Vet's Guide

Regional Vet's Guide

In this section you will find useful information from our own Regional Vets including the resources, forms and advice to keep your horses's passport up-to date. We have two regional vets in the North Midlands region, Marta Gonzaléz-Paéz and Katharine Baxter with health and welfare and vaccinations guide for the groups in North Midlands region.

You can find the useful resources below:

RDA Healthy Horses


Current Policy

The RDA follows the lead of the FEI (Federation Equestre Internationale) and British Equestrian Federation with respect to the medication of horses used in competions.

You can find the full list of banned substances on FEI's Clean Sport's website:

The use of any herbal, natural or chemical product to affect the performance of a horse or pony in a calming (tranquilising), excitatory or performance enchanging manner is strictly forbidden under the RDA rules.


The RDA does however make certain exceptions to the FEI's list of controlled and banned substances with respect to the population of horses used in RDA activities. The use of the following products is permitted under RDA regulations provided that the horse is being treated for a specific diagnosis and is under the care of a veterinary surgeon.

Best practice for responsible control of prohibited substances on a yard is important for anyone attending National Championships - follow the link below for guidance on compliance:

BETA - Guide to avoiding Prohibited Substances


An e-learning course available through the British Grooms Association:

Groom Clean - e-learning course


  • RDA horses may not carry more than 1/6 of their body weight (tack and rider)
  • With standard tack equates to rider weight of 15% - (500kg horse = 75kg rider)
  • No limit for absolute weight/BMI of rider but must be allocated an appropriate horse

Why is it in place?

  • Unbalanced riders may increase risk of injury to horse
  • Limiting weight carried helps mitigate this risk
  • Recent AHT study: early results suggest signicficant temporary effect of inappropriate horse rider combination on gait and behaviour
  • Inappropriate combination exacerbated discomfort due to imperfectly fitting tack.

You can see the RDA Weight Chart Guidelines by click here - a max weight calculator to help our RDA groups work out the maximum weight a horse could carry (including the tack and before taking into consideration, the conformation, age and fitness of the horse). To access the calculator, please click here - please note that this will appear as a Microsoft Excel download.

Vaccinations - Implementation at RDA National Championships


  • Passport inspection by Veterinary Surgeon on arrival at Championships
  • If a horse's vaccination record doesn't comply with the rules, it will not be permitted to enter the National Championship Venue


Regional Vet will be attending at the Regional Qualifiers to checking the passports and ensuring the vaccination record is being comply with the rules.


You can find most useful vaccinations resources, forms and information on RDA website including RDA Free Vaccine Schemes, Vaccinations Checklist Guideliness and many more - click here.


New policy:

Horses play a vital role in RDA and their welfare is paramount. Equine welfare will be monitored throughout the competition to ensure horses’ welfare needs are being met. This includes freedom from hunger and thirst, discomfort, pain, illness and distress. Any welfare concerns will be investigated, and sanctions will be applied in the event of breach. These sanctions may lead to disqualification.

Implementation at National Championships

  • Any welfare concerns will be investigated by the Veterinary team   
If inadequate care has been provided, those responsible will be informed and sanctions may be applied:
  • Written warning
  • Speed awareness course
  • Disqualification in severe/repeat breaches