Posted on 28th September 2021
RDA’s first ever Virtual National Championships, presented by Oliver Wight Eame LLP, has attracted viewers from around the world, as the RDA family came together for a weekend of fierce competition and fun. Livestreamed over the RDA website, Facebook and YouTube channels, the event has not only enabled more riders to take part – it encouraged more visitors too, with over 4000 views on YouTube alone.
Mirroring the ‘real event’, usually held at Hartpury College in July, the packed two-day programme featured 54 classes in Dressage, Carriage Driving, Showjumping, Endurance, Showing, Musical Ride & Drive and Vaulting as well as RDA favourites, the Countryside Challenge and Arts & Crafts.
While the ‘real’ Championships will remain a firm and much-loved fixture in the RDA calendar, the virtual event has proved beneficial to many. The event attracted 96 groups and 350 competitors from all over the UK, who could film tests in their home arena without the costs and logistical challenges of travel.
The entry window also allowed multiple riders to take part on the same pony, and removed the need for borrowing horses, so everyone could take part on a familiar mount. For some, this had the knock-on benefit of allowing them to compete in a more challenging class than they might have attempted in an unfamiliar arena, or even on a borrowed pony.
Adding their flair and expertise to the proceedings, broadcasters Jenny Rudall and Ken Burgin and Eventer Simon Grieve were in the commentary box. Reading out messages of support from friends and families and interacting with viewers throughout, the commentators brought the live stream to life, capturing the spirit of friendly competition that is the trademark of the annual event.
You can view the full event report and results here: RDA National Championships Report and Results 2021