Carriage Drivers from the Riding for the Disabled’s South East Region were out in force at the annual show at Felbridge Show Ground, East Grinstead drawing a larger than usual entry as the sun shone brightly. Entrants from RDA driving groups across Surrey, Sussex and Kent went head to head in the three disciplines of dressage, cones and showing.
The RDA Groups represented included Heron’s Ghyll (Whitesmith) and Kipling County (Golden Cross) from East Sussex, Cobbes Meadow, from Canterbury, Kent, Happy Landings from Dunsfold, West Sussex and Stella Hancock’s team from Worplesdon, Surrey.
The day started with Ros Smedley from Cobbes Meadow winning the Condition and Turnout with Jacko. She only started driving six months ago and said “It has changed my life”.
The Showing Classes were judged by Louise Woodward where Linda Clarke of Kipling County won the Assisted Whips class with Smokey and Emma Capon from Happy Landings won the Novice Class with Serenade on her first outing.
The Open Driving was won by Pat Hammond of Cobbes Meadow with Jacko also winning the Stan Bellamy trophy for large horses. The Sylvia Bellamy Cup for small horses was won by a very happy Jay Bonner of Kipling County with Prince of Orange, who also came second.
The dressage competition was won by Amanda Hardy from Happy Landings driving Karina. In the Novice cones, Joanne McNicol won from Kipling County, while in a nail-biting Open Cones there was a joint first for Tracey Spencer from Heron’s Ghyll and Beth Allsopp from Kipling County, with exactly the same score and time.
Smokey from Kipling County was judged as the day’s most ‘Workmanlike’ Horse and won the ‘Little John’ cup.
“My thanks have to go to the wonderful work of the teams behind the competitors, who are tireless in their time and support as well as our sponsors, The Worshipful Society of Wheelwrights” said the RDA South East Region’s Chairman, Lindsay Correa.
Carriage Driving in the RDA is nearly 40 years old, having been offered since 1974 at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst when donkeys were used. Competitors ride with an RDA Whip as an instructor who has to pass rigorous and vigorous assessments to be qualified, as do the ponies.