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Liz Robinson


We were all shocked and saddened to hear that Liz had passed away in St Wilfred`s Hospice on 25th April. Liz had been a loyal member of the Heron`s Ghyll RDA Carriage Driving Group for 15yrs and was a very capable and reliable helper with her previous equine experience and her empathy with the disabled whips. She will be forever remembered as `back-stepper` on Jack`s old carriage helping the more severely disabled whips. We have all missed her during the past year when illness prevented her coming to RDA but many did not realize that it was so serious and we were so pleased to see her at one of the indoor meetings early in the year.



All of us at Heron`s Ghyll send our condolences to Liz`s husband, Ian, and to all her family. Thank you, Liz, for all you did for the Group over the years we will always remember you with affection.


April Update


We had hoped to start Carriage Driving at Burchett`s Farm on Thurs March 22nd however the persistent heavy rain meant that the start had to be postponed until March 29th. We were then allowed to take the ponies and carriages onto the field but no other `traffic` so it was a little congested in the farmyard! However the Disabled whips seem to enjoy being back in the `driving seat` once again and the morning stayed dry for us. April showers or rather downpours, again disrupted our plans and unfortunately we had to cancel driving on April 5th and the following week the fields were still too waterlogged but the weather was fine and a road drive was arranged. This was a new route which involved crossing the main road but all the ponies behaved impeccably, including new recruit Diesel, and the drive was enjoyed by all. Finally on April 19th we were allowed onto the fields again and although it was the hottest April day for many years the ground was still heavy and hard work for the ponies although all the humans enjoyed sitting ( or working!) in the welcome sunshine! Although the heatwave was shortlived hopefully it will have dried the fields up and made the going easier for the coming week.


We were all very sad to hear that Sue Page`s much loved pony, Domino, had to be put to sleep recently and we are very grateful for all the pleasure she has given over the many years she has been with the group. She was a great favourite and will be much missed by everyone and we send Sue our sympathy and our gratitude for bringing her not only to the group meetings on Thursdays and also to the many shows. Only last year she won the dressage at the Annual RDA show at Felbridge, Thank you Domino R.I.P.




Our new pony Diesel is progressing well with his RDA Training and hopefully it will not be too long before he can be passed and join the `team` and help to replace Domino.


The Picnic Drive at Gunhill which had to be postponed is now scheduled for Thurs. June 14th details will follow nearer the time.


The Race Night held at East Hoathly Village Hall on April 7th was a great success and proved to be a fantastic fund raiser for the Group. There were so many complementary reports afterwards and everyone seemed to enter into the spirit of the racing and thoroughly enjoy themselves. The food was fantastic and a very big `thank you` to Sandra, who was in charge of the catering, and to all her team and of course to Doug and Pat and all their helpers for organizing the whole evening, everyone worked so hard to make it such a success very well done!


Our next Fund Raising Event is the Annual Bluebell Walk on May 10th and 11th at Arlington, volunteers and cake makers needed for both days, see Liz Major to go on her list of helpers. It is always a great fund raiser and we hope for fine weather and a good show of bluebells. There will be no driving on that Thurs May 10th. And the Firle Park Drive is now on May 24th.


The Oak`s Driving Club are holding their Driving Competition at Burchett`s Farm on Sat May 19th and have invited H.G members to take part in all or just some of the sections, Dressage (NB NOT the RDA Test) Cones and Obstacles. Details in Hilary`s e-mail.


Hopefully the Summer will soon arrive to stay and we can all enjoy our Driving Days.




March Update


The first event of the Driving Season was the annual Disabled Members Meeting on Thursday Jan 11th at `The Green Man` Pub at Ringmer at which they were able to make suggestions and bring up any matters and questions they wished to be passed on by their representative to the Committee for discussion. Several helpers and committee members then joined the group for lunch and general `catch up` after the Christmas break.


On Thursday Jan 25th all Volunteers were asked to attend a Training session on Safeguarding at Dicker Village Hall. We were given an update on the Safeguarding policy by Christina Fowden and an additional talk by Lisa Rye on safeguarding vulnerable adults. This was a helpful morning attended by about 20 members and a refresher for those of us who attended the compulsory course for all Carriage Driving Coaches (ABs) at Crawley Down last year. Our thanks to Christina and Lisa for all their help and advice.


A Training Session for Carriage Driving Coaches and Helpers was held on Feb 15th at Susanne`s and our thanks to her for her hospitality and allowing us to use her school. Many thanks also to Bella and Sandra for bringing two ponies, Buttons and Nutmeg and to Doug and helpers who brought along the lift and other equipment to give us instructions on their use and the loading of wheelchairs. We all benefitted from their input and helpful instruction sheets and the important reminders of correct procedures.


Good news is that we have a new pony to replace poor Sam and Angela has very kindly agreed to look after him and his RDA training and all is going well to date. He is a coloured cob,mostly white, 14.1 hh and called Deisel, we are all looking forward to meeting him and welcoming him to the Group and thank you Angela.


The carriages have all been serviced this week and we are ready to start Carriage Driving next week but this is, of course, weather dependent as the ground is too wet at present.