Fun day 2014.
Wednesday 3rd September arrived as another hot and sunny day. Our volunteers all turned up to set up a tricky cone course, an arena for people to do a show and some fun obstacles. About ten people in two shifts assembled to do their show and impress the judge, Jill Hawkes. They were competing for the Wight Crystal Trophy. Jill had a very difficult job on her hands as she said all our drivers performed so well. The trophy was awarded jointly to Irene and Sheila and rosettes given out down to sixth place.
The cone course was very competitively addressed against the clock. It was won by
Irene driving Murray, Sheila was second again with Murray and James third driving - yes, Murray. Well, Murray has the longest legs!
A break was welcome at lunchtime where we all enjoyed our picnics and again there was a huge selection of sumptuous cakes. After lunch most people tried the fun course which involved fishing a yellow plastic duck from a pond and dropping it in a bucket at the end of a slalom course and then doing the same with tennis balls.
The Island group would like to thank English Heritage for the use of Osborne and most of all, our own very dedicated group of volunteers.
Photos by Margaret Honeyborne.

Lee Phillips leaving our group

Rick, Lee, Carol and Philip with the Lee Phillips trophy which they donated for the able bodied whips.

It is with a touch of sadness that we said goodbye to Lee on Wednesday 27th August. He is moving to the mainland. Lee has been part of our group for just over four years and has always been such an inspiration to us all.

Despite having no vocal communication, Lee has always shown so much enthusiasm for his driving, demonstrating this with a broad smile and enthusiastic gesturing. Our able bodied whips soon learned that a wagged finger meant he was not happy . . . . . because he was going too slow! The smile became wider and wider the faster he went finally patting his chest to show his appreciation with the speed.

Lee's folks Philip and Carol were supported by his carer Rick. All of them have been an asset to the group. Philip and Rick will be missed nearly as much as Lee as they were keen to get involved with the group, helping with every aspect of it's running.

Lee and his family are moving back to Wakefield , 'up north' to be with other family members. Philip told me on Wednesday that they have found another RDA driving group about six miles away from their new home, where they drive three days a week.

Everyone associated with the Island group offer their thanks for what Lee brought to the group and wish him and his family much happiness for the future.

New Forest Visitors 2014.
Late summer is always a busy time for the Isle of Wight branch of RDA Carriage Driving Group. August and September 2014 were no different. Alternate years we entertain The New Forest Driving Group. They make us welcome every other year to enjoy the miles of tracks in the Forest. On the 26th August a group of New Forest volunteers, able bodied whips and disabled drivers arrived at Osborne House on a beautiful summer morning. Sadly their numbers were fewer than usual owing to illness, We have acres and acres of wide open space at Osborne, the envy of the New Forest group. We have room to set out a full size dressage arena and a huge cone course. We are also able to use some of the paths and drives that run through the estate. We are so lucky to have six ponies brought along each week by their dedicated owners. Thanks to the huge efforts made by our volunteers and of course Pocus, Fred, Murray, Troy, Baby and Henry we were able to give all our visitors a drive as well as our own people. The day was punctuated with a picnic and too many cakes!!

British Driving Society
On 16th June 2013 the British Driving Society held the Isle of Wight area driving show.
In the afternoon a special class was held for the Driving for the Disabled. The judge was Roger Page.
With the help of able bodied whips Pat Simpson and Robert Young with their ponies the class was held in two relays to give four drivers the chance. Everyone enjoyed the experience and the result was, 1st Diddy driving Murray with Robert Young, 2nd Louise driving Murray with Robert Young, 3rd Eileen driving Pocus with Pat Simpson and 4th Jeannette driving Pocus with Pat Simpson. Thanks go to all who made the event possible. It was a team event and all were winners for helping. Also thanks to Roger for being a very patient judge.

Diddy driving Murray with Robert

Eileen driving Pocus with Pat. Jeannette standing at the side

Louise and her father

Fun day June 2013

21st June 2013 RDA Fun Day and Show.
It was lovely weather for the Isle of Wight RDA Driving and Fun day. There were about eleven disabled drivers able to participate in the show class and then the obstacles and cones on the fun day.
Jeannette was 1st driving Pocus with Pat and the winner of the Wight Crystal trophy, 2nd driving Murray with Robert was Diddy. Eileen was 3rd Vanessa 4th Caroline and Monica were joint 5th and Louise 6th .

Then it was time for the fun. After dinner all enjoyed the fun obstacles and then the cones course .
The result of the cones was 1st Diddy, 2nd Louise, 3rd Caroline, 4th Jo and joint 6th Jason and James. Thanks again go to all the helpers and organisers of this day. A lot goes on behind the scenes.

Jeannette receiving The Wight Crystal Trophy from
Margaret Hunnybourne

New Forest Visit 2013
20th August Visit to the New Forest RDA Driving Group.
Once again we were lucky with the weather. A group of us sharing five cars visited the New Forest Driving Group. This time we were hosted at Mary Ford and her husband's beautiful residence at Burley. The members of the group were able to drive the track in the Forest which was located directly from the main gate. We were treated to lots of coffee, wine, soft drinks and wonderful cake by the New Forest members and all of us had a great day to remember. Thank you so much to all the helpers and especially our hosts in the beautiful New Forest setting.

Carriage Driving in Queensland Australia
Hello again. Well Jeannette and I have returned safely from the antipodean continent of Australia. For those who may be interested I thought I would relate our experience of carriage driving in south east Queensland. There really is a place called Jimboomba, it's just along the road from Mundoolun. There are many places in and around the outback with equally unusual names, but it was at Jimboomba where we met Bob and Sheila.

In the local newspaper 'The Jimboomba Times', we had seen an advertisement stating that the Jimboomba Pleasure Drivers meet every week on a Sunday morning about 1 mile out of the village. Jeannette and I went along at 9.00 o'clock one Sunday morning. The group was described as people interested in anything to do with horses in harness so we did not quite know what to expect. It said some people attend with heavy horses used, not for work anymore, but for pleasure. When we turned up there were three or four horseboxes and the same amount of ponies with various traps. It was explained to us that the group do not meet in the summer months because of the extreme heat and all but three of them left as we arrived.

Robert and Sheila were about to sit down under a shelter from the sun to enjoy a cup of coffee. They greeted us warmly and offered us coffee and we soon became involved in conversation about ponies, carriages and the RDA. They, and a friend of theirs called Nancy, were amongst a hardy bunch who attended all year round and started early to avoid the heat of the day. Bob told me how he built his own trap from parts of various vehicles, cobbled together, the oldest part being the shafts that were nearly 100 years old.

Their pony, Akki, was untacked and grazing in whatever shade he could find. Robert told us how Akki was a rescued pony and how he had trained him to respond to voice commands. He said that he had a high verandah at home where he stood and threw carrots for Akki to find. He directed him by shouting 'left two, back three, right one' and so on. Sheila told me how she thought Akki had saved Robert's sanity after he suffered a 'sort of breakdown' after a serious illness. When Bob went to collect Akki, he brought him home in the back of his ute. (Utility vehicle or pick up truck). Akki was told to jump in the back, and that is what he did!

They offered to tack Akki up and put him to so that he could take Jeannette for a ride. Putting to was as follows: 'left two, stand - back three, stand, OK good boy' and it was all done! Robert then proceeded to drive Jeannette around a very large park with some gum trees and pretty coloured trees in the background. Later he gave the reins to Jeannette for her to take control and she drove for twenty minutes or so through the same parkland setting. Nancy was taking her pony, Kasper for a drive at the same time.

Upon her return, Robert and Sheila offered to get lunch for us. They had unloaded a large gas barbecue from the back of their ute and were busy frying free range eggs from their own chooks and toasting bread. We declined their kind offer despite their insistence that Sheila would drive into Jimboomba and get some sausages and bacon for us. Nancy, who had never travelled outside Queensland could not believe that the IOW was so small and had so many people living on it. Some cattle stations in Queensland are nearly as big as the Island!
"I guess you had to leave to make room for all those folks to move about a bit", she said.

We enjoyed their company and good conversation, leaving just before their lunchtime. I had spread the gospel a little about the RDA but they were already aware of the benefits of carriage driving for people with disabilities. One of their members had just one leg and one arm. He had taught his pony to help tacking up by lowering its head! We were unable to find a RDA group in southeast Queensland that had facilities for carriage driving and so were delighted to meet the Jimboomba Pleasure Drivers. Their kindness and generosity were so much appreciated by us both.


FOR FUN DAY 2011 - See the gallery page

At our 2011 annual funday, Radio solent, who had made a donation to our group through their Community Chest Scheme, interviewed some of the group. The interviews were broadcast on the 'The Julian Clegg Breakfast Show'.

FUN DAY 2010

We held our 2010 annual funday on Wednesday September the first. Thanks to the stalwart efforts of fund raisers,particularly Fiona, we all enjoyed a marvelous picnic prepared by the golf club. There were not quite so many things to do this year as Sacha and Troy had to go home early.
We were very lucky to have Julie Hoskyns to judge for us and she joined in with the spirit of the day and seemed to thoroughly enjoy herself.
The Wight Crystal Trophy was up for grabs. Julie was unable to separate Diddy and Mo, so awarded the cup between them equally. They will each hold the trophy for six months.
In the driving class the winner was Mo. Close behind were Neil and Caroline who were second and third respectively.
The day also gave our AB Whips a chance to 'av a go. Keeley showed Pat how it should be done.
A cracking cone course set by Mo and Jo was hotly contested. It was really close this year with Jeannette beating Mo by just ONE second. Eileen who is slightly handicapped as she can't see where to go, came home third. I think Pat did even more pointing than usual for Eileen but you can see from the pictures how much fun it was for everybody.

The pictures show just what a good day we had. There were some truly strange 'Funny Hats' the competition being won by Jo. Just click the picture alongside to view the photo's of the day.
Many thanks are due to the hard working committee who arranged the day and to Christine for the photographs.


New Forest Visit July 2011.

On Tuesday 12th July 2011 a group of us set off to the The New Forest. We traveled in a small convoy of cars and our thanks go to Wightlink for their generosity in reducing the fares for us all. After a short and very pleasant drive through the New Forest we arrived at the home of the New Forest group, chairperson, Mary at Holmans, Bisterne Close, Burley.

Despite the threat of rain, we all sat in the beautiful garden and enjoyed the company of our hosts. The plan was to have a drive, then a picnic lunch followed by more driving. Because of the weather forecast, we did all the driving first before our picnic. The drive was a circular route along narrow lanes through the forest of about 3 miles. While each drive was out our hosts lavished upon us, masses of cake and tea or coffee. The variety of homemade cakes was a wonder and each one a mouth watering delight!

All of our people had a drive before setting off back to Lymington for the return ferry. It was a most enjoyable day as always when we get together with the New Forest Group. Our grateful thanks to Mary for her hospitality and to the whole group for making us so welcome and making it possible for us.


Jill was presented with a hand painted glass vase and a collage of pictures
covering the time she was Chairman of the group

Picture shows Jean, Jill, Peter and Jo with Leo.


We now have a new button on the left - 'GALLERY'

This was included because the photographs on the site were all found on odd pages. One click on the Gallery button will now take you to a page where you will be able to find all the pictures of the IOW Group and some of their activities.
If anyone has any pictures relating to our group, please email them to me if you would like to see them displayed in our Gallery.

Sacha, all scrubbed up.

Sacha, Jo and Colin

  Colin and Jo are pictured 'all dressed up' for the Bank Holiday May Day celebrations at Havenstreet.

Now we have seen how smart all three of you can look, we'll expect to see it every Wednesday! Congratulations to all three of you on such a magnificent turnout and especially to Jo for sharing the photograph with us.


Elaine and Clive driving 'Charlie'

Elaine is a relative 'newcomer to the IW Group. She and her husband, Eddie have been coming along on Wednesdays for just over a year now. Elaine had lost all her confidence after a riding accident left her seriously injured. Elaine is very modest about her progress but the group can all see how much her involvement has restored much of that lost confidence.

Charlie, Elaine's own pony, was thought to be a likely candidate to pull a trap and with the help of Clive, he was soon dragging old tyres around his paddock. Eddie thought it would take many weeks before Charlie was suitable to go into harness, but he was surprised when Charlie was between the shafts within a few sessions with Clive. He didn't expect to see Elaine driving herself so soon! Eddie tells me that none of this could have happened without the help and support of the RDA group and Clive.

I'm sorry Eddie, it seems we have let you in for a load of expense - carriage, harness, shoes as well as losing Elaine to Charlie for hours on end.