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December Update


Christmas Lunch


The Group Christmas Lunch was held once again at Pilgrims Hall, Halland on Dec 7th and 43 members, carers and guests enjoyed an excellent lunch in a traditionally festive atmosphere where we are always made to feel so welcome. Our new chairman, Hilary Hill welcomed everybody and then paid tribute to Carol Lamble an assistant trainer, whip and unforgettable character who died suddenly earlier in the year, and announced that in future the Annual Cones Competition would be known as Carol`s Cones in her memory. Hilary also mentioned the two ponies which we sadly lost during the year, dear Jack ,who had been a wonderful RDA pony for 24years and who had only recently been retired, and then more recently our newcomer, Sam, who had only been with the group for 3 months and was already proving to be an ideal RDA pony. We are now urgently looking for a new driving pony before next season.


Hilary then asked Mr Peter Gunner, who was one of our guests and who owns Burchett`s Farm and allows us to use it as our Driving base, to present the Awards. The list of Awards and recipients are on the results page, Congratulations to everyone, and also to the winners of the Carol`s Cones Competition again listed on the Results page. There are also some photos on the Photos page of the presentation, courtesy of Peter Stockwell.


Helpers Christmas Fish and Chip Supper


A Helpers Christmas Fish and Chip Supper was held on Thurs Dec 14th at The Old Oak,Arlington and was a most enjoyable evening and gave us all a chance to get to know each other with the time to chat and even put names to faces! A big Thank you to Bella for organising this with Jolyon`s help and hopefully it can become an annual event, judging by the noise everyone seemed to be having a great time!


The Driving Season 2017 is now at an end and we start again with the Disabled Meeting at The Green Man at Ringmer on Thurs Jan. 11th at 11.30am for the meeting and 12.30 pm for lunch open to everyone. Please contact Karen on 01825 508563 to book in a week before. The new Spring Programme is now on the website for details of what is happening, only provisional at the moment.






AGM Report


The AGM was held on Thurs. Nov. 2nd in Upper Dicker Village Hall and about 30 members and carers attended and we were pleased to welcome our President, Mrs Elizabeth Fairclough. Several apologies were received and the Minutes of the 2016 AGM were read , approved and then signed by Karen who then gave her Chairman`s report for the year followed by Instructor, Hilary, and Treasurer, Doug`s Reports. The Chairman and Instructor`s reports follow this account. The election of Officers and Committee then proceeded with several changes this year, firstly Karen has decided to stand down as the Group Chairman after several years in the position and we are very fortunate that Hilary Hill has agreed to take Karen`s place and also to continue as our Instructor, thank you Hilary.There were also two vacancies on the Committee and as there were more nominations than places a ballot took place and as a result Mrs Susanne Willis and Mr Chris Collin were duly elected and Susanne also agreed to be our Safeguarding Officer.


Karen was then presented with a bouquet and thanked for everything that she had done for the Group as Chairman and we were pleased to know that she will stay on as the Disabled` s Representative in the Group and look forward to seeing her on driving days without all the paperwork! Andrew, Karen`s husband , who has been our `chief` loader and` loading trainer` has also decided to step down after many years helping the Group and he will be greatly missed and we thank him for all he has done for us.


There followed some discussion on points raised in `any other business` and the Committee has agreed to look into these issues.


Thank you to Brenda for the delicious chocolate, belated Birthday, cake which we all enjoyed with our coffee.


The Meeting closed at 12.10 pm


See Chairmans Report

See Instructors Report




RDA South East Regional Conference


Eight Heron`s Ghyll members attended this meeting and were proud to applaud our three Awards Winners, Sue Page who received her 30yr Award and Anthea Shipley and Liz Major both their 25yr Awards ------ Congratulations to all three!




There were several lectures covering various aspects of RDA including caring for the ponies with particular attention to correct fitting of bits, bridles and harness. The responsibility of running a successful RDA Group was discussed at some length with reference to the importance of maintaining a safe and happy atmosphere and good empathy with all the disabled members. It was stressed that an understanding of each individual driver`s capabilities was important in order to enable them to enjoy their driving as fully as possible. The morning ended with a buffet lunch which was much appreciated.




Sands Farm Indoor Event


This year Heron`s Ghyll were a rather reduced group with only four competitors with two ponies. Tracey and Nutmeg with companion whip Angela drove in the Open Class and came 2nd but it was a very close thing, however she did Qualify for the National Championships at Hartbury for the 3rd year running so congratulations, Tracey. Vianne, Chris and Greg all drove in the Novice Class Vianne with Lottie and Sue P. Chris with Nutmeg and Angela and Greg also with Lottie and Sue. Commiserations to Vianne who only just came 3rd and therefore missed out on Qualifying for the National Championships.


It was a wonderfully warm and sunny day and everyone enjoyed it and thanks as always to all the helpers and towers and especially to Sue and Sandra for kindly bringing Lottie and Nutmeg it meant a very early start for them. 



News Update August/September


Our Annual Winkle Fun Day was held on Thurs August 17th and, although the weather looked decidedly doubtful at first, it luckily stayed dry and everyone enjoyed the relaxed morning and Hilary`s `fun` course. Some of the leads did have problems throwing the ball in the bucket and some companion whips had trouble putting the flag into the hole but that all added to the fun and amusement. Congratulations to the Winning Turquoise Team of Karen, Ian and Greg, see Results.


We were again fortunate to have good weather for our ODE on Sept.7th and we were pleased to welcome four members from the Kipling County RDA carriage Driving Group, it is always more fun to have some outside competition. Hilary had once again designed a challenging Cones Course and interesting Obstacles and the Dressage was - well – just Dressage! This year the Heron`s Ghyll Group excelled themselves winning all three Classes and Congratulations to Tracey and Sam for winning the Open, especially as it was our new pony Sam`s first show, and to Vianne and Lottie and Chris and Nutmeg who won the Intermediate and Novice Classes respectively.



 See Results. Many Thanks to everyone who came to help get everything ready for both events and to tidy up.


Our last `Drive Out` of the season was at Sheffield Park, a new venue and thanks to the Staff for allowing us to drive on their lovely Parkland. We were again fortunate that the rain held off until the afternoon and everyone was able to enjoy the new surroundings and the ponies also seemed quite excited at `pastures new`!


Once again our thanks to all who loaded and towed trailers and horse boxes and everyone who came to help and special thanks to Sue Page and Tracey Spencer who organized the event.


See Photos


We are now coming to the end of this Driving Season and the AGM is being held on Thurs. Nov. 2nd please note change of date, at Dicker Village Hall 10.30am so we hope to see as many members as possible there. Our final `Get Together` will be the Christmas Lunch at Pilgrim`s Hall, Halland on Thurs. Dec 7th please see Karen for details. However there is still the ODE at Sands Farm on Tues. Sept. 26th and 4 of our Whips will be representing the Group. Best of luck!