New Season 2022

Cherry Park Driving Group is regrouping at present. We have our beloved pony, Jim, who is now 20 and finding his job a bit onerous, particularly at the moment when after a very dry April the ground is as hard as iron.  We have been very fortunate in acquiring a new pony, Bluey, very kindly donated to us by a lovely couple in Suffolk. He is learning how to be an RDA driving pony at the moment and so we are not holding driving sessions for the time being.

However, we still have activities for our participants to become involved with which will give them a better understanding of the discipline of carriage driving when we are able to start. As it is the Platinum Jubilee Year we are planning to include celebrations in our activities.

Plant Sale

In the meantime, an extra pony needs extra funding and we held a plant sale and cake stall on the 22nd May to help raise some funds.  Many thanks to all those who volunteered their time and effort on the day, and also to the gardeners who contributed plants and the bakers for their efforts in stocking the cake stall. Our total fundraiser raised nearly £900 for Cherry Park Driving Group.

We are grateful to all those who purchased on the day and supported us. We trust you enjoyed the day.

Update 29-05-2022 – We are pleased to say that our plant sale final total rolled in at £1019.00 and counting! Thanks again to everyone who supported us.

Memories From Childhood

Man’s best friend has been associated with our family since long before I was born.  My roots are in Scotland (just) and from the 1920s to the 1950s my family lived in Cults, at that time a village on the north Deeside Road into Aberdeen.  I wasn’t old enough to remember it in great detail but my Dad seemed to have an affinity for calling his dogs “Glen”, usually a border collie  and my first story was related to me many times over the years.

In the 1930s my Grandparents lived down the road in the village of Bieldside and their property covered approximately one acre.  They had a petrol station and their home was situated on the main road, roughly centred on the boundary.  The story goes that Glen had a regular routine.  He’d sit on the side of the road until the traffic was clear, cross to the white line and proceed to walk down the line until he reached the property’s boundary whereupon he’d cross back over, do a circuit around the property, cross back to the white line and come back full circle.  Apparently all the local drivers knew him and he wouldn’t budge from the white line until he got to where he was going.  Aberdeen has grown of course since those halcyon days.  Cults and Bieldside are now a full part of the metropolis and “countryside” is much further out-of-town.

My second story concerns another “Glen”.  By this time Hilary and I were growing up in the West Midlands and were lucky to have countryside around us in the form of Sutton Park but my story is one from the back garden.  My parents had bought a dog, Glen; I think for Hilary.  Not a collie this time but a first-cross Foxhound if memory serves.  It was fashionable in the late 50s early 60s to have wire boundary fences.  We had a French window that looked out across the back garden and an open field (until they built a school).  Next door lived a black cat.  Well the dog used to go crazy on sight of the cat and insist on going to see it off.  He’d never catch it and probably wouldn’t have known what to do with it if he had, but the cat knew this and would sit on her side of the fence quite close, demurely watching as Glen raced up and down the garden.  When he stopped she’d very carefully poke one paw through the fence and very slowly, deliberately, clout the dog across the nose.  He never learnt and always fell for it every time.

My last story occurred in the late 70s after we’d both left home.  Mum and Dad were still living in the West Midlands and they had been invited to stay with Hilary and Paul for a short break.  Anyway somehow they ended up shopping at Harrods!  The first I knew of this was when they dropped into my work in Slough on their way home where they showed me this gorgeous puppy.  A pedigree Border collie named “Glen” of course.  The picture is when he was much older but he had a lovely temperament and I think he was always my favourite even if he belonged to my parents and wasn’t mine.

This “Glen” went on to father some puppies, one of which my parents kept. Flicka had a very different character and she demanded much more attention than her Dad!

I hope you enjoy the anecdotes.


Hartpury 2019

I am delighted to tell you that Sandra, with help from Gemma and Jim, won the

Jim at the National Championships 2019
Jim at the National Championships 2019

Intermediate Class at the National Championships.  In addition, she was also Class Champion having the lowest score in both Intermediate and Open Classes.  Many congratulations to Sandra, who was driving single reins with Gemma up beside her and Hilary as headperson.

Along with Syb and Tony who accompanied Gemma and Hilary as volunteers, we had the added bonus and great delight of Kim’s presence.  It was great to see her again and we were very thankful for her help and support (especially Gemma!). 

Sandra and Gemma with their winning rosettes
Sandra and Gemma with their winning rosettes

It was an exciting time to be at the Championships as RDA was celebrating its 50th anniversary and Princess Anne was in attendance.  The BBC programme, Countryfile, was also there interviewing HRH and Anita Ranhi handed out the rosettes to all the competitors.  So Cherry Park might be on the telly in a couple of weeks’ time!

I am sure Sandra will join me in expressing gratitude to all at Cherry Park who were

involved in the process of getting her to the Championships and such a great result.  From Gemma’s brilliant coaching to those volunteers who spent last Wednesday cleaning the carriage and harness and shampooing Jim, to our other disabled drivers who have uncomplainingly foregone some of their drives and to those who gave up two days of their time to attend the event with us, we say a huge thank you.   Not to mention our star pony, Jim, who didn’t put a hoof wrong for the entire time.  Was there ever a better or more loved pony?

“Dear All,

I am absolutely thrilled with my result at the RDA Nationals last Friday.  Not only did I win my class but won an extra rosette and medal for achieving the lowest number of penalties in the classes.  As it was the 50th Anniversary of the RDA, special pony hampers were given out to winners which contained items for use on the ponies, so I hope the fly spray comes in handy for dear Jim this summer!

I just want to say a really big “thank you” to the whole Group for helping me to achieve all this.  It would not be possible without the entire back-up and support that I have received.  I have to say that dear Jim looked absolutely superb last Friday.  He was looking really fit and healthy (thank you Lesley!) and he was very shiny from his Wednesday bath and along with this, the harness and carriage were spotless.  Gemma had woven blue wool into his plaited mane and the whole outfit matched (dark and light blue) and was smart.  We managed a mark of “9″ on the turn-out.  We received lots of comments about what a lovely pony Jim is (which we all know already!) and he seemed to have many admirers!  We commented that he looked like a small thoroughbred! 

I look forward to seeing you all soon and hope to be there on Wednesday for a chat and a cup of tea.

In the meantime, once again, thank you to everyone.

Best wishes,

Sandra xx”

Royal Celebrations For RDA

People’s Postcode Lottery welcomed Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal in celebration of 50 years of Riding for the Disabled Association. See the report here.

2018 Championships Report here (pdf) – Hartpury 2018