DEDICATED work and significant contribution to carriage driving within Riding For Disabled Association by Carol Porter of West Sussex, has been recognised with a prestigious national award.
Carole, from Happy Landings RDA group in Coolham, near Horsham, received the award from HRH The Princess Royal at a special 40th anniversary RDA event at Stowe recently. She became one of only six people across the nation to be honoured with this unique award.
She started riding with RDA in 1998 after a riding accident that left her wheelchair-bound the previous year. But only a year later she started carriage driving with the Happy Landings Group. Two years later she was on the Great Britain Para-driving team. After being in two silver medal winning teams she won Individual Silver in the first Para Pairs class.
Carol’s pony is used at RDA every week and Carol has been the Group Organiser for 15 years, Regional Driving Rep for 11 years and is also on the Carriage Driving Committee. She fits all this in around a very busy life organising events for the British Horse Society.
“I was stunned to be given this award and had no idea that I had been nominated. It’s been a real privilege being involved in RDA carriage driving and I hope more people will be inspired to give it a go like I did” she said after being presented with the award by HRH, The Princess Royal who is President of the RDA.
Carriage Driving in the RDA is 40 years old this year, having been offered since 1975 at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst when donkeys were used. Participants ride with an RDA Whip as an instructor who has to pass rigorous and vigorous assessments to be qualified, as do the ponies.