Disabled riders placed at national championships

Kelsey Power.

Two disabled riders from Richmond & Catterick Riding for the Disabled (RDA) Group both scored highly and secured third places in the RDA Virtual National Championship Countryside Challenge Class 37 at the weekend.

The Countryside Challenge was described by the commentator as an ‘obstacle course’ and those hazards that you may encounter in the countryside, such as a duck pond and gate.

In the senior class (over 16 years), Christopher Stanfield scored a creditable 72.5% to place him third.

Christopher has a cochlea implant, that he cannot wear with a riding hat on and has eyesight problems.

Kelsey Power, led by her mother and with her father as side-walker, came third in the junior class (under 16) with a score of 69.28% in her very first RDA competition.

Kelsey is a determined young girl who does not let her spinal muscular atrophy with a weak spine hold her back.

The commentator even admired her all-pink outfit.

In their Countryside Challenge class there is a leader and side-walker that are only there for support, all steering around the obstacles is done by the rider.

Christopher Stanfield.

Videos filmed at the Catterick Saddle Club, where the Richmond & Catterick RDA Group rides, were submitted for consideration with a plan for the layout of the challenge being sent through from head office so the challenge was similar for all competing riders. This was the second of a virtual type because of the pandemic.

As well as having fun, it gives disabled riders the chance to compete, to challenge and stimulate and to develop skills learned in the weekly sessions at their RDA Group.

With 3,000 views last year and 527 entries (200 more than last year) and 56 classes, the RDA Virtual National Championships was live streamed to a worldwide audience including those in Australia, Dubai and Canada.

Sheri, one of the volunteer coaches, said: “We’re immensely proud of Christopher and Kelsey’s achievements. Christopher competed in the Countryside Challenge at Hartpury College in Gloucestershire, pre-Covid in 2017, coming fifth in his class that year.

“A good improvement this time and an amazing result for Kelsey in her first-ever RDA competition.”