2022 RDAQ Annual Report

It has been a busy year with much achieved by RDAQ and its members……. despite the best efforts of viruses, video conferencing gremlins, and Mother Nature!

The RDAQ Annual Report 2022 details the many activities made available by RDAQ to our members in 2022, and some of those planned for 2023. The report showcases the initiatives now in place to enable as many affiliated members as possible in regional and remote locations to participate in structured training, interactive workshops, and competitions as well as informal online and face-to-face information sharing opportunities. It is obvious that those who get the most from being a member of the association are those who actively participate in these free activities made available by RDAQ.

The challenges of the past year have made clear the importance of having a dynamic mix of forward thinking, solution focused people on the RDAQ Board. People who come from diverse backgrounds but who share a commitment to assisting children and adults to experience the physical and psychological benefits of sporting and recreational activities that would otherwise be unattainable for them.

For our members the pandemic and extreme weather events have meant unavoidable disruptions to the delivery of RDA programs. This, coupled with the rising costs and limited availability of feed and adaptive equipment, has had a huge impact on the financial viability and sustainability of our members. In addition, following a tragic incident during the year at an interstate RDA centre, it was extremely difficult for RDAA to secure public liability insurance at an affordable cost. The importance of a sound business plan, accurate record-keeping, and collaborative alliances to reduce costs at our centres has never been stronger.

It is a pleasure to report that Hervey Bay, Maryborough, and Rockhampton RDA centres were awarded Centre of Excellence status this year by national accreditation reviewers, Mel Jacobs and Chris Nott. The management committees at these centres must be commended for their hard work in ensuring that their centres meet this high standard across all aspects of the RDAA Accreditation Guidelines.

It is a concern, however, that several members do not have access to a covered riding arena. The severe weather associated with the changing weather patterns will have a serious impact on the ability of these centres to consistently offer services into the future. RDAQ will continue to support our members to explore practical options available to them to address this issue. Another major challenge is the increasing number of for-profit providers offering non-accredited equine-assisted services to people with disability.

RDAQ is grateful to the centres who hosted the 2022 Regional Workshops: Mackay, Maryborough and Crowson Park. The workshops provided an opportunity for representatives from our members to gather knowledge about key topics, share information about innovative approaches, and establish networks that they could then take back to their centre. The Board intends that by supporting workshops in different locations throughout Queensland, RDAQ will contribute to building the knowledge and skills base among all our members. RDAQ is looking forward to hearing from members who are interested in hosting similar events in 2023, particularly those in regional locations.

On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank all those who made it possible for riders at their centre to experience the thrill of competing in the State Championships. The joy on the faces of competitors is beyond value! We hope that even more centres can assist their riders to attend the 2023 RDAQ State Championships to be held in Maryborough in August 2023. The Board is working to provide a two-day master class by an international para-equestrian coach in conjunction with the championships.

The Board was excited to receive a grant from the Floroyal Sporting Wheelies Trust to “increase opportunities for disabled people to lead active lifestyles’’. After a call for Expressions of Interest from all our members, a proportion of the grant was awarded to Mackay RDA. This centre will use the grant to support the design and implementation of an unmounted program for people who use a wheelchair and the assistants/volunteers who support them. The initiative will trial activities designed to enable active participation in unmounted activities involving horses for people who may not have the physical ability to ride. The learnings from this project may then be made available to our other members.

I would like to encourage more participation by our members in the many opportunities available to them to guide the work of the Association. The completion of surveys and various registrations is the only way RDAQ can gather the required information to apply for grants, run workshops, and develop strategic plans, and thus provide what each centre needs to be positively functioning. The world of Zoom and teleconferencing has allowed people who previously were disadvantaged by distance to now be more actively involved….no matter where they are based. I am an example of this!

My fellow board members, Maggie Rippey, Kellie Davies, and Robyn Mapp have been a pleasure to work with because of their professionalism, dedication, positive attitude, friendly dispositions, and knowledge. I am grateful for the support of Diana Adderley who is the glue that holds RDAQ together – her dedication and skills have ensured the relatively smooth running of our organisation. RDAQ is not just her job it is her passion. The Board was delighted to support Diana as she undertakes further studies in administration and financial management. The addition of Elizabeth Davis as Communications and Marketing Officer has further enhanced the professionalism and general knowledge of our organisation. She is employed part time but generously dedicates many voluntary hours as well.

The last 4 years have been my second and final stint on the RDAQ Board and I have been honoured to act as the Chairperson for 2022. I step down wishing the Board and all the members of our RDA community all the best for 2023. I will be catching up with everyone at some of the fantastic workshops/training days in the 2023 pipeline. As outgoing chair, I would like to welcome Boaz Bernstein to the Board. As well as being an Assistant RDA Coach and an active member of an RDA centre management committee, Boaz has a wealth of experience in the business and education sectors and will be an absolute asset as the Board works to equip the Association to meet the challenges of the future.

I encourage experienced people from all backgrounds to seriously consider being nominated for a stint as an RDAQ board member. I call on you to play a key role in making a difference to the lives and futures of disabled children and adults. You will not regret it!

 Beverley Humphries                         

Chair, RDAQ Board

Board Member 2018 – 2022