Supported by the Sport England funded BEF Excel Talent Programme, the RDP is designed to aid the development of Pony Club Members who show the ability to progress in the Olympic disciplines and provides opportunities for young riders working towards the British Equestrian Federation’s Sport England funded Excel Talent Programme and the UK Sport Funded World Class Programme.
The RDP is open to all Pony Club Members aged 12 or over, who fulfil the criteria, for their age bracket in their chosen discipline. Members apply to attend one of ten Regional Assessment Days, where three riders are selected to go forward to the RDP Camp. At the RDP Camp, riders receive a weekend of mounted and dismounted coaching from experts in the equine field, before six riders are selected to form the RDP Squad; who receive enhanced learning opportunities, including coaching from industry specialists to help improve all aspects of their performance, such as goal setting, equine nutrition and promoting themselves using social media.
Bedfordshire South Branch Pony Club Member Samantha Wuidart was selected for the 2015 RDP Squad, and comments:
“When I applied for the RDP I had just started competing at elementary level dressage so the world of FEI Pony Tests seemed a million miles away. The opportunities and training I have received have given me the confidence and motivation to train to medium level.”
Samantha’s goal for 2016 has already been achieved when she competed in an FEI Pony Dressage competition at Addington Manor Equestrian Centre; finishing in a pleasing 6th place with a mark of 66%. She has now set her sights on competing to an even higher level, and her next aim is to compete in a Premier League competition. Samantha continued,
“I didn’t think this would be possible eight months ago when my pony and I started our RDP journey!”
Fellow RDP Squad Member Holly Lucas, who belongs to the Peak Branch of The Pony Club, said:
“The whole RDP scheme has been such an incredible experience. I have been able to have extra training with some fantastic coaches which has been extremely beneficial.”
Through the scheme, Holly had also accessed support to begin training for the prestigious Pony Club A Test; the highest qualification a Member can gain in The Pony Club.