Our aim is to give disabled people the opportunity to try out a skill which would not normally be available to them. Whether they wish to take those skills further in competition or just enjoy a gentle trot on a pleasant morning in the company of like-minded people is entirely their choice.
A “turnout” includes a pony, a specially adapted carriage capable of taking a wheelchair, and an RDA Coach (able-bodied driver known as a Whip) who is in charge of the whole procedure. All are assessed by the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) for suitability and to ensure the safety of the disabled and everyone present. The disabled driver is taught to drive sitting alongside an RDA Coach, each person holding a set of reins for maximum safety. We have our own pony, Jim, who is looked after by volunteers at their own yard.
When we meet
Cherry Park Driving Group meets on a Wednesday morning at our venue near Chichester from 10am (with the aim to start driving at 10.30am) until approximately 1pm. Our operating season runs from May to October weather permitting.
Cherry Park Driving Group is part of the RDA South East Region and can enter events run by them.
Our disabled drivers work hard to improve their driving skills and some of them have attended a number of events and shows with some considerable success.
During the year two significant events are held within the region: the Carriage Driving Show held at Felbridge in July and the Indoor Driving Trial and Qualifier held at Sands Farm, Warnham, in September. This latter show is a qualifier for the RDA National Championships held at Hartpury, Gloucestershire, in early July.
Since 2015, drivers from our Group have entered both shows with considerable success, on two occasions qualifying at Sands Farm for the National Championships.
As ever we rely on volunteers to be able to accompany us to these events. They involve long days out but are great fun and ultimately very satisfying and rewarding. Please see our Gallery showing our experiences at these shows.