Borders riders qualify for national finals

L ' R Barbara Berkowitz. Liz Stone , Jane Currie. Jane & Barbara qualifying for the National Championships in July.
L ' R Barbara Berkowitz. Liz Stone , Jane Currie. Jane & Barbara qualifying for the National Championships in July.

two Borders riders have qualified for the RDA national finals and will travel down to Gloucester next month to compete in the dressage competition alongside the Berwickshire vaulters who will also be taking part.

Both Barbara Berkowitz, from Coldstream, who rides with the Berwickshire Riding for the Disabled Group, and Jane Currie of Borders RDA successfully won their places at the national finals by winning through in the regional dressage competition at The Drum, Edinburgh, at the end of last month.

Berwickshire RDA were represented at the regional finals by both Barbara and Val McGregor - Val scoring a first in ‘freestyle to music’ and despite her dressage test being performed in an absolute downpour she was a creditable third in her class, in this her first year of competing at regional level.

Riders take part in a variety of classes depending on experience and level of disability - and dressage classes can include: walk; walk and trot; walk, trot and canter. The more advanced levels being the classes that are qualifiers for the national championships.

Barbara has moved steadily up the classes over the years she has been attending the Berwickshire sessions on Tuesday evenings, but what she didn’t realise was that the classes she was taking part in at the regional competition could potentially lead to qualification for the nationals.

Her third in ‘freestyle to music’ and her high score in dressage meant that she did just that and now she and Major Darcy will be off the Hartpury College in Gloucester next month.

Success at the national finals (which includes dressage, vaulting and carriage driving) is nothing new for Berwickshire RDA - two years ago six of their vaulters (Murray Shiells, Christopher Lyons, Anthea Drysdale, Charlie Lochhead, Ciaran Bowie and Reece Logan lunged by Rebecca Morgan on her own Big Guinness) won after performing solid compulsories and a very slick freestyle on the horse.

The driving force behind it all is Margaret Morgan who is regional chairman of Edinburgh and Borders RDA, county instructor for the Borders and chairman and instructor with the Berwickshire Group, It’s Margaret who decides which riders are ready to take part in competitive classes and at what level, and Berwickshire riders have learned to trust her judgement as to when they are ready to take their riding skills to the next level.

Prior to the regional competition RDA representatives from across the region met with national RDA committee member Liz Stone, the upshot being that as well as continuing in its current successful format, plans to broaden the activities of the group have been taken on board by the local groups.