteers and participants who were kind enough to come to my farewell lunch at Stourport last Monday, that sort of occasion does not plan itself. What can I say? Such a happy gathering, special lunch and generous gifts – I felt very humbled.

The presents are all very “on point” – I certainly like my bread and  cheese board, my wine glass holder  (even if I did have to be shown how it worked) and the inscribed photo frame which awaits a suitable RDA photo to sit on this desk that I am now at! I think it will have to be of myself & my wingman, Anona, who was beside me every step of the way, and I can think of no better successor to my roll as Regional Chairman. I hope to be able to support her in a similar fashion as I continue as a County Chairman and County Coach.

Once again thank you to you all, I’ve made many good friends and it’s been a pleasure working with you all, and helping to improve the lives of participants and volunteers who assist them. I look forward to continue to work with you all.

With kind regards,

Celia Baker

 News from our Regional Chairman

Celia Baker

June 2016 

The last six months have been a very busy but extremely rewarding time for the West Mercia Region of RDA. Culminating in a fantastically happy Regional Qualifier held at Stourport Riding Centre at the end of May. But none of the successes of the last six months would – as usual – have been possible without the constant help and support of my “Wing Man” Anona White, West Mercia’s Regional Coach. THANK YOU Anona!

But I need to cover all aspects of recent activity! We’ve held several Regional Training Sessions for Coaches, Volunteers and Committee Members on a variety of subjects, all of which have been well received and of great benefit to all, including, I hope, our participants and equines.

New log books have been awarded to interested Coaches and several Trainee & Assistant Coaches have been upgraded to the next level of their coaching pathway, which is important & promising for the well being of Groups. I would like to thank our dedicated band of Training Advisors and County Coaches who have supported and instigated this work.

The Region has also gained a new Coach qualified to the highest RDA level – well done to Janet Alderton of Ride 2 Achieve on gaining her Senior Coach Exam this spring.

The Region welcomes Parklands RDA Group in Staffordshire to the West Mercia Region. Parklands owner is Alison Ramsieer who is the North West BD Para rep & is very keen to promote links, so that is very exciting for our Region.

Finally on to our Regional Qualifier where EVERYONE proved “It’s what you can do that counts”! Premises Owners, Volunteers, Riders, grooms and equines all certainly excelled – as did the weather! What more could we ask for? Full results of the show are available on the results page, but that only starts to tell the tale. Triumphs, big and small, were in evidence everywhere. So many Riders competing for the first time, thanks to the generosity of Gemma Towe & Stourport Riding Centre providing an enormous but excellent “pony pool” which covered every application!

 I feel so much gratitude to so many on the behalf of all our participants. Thank you to the numerous volunteers know who they are - I daren’t name names, as there were so many who worked incredibly hard in front of and behind the scenes to make this day what it was! Scorers, Judges, caterers, SRC staff, medical cover, veterinary cover – the list goes on & on Thank you!

Here’s to The Championships at Hartpury College on 15th to 17th July this year. Good luck to all who qualified, whether riding or in the Arts & Crafts competitions. I hope everyone else who competed at Stourport R.C. this year and their connections will also come along to cheer our Regional representatives on, and get their eye in for future years. See you there!!

I wish you all the best.  Have a happy, fly free summer!

Celia Baker

RDA West Mercia Regional Chairman

News from our Regional Chairman

January 2016 


I would just like to give a heads up to the Groups in the West Mercia Region that this years Regional Qualifier is to be held on Wednesday 25 May 2016 at Stourport Riding Centre DY13 9JD. 

We are very excited at this new change of venue as it will enable us to offer more space & classes, plus the option of hiring a horse or pony from Stourport Riding Centre if you do not currently ride there and have difficulties brining your own equines to the Qualifiers for whatever reason.

The horses & ponies being offered for use are at a charge of £10.00 per Rider per class and Riders should have made contact with Gemma Ashe, the owner of Stourport Riding Centre to arrange an assessment for suitability of type, size & temperament etc for their Rider (Please note there will be a charge for any assessment, payable by arrangement with Gemma Ashe. Stourport are also offering a limited number of stables for use on the day @ £10.00 per box which may be of interest to some Groups. If you are interested in any of these offers, contact should be made direct with Stourport R.C & Gemma, to make arrangements. You can telephone on 01299 251125.

Regarding dismounted activities, the popular Arts & Crafts qualifier classes will continue you should present your entries by 10.30 to the Secretary’s office. Also there  will be the Musical Ride or Drive competition; you should also bring this entry on either a USB pen or CD disk to the Secretary’s Office by 10.30 – see National web site & schedule for full details that will be available shortly.  Finally we are also holding a new “West Mercia Horse Care & Knowledge” class (up to level 2 & up to level 4) for any competitors at the show – entries on the day. Lots to do!!

I would urge all groups to come along to the day & compete in ridden and/or other classes even if the Championships are beyond your expectations at present – it would be great to see as many of you as possible to get a feel for the day, & to stem the fall in entries we have experienced over recent years.

If you have any questions please contact your County Chairman or myself on 01981 540 773

Looking forward to seeing you!

With best wishes

Celia Baker

West Mercia Regional Chairman