Kipling News

RDA Head Office New Rules.                        21st June 2024
Our RDA governing body have issued new rules regarding the replacement of all Groups carriage seat belts by a new velcro style belt, aimed at improving safety, including Kipling.
This unexpected ruling means that our committee are now required to create additional Health & Safety Rules (including having them signing off by individual driver/coaches). This in addition to rule updates our own Kipling Group had already recently formulated.
We apologise for this temporary pause, and look forward to quickly resuming driving again very soon.
Bexhill Horse Show.                                      27th May 2024
What a great day we had at Bexhill Horse Show, and I hear that our “Guess the Name of the Pony” competition raised over £230 for Kipling County.  What a great day it was, and here is a photo of our team drivers and volunteers inside the superb stall. Well done to all those that attended, and thank you from the whole Group.
Bexhill Horse Show.                                   27th May 2024
Our secretary is delighted to tell us that we are taking a Kipling County RDA fundraising stand to this family orientated Bank Holiday Horse & Dog Show, and she would love to see our brilliant members to give her a bit of additional moral support. Please see our ‘Diary 2024’ for details.
RDA Carriage Driving Starts.                   2nd May 2024
Our Committee currently intends to start carriage driving today with (previously Monday)  “Group B” members.
RDA Field Set-Up.                                 25th April 2024

Our Committee tells us that the current plan is to sort out and set up the field on Thursday 25th April, with volunteers meeting up at 10.00am.  Tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided, but please feel free to bring your own sandwiches if you can stay longer than usual.

They also tell us that there are planning to fence off some problematic holes that previously necessitated what looked like a wonky arena.

In addition, a new carriage shed will arrive shortly and the redundant sheds removed.

RDA Training Day.                                             ?  April 2024
Our committee apologises, but for the moment our Training Day has been cancelled.
Quit Night @ Bear Inn, Burwash.      6th April 2024 (Revised)
As we head towards the new season, our committee is delighted to tell us all that they have organised and booked a Music Quiz.  (Many apologies for the revised date.)
Our Secretary writes “Please come along for an evening of fun whilst raising funds for our RDA Kipling County Carriage Driving Group”.
If you like music, and who doesn’t, it’ll be brilliant, and at only £2/person with a maximum of 6 in a team, it’s fantastic value.  The 7.00pm prompt start will be hosted by Steve Bennett and Bred Lambert.
They have been really popular in the past, so ring The Bear Inn, High Street, Burwash on 01435-882540 to book your team’s place.  Loads of parking around the back.
Car Park SatNav Co-ords: 50.99689, 0.38345
Kipling AGM.                                                                           28th March 2024
To be held Horam village hall, and full details are published on our ‘Diary 2024’ page (including the Agenda & Minutes of last years meeting.)
Our committee would love to see as many members, coaches and volunteers as possible.
It’s a great opportunity to meet up after our wet winter, and just have a natter.
Mike Cyster: Service Details.                            25th January 2024.
Following the loss of our good friend, Mike Cyster, Liz and Josie tells our committee that the service to celebrate his life has been arranged for 2.00pm on 25th January 2024, at Horam  Crematorium, and that Kipling are invited.
Afterwards, Liz and Josie will be pleased to meet everyone who can attend at The Club House, Buxted Park Bowls & Cricket Club. (Just inside the brick gateway on the left).
For members and volunteers who might not know the area, the details are as follows:
Horam Crematorium, Horam Road, Horam, Heathfield, TN21 0FX.
SatNav Co-ords: 50.92262, 0.23885
The Club House, Buxted Park Bowls & Cricket Club Ground, TN22 4AY
SatNav Co-ords: 50.99012, 0.11699
Mike Cyster.                                                                26th December 2023.
It is with much sadness that our committee tells us that they have just heard of the loss of Mike Cyster, who passed away on Boxing Day, 26th December 2023.
Mike was a valued member of Kipling, who was kind, polite, always wore a smile, and was often the first to volunteer when anything needed doing.  Thank you Mike, for all your years of support as a volunteer, we will miss you.
Our thoughts will be with Liz, and their daughter Josie, at this very sad time.
Christmas and the New Year.                        23rd December 2023.
(Image courtesy of RDA South East Region Website)
It’s the Festive Season and although driving is closed throughout the winter months, please know that we are thinking of you all.
We hope you all have a very Happy Christmas and lovely 2024 with your family, friends, organisations, homes and also fellow members. We look forward to seeing you all very soon, once the weather warms up again.
Christmas Dinner.                                         7th December 2023.
Christmas Dinner  for all our Monday and Thursday MembersVenue   : The Yew Tree, Chalvington Lane, Chalvington, Hailsham, BN27 3TB

Time.     :   12.30pm

Sue O’Dell tells Us:                                                                                                                         Please see below a copy of the Menu. If you would like to reserve a place, please can you let me have your menu choices and a £10 deposit  at your next driving session. I would like to collect full payment before we finish driving for this year. Our Christmas lunch has always been a fun, enjoyable occasion and it would be lovely to see as many members and volunteers as possible this year.

Driving stops for 2023.                                30th October 2023.
Our committee has agreed that the wet weather has finally beaten us, the ground conditions are now unsafe, and that all driving must stop for 2023.
Please remember that our Christmas Dinner is at the The Yew Tree Inn on the 7th December 2023 and we hope to see you all there.
A huge thank you to our hard working committee who have worked so hard to provide us all with such an amazing year’s driving.
Stop Press.                                                                  25th October 2023.
Our hard working secretary is delighted to tell all our members that at the RDA South East Region Conference our Kipling Group received two significant awards.
Pony of the Year: Kipling’s “Prince” more formally known as ‘Bushmere Prince of Orange’. 
Long Service Award: Kipling coach Val Eyres received her Emerald Award for 35 years service to RDA. (In all honesty, we don’t think she looks old enough.)
Para World Championships.            23-27th Aug 2023.
(Please see our Gallery page for pictures of Tracey in action)
Many congratulations to Kipling Coach Tracey Spencer who has been selected to represent Great Britain at the Para World Championships at Exloo in the Netherlands.  She will be driving her pony Bill, and everyone at Kipling is so proud of her achievement in being selected. We wish Tracey and the whole of Team GB the very best of luck. 
Tracey tells us that she is looking for a little help via CrowdFunding, and this is her link:
Bradbourne – Le Trek.                           5th June 2023.
(Please see our Gallery page for photos of the day.)
Jo writes:
What a wonderful time we had at Bradbourne today! Thank you to
everyone who came to help and brought ponies/carriages. Our drivers
had a lovely time.
Here are the results:-
Ashley joint 2nd
Le Trec- Novice Group A
Amanda joint 2nd
Ella and Zoe joint 4th
Noah 5th
Le Trec Novice Group B
Gary 1st
Graeme 5th
Overall Team result
Kipling 5th
Thank you again, look forward to seeing you next week.


Important Kipling County Group changes (Update 10th May at 9.08pm):-
Due to difficulties faced by both our Monday and Thursday groups, the committee has decided that for the time being we will no longer drive on Mondays and that both groups will drive on alternate Thursdays until further notice. This will hopefully ensure that all drivers drive as much as possible in a safe environment with more helpers and ponies available. To even out the numbers of drivers each week, the groups will be as follows:-
Group A   Start date Thursday 25th May 2023 and then fortnightly- 8/6/23, 22/6/23, 6/7/23 and so on
Noah Bryan
Ella Crouch
Timothy Brown
Graeme Chandler
Timothy Cook
Amelia Dubois Whittaker
Ashley Rich
Susie Turner
Amanda Waterfield
Zoe Wilson
Gary Hazell
Group B  Start date Thursday 18th May 2023 and then fortnightly- 1/6/23, 15/6/23, 29/6/23 and so on 
Alex Seitz
Nichola Hooper
Sarah Himpson

Josie Cyster
Gay Williams
Bridget Mutter (Biddie)
Duncan MacKinnon
Tracey Smith
Victoria Morgan
Caroline Taylor
Rory Bacon
Shannon Grice

Due to her circumstances, Linda Clark will join either group when she is able. 


Our Field is ready at Chalvington.                  24th April 2023.

Our committee is delighted to tell us that a large group of drivers and volunteers met up for a ‘Work Morning’ at Chalvington.  The loo has been cleaned and made ready, arena is set up, all the obstacles have been taken out of storage and re-built, the cones have been set out ready, the water is back on, and the tea, coffee and biscuits tested, and taste lovely.

Our committee is now working to resolve the issue over ponies since the sad loss of Moccasin earlier this year. Please watch the ‘Diary’ page for updates regarding driving.


Training Day with Sara Howe.                    19th April 2023.


Annual General Meeting.                           27th March 2023.

Today marked the start of our new Carriage Driving Season, and what better way to start than with our AGM held at the Lucas Memorial Hall in Waldron.  The tea, coffee, biscuits and cakes were produced as if by magic from the kitchen by Sue. The meeting was watched over by our Founder Member and President, Jan McSweeney, who never seems to age.

Our Group Managing Director and Chairman, Jeni Longley, skilfully navigated the meeting through the Legal Formalities to a positive conclusion. Our Treasurer, Debbie Smith, described how at a time when some RDA Groups found it impossible to continue, our Committee had worked tirelessly to find ways to ensure that Kipling County both survives and thrives. Our incredibly hard working and enthusiastic Secretary, Joanne McNicol, had worked constantly throughout the winter to keep everyone fully up to date with new information and legal changes and for that we are all very grateful.

The AGM specifically thanked Val Eyres and Sheila Petitpierre for their knowledge, long service, and devotion to the ponies that are so essential to the success of Kipling County.

The Meeting fell silent when we learned that yesterday, 26th March, Tracey Spencer had organised a “Musical Quiz Night” by the kindness of the Bear Inn at Burwash. The evening was hosted by Steve Bennett and Brad Lambert. We learned that it was the Inn’s largest quiz night ever with 24 teams entering. Tracey Spencer was able to tell us that event had raised £780.00 for Kipling County’s members which is an amazing testament to her organising skills. 

A particularly nice part of our AGM was the presentation of awards to our incredibly talented members. As is normal, some winners could attend and some were not able to. 

These are the winners who were able to attend our AGM:                                                          For “Cones”: Shannon, for “Special Achievement” Biddy, for “Open Driver”: Josie, for “Determination” Gay, and the “Helper’s Trophy” Zena.

Gay, Josie, Shannon, Biddy and Zena with their awards.


Quiz Night.                                                  26th March 2023.

On Sunday, 26th March, Tracey Spencer organised a “Musical Quiz Night” through the kindness of the Bear Inn at Burwash. The evening was hosted by Steve Bennett and Brad Lambert. We learned that it was the Bear Inn’s largest quiz night ever, with 24 teams taking part, and Tracey Spencer was able to tell us that event had raised £780.00 for Kipling County’s members. This was an incredible piece of work by Tracey Spencer, and her friends, and Kipling County are rightly proud that she is a member of our Group.


Heidi.                                         6th March 2023.

Jo, our Secretary has received some very sad news regarding her good friend Heidi, a Monday group member.   We will all remember that his lovely smiling lady who only joined us last year, helped with the register and took driving fees on behalf of Jo, sadly lost her two year battle with cancer.

Jo tells us that Heidi absolutely loved her Monday mornings with Kipling.  It gave her something to look forward to and she loved the people she met, the horses, and watching the driving.  She was so looking forward to being even more involved this year, but sadly that wasn’t to be. 

Jo thanks everyone for making Heidi so welcome and bringing her joy.


Hat Policy Change.                                       3rd January 2023.

The RDA have revised their hat standard policy, and certain hats that were previously allowed no longer meet the required safety standards. In order to be covered by RDA  insurance disabled drivers, coaches and helpers must have hats that meet the following revised safety standards:-

• British PAS 015: 2011 provided they are BSI Kitemarked or Inspec IC
Marked. Note: PAS 015: 1998 will no longer be acceptable after 31 December 2022
• European VG1 provided it is BSI Kitemarked or Inspec IC marked
• EN1384-2017 provided it has another accepted standard from this list which is BSI Kitemarked
or Inspec IC marked
• American ASTM F1163: 2004a or 04a onwards provided they are SEI marked
– SNELL E2016 Note: SNELL E2001 will no longer be acceptable after 31
December 2022
This is the PDF of RDA’s original document:-

RDA Hat and Body Protector Rules_Revised 11th October 2022


Christmas Day.                                       25th December 2022.

Jo our hard working secretary has just received this greeting from ‘RDA Head Office’

    (Photo courtesy of Colin Burgess)

To all RDA Colleagues,

Thank you for your hard work, dedication, kindness and friendship.

With very best wishes for a joyous Christmas and a healthy, peaceful New Year.

From the South East Region Team


 Christmas Lunch.                                      8th December 2022.


It was a lovely to meet up with all our friends from the Monday & Thursday groups of Kipling County Carriage Driving Groups for our annual Christmas Lunch at the Bear Hotel in Burwash. It may have been chilly outside, but it was really warm inside. We were joined by our President Jan McSweeney, retired Secretary Hanka Davey, retired Treasurer Peter Horwood (who continues working away for us in the background), Sally & Stewart Scott (they’ve been married three years and look so happy together), and our Landlord Nick Clutton and his wife (who support us in so many different ways throughout the year), and a huge thank you to Sue O’Dell who organised our lunch so well!

Thank you also to all those who continue to make Kipling County such a friendly place to belong, and our committee wishes everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


October 2022. 

After some difficult conversations, our committee has regretfully decided that driving must now end for the season, and they apologise for the late notice. The weather is continuing to be wet, the gateway to the field is becoming waterlogged and difficult to manoeuvre through, and there are concerns that the pavilion decking and loo are too slippy for our members, even in spite of adding non slip flooring. A couple of us will meet up tomorrow and clear the cones and obstacles ready for next year.

Please remember that we will meet up on Thursday 8th December for our Christmas lunch.


Christmas Lunch.                                    8th December 2022.

Our secretary is delighted to tell us all that our Christmas Lunch is now booked for everyone from our Monday & Thursday Groups.

Venue: The Bear Inn, High Street, Burwash TN19 7ET.                                                           Time: 12 noon for 12:30pm

If you would like to attend, please bring payment in a sealed envelope with your name and menu choices written on it to a driving session as soon as possible. Cheques should be made payable to Kipling County Carriage Driving Group. Alternatively, please send your payment and menu choices to Sue O’Dell, Easter Cottage, New Pond Hill, Cross in Hand, Heathfield, East Sussex, TN21 0LY. 
At the Christmas lunch we will have our usual Christmas raffle and Christmas Jumper Competition. Any donations for the raffle will be greatly appreciated. Please bring them along to a driving session if possible, or if not, on the day. Thank you.  
Any queries regarding the above please contact our Christmas Organiser, Sue O’Dell on 07909 541405 or email


Many Congratulations to Fiona.                 21st October 2022.                    

At the RDA South East Region Conference we were all delighted to hear that Kipling Coach Fiona received a Silver Award for her 25 years Long Service to Riding for the Disabled.

We are all so proud of this lovely lady who has done so much for Kipling over the years, and always attends our meetings with the biggest smile possible. Well done from all of us!

(In the photo above she is supported by Val on the left and by Jo on the right.)


Funeral Service for HM Queen Elizabeth II.  19th Sept 2022

Our RDA Head Office recommends that all RDA Carriage Driving should be halted on Monday 19th September 2022 to allow members the time to reflect on the life of our Late Queen in each of our own ways. Our Committee supports that recommendation, and so there will be no driving on that day.


HM Queen Elizabeth II.       Thursday 8th September 2022.

At her Coronation on 2nd June 1953 our sovereign HM Queen Elizabeth II dedicated her life to the service of our Nation & the Commonwealth. She kept that promise throughout her reign, and her loss today will be deeply felt by many people around the world.

Our RDA Group would like to pay respect to all her achievements, express our thanks for her lifetime of service to others, and join in with the National mourning that countless others will feel.

Thank you ma’am, for your sense of duty, and for your leadership. We will miss you.


Meeting Cancelled.             Thursday 8th September 2022.

We are very sorry, but due to overnight thunderstorms continuing throughout the day it is not safe to drive today.

We are very sorry for any inconvenience caused.                 Thur 8th Sept 07.30am.


Morning Competition at Chalvington.        30th June 2022.

After some overnight rain it turned into a lovely warm morning, and Val thought it a perfect day to run a little cones competition for our amazing members from Baronsmede. Our AB Whips for the day were Val & Fiona, and the ponies were the lovely Prince & Moccasin.

The rules were simple, with members subdivided into 3 Classes depending on their experience, etc., with rosettes and applause for the results. Twice around the snaking course of cones, not knocking any balls down, and taking care to provide balanced timing for each run.

After much laughter the results were as follows:

Class 1  –  1st: Amanda    2nd: Zoe    3rd: Gary    4th: Ella.

Class 2 – 1st: Amelia    2nd: Susie    3rd: Timmy C    4th: Noah    5th Graeme.

Class 3 – 1st: Timmy B     2nd: Ashley     3rd: Alex     4th: Nicola.


Winkle Jubilee Fun with Herons Ghyll.   9th June 2022.                    

We were delighted to be invited to the ‘Winkle Jubilee Fun Event organised by our good friends at Herons Ghyll. After the recent awful weather we were lucky that the weather was warm, the sun shone, and the lightest breeze kept us all cool.

Everyone had a great day, where all the drivers navigated the obstacle course with great skill dressed in Red, White & Blue colours and wearing crowns in honour of our Queen in her 70th Jubilee Year.  In addition to our individual picnics, our hosts generously passed out cakes, biscuits, and tea & coffee.

Rosettes were handed out, and our hosts proposed a toast and three cheers to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Our chairman responded with three cheers for Herons Ghyll. The raffle was called with an amazing bumper bundle of prizes, and much talking and laughter took place.

All too soon, the day came to an end, and after a wonderful time we slowly made our way home very happy. Thank you for all your hard work, Herons Ghyll RDA !!!

(Please see our “Kipling Gallery” page for photos of the great day with Herons Ghyll.)


Kipling County AGM.                                   28th March 2022.

After two long years it’s the start of another year’s Kipling County Carriage Driving, and we’d love everyone to join us, discuss all our hopes and concerns for the future, formalise our committee, understand our accounts, and most important of all, have a natter with friends.

Our AGM will be held at 10.o0am on Monday 28th March 2022, at The Lucas Memorial Hall, The Street, Waldron, Heathfield, TN21 0RB. (It is one

SatNav Co-Ords: 50.95371, 0.20174

Please note that covid infections are on the rise again, and our committee feel it a wise precaution to continue to look after one another by wearing face coverings throughout the AGM, sit with social distancing in mind, and leave the hall windows and doors open.

Please find below the minutes of our last Kipling AGM held on 15th November 2021, in a PDF format that anyone can read or print :-

Kipling AGM Minutes 15_11_2021

This date aligns us with all the previous Spring Meetings, and is a great reminder of the start of our driving New Year.


Happy New Year.                                   January 2022.

May we wish everyone at Kipling a very Happy New Year throughout 2022.

We held a superb Christmas Lunch at the Yew Tree Inn, and can be proud of each and every one of us, for making certain that we all remained healthy.  Thank you all!

The days are lengthening, daffodil bulbs are starting to push their way through the soil into the sunlight, and our committee is already initiating and discussing what our members might like in this coming year.  It’s not too long before another year’s Carriage Driving at Chalvington!


Merry Christmas.                          24th December 2021.


Christmas Lunch Photos. 

To see the Christmas Lunch photos, please either click the link below or visit  our ‘Gallery’ page:


Christmas Lunch Update.            9th December 2021.

(1) As a bit of fun, our committee is holding a competition for the “Best Christmas Jumper” and the lucky winner will receive an RDA rosette.

(2) In addition to Kipling County’s usual ‘Track & Trace’ system our committee is asking politely for everyone to help protect each other from the possibility of covid infection at our Christmas Lunch on 9th December. It is felt sensible for all attendees to complete their own “Lateral Flow Test” before attending, in exactly the same way that other responsible organisations do.

We recognise that some members may not be able to be tested, and therefore we will not be asking for proof of that negative test. 

We can confirm that Baronsmede test themselves regularly, and will continue to do so in advance of our lunch.  They ask as a matter of courtesy that if anyone displays symptoms, or tests positive, then they should not attend please.

We are fortunate in that we have the Yew Tree Inn conservatory exclusively to ourselves.

(Test kits are easily available free of charge, either through NHS online, or by dialling 119.)


Christmas Lunch.                                   9th December 2021.

Our Christmas Lunch is now booked for Thursday 9th December, and the explanatory notes below are courtesy of Jo, our Secretary.

Venue:  Yew Tree Inn, Chalvington Road, Chalvington, BN27 3TB

Time: 12.00 noon for 12.30pm

Menu & Payment Options:

If you would like to attend please bring either the full payment for your choice of meal, or a £10 deposit, in a sealed envelope with your name and menu choice written on it to our AGM on 15th November 2021. Cheques should be made payable to Kipling County Carriage Driving Group. If you are unable to attend the AGM, then please send your payment and choice of menu to Alison Reilly, Longshaw Farm, Dean Lane, Waldron, East Sussex, TN21 0PN as soon as possible. If you pay a deposit, full payment is required by 1st December 2021 as we need to confirm numbers and menu choice 1 week before the meal.

At the Christmas lunch we will be raffling a Christmas Hamper. Any donations for the hamper will be greatly appreciated. Please bring them along to the AGM. eg- mince pies, crackers (edible and pulling), small bottle of wine, Xmas pud, shortbread, chocolates, selection box, or anything else Christmassy! 

Any queries regarding the above please contact our Christmas organiser, Alison Reilly, telephone 01435 813429/ 07740 512760. Email

(Please note that Alison’s email address is spelt with a double letter ‘L’.)


Annual General Meeting.                      15th November 2021.

Our AGM was held at 10.30am on Monday 15th November 2019, at The Lucas Memorial Hall, The Street, Waldron, Heathfield, TN21 0RB, and it was a full house of socially distanced members who sat down.

We were honoured by the attendance of our President, Jan McSweeney, who made a short address about the origins of Kipling, its past successes, and how delighted she was to see it continuing to grow so successfully today. Jeni, our chairman, talked about the last two years during the pandemic and described her vision for our group’s future. Val told us of her memories of past ponies, her many years in RDA, and her recent award from Princess Anne the Princess Royal. Hanka, our amazing secretary for so many years, was presented with a gift on her recent retirement, and received a huge round of applause.

Josie Cyster thanked the group on behalf of everyone for continuing to support and help the driving aspirations of all of our members, and also received a round of applause. Well said Josie!

The actual meeting consisted of all the usual items, such as past minutes, treasurer’s report, election of officers, and there was much good natured discussion on all sorts of topics.

We were all reminded that should you purchase item though Amazon, then please consider using SmileAmazon, where the items are identical to Amazon, but that Kipling County benefits from a donation from Amazon, and at no cost to any of us.

We enjoyed tea, coffee, biscuits, and also some mince pies.  After the official meeting old and new friends stayed on to chat.

John forgot his camera, and is grateful to Jo for the photo below, albeit after most people had left to return home. John says he is sorry and that it won’t happen again….until the next time.


URGENT UPDATE.                      26th October 2021.

Our committee regrets that this coming Thursday 28th October 2021 will be Kipling County’s last driving day for this year. This means that regretfully, our Monday Group have already held their last driving day for 2021.  The reason is that the relentless rain is steadily water logging our lovely field, making it too difficult for our vehicles to park.

Our Landlord has kindly agreed that everyone attending on Thursday 28th October should park on his hard standing at Mount Pleasant Farm, and there will be a parking attendant to direct vehicles. The only exception will be for Baronsmede disability vehicles who will ferry their members down the road to our field, and return to park at the same hardstanding. We also hope to have another car to ferry those that cannot walk, but please remember your face masks to protect the driver.

Postcode for Mount Pleasant Farm – BN27 3SY

SatNav Co-ordinates for Mount Pleasant Farm =   50.87199, 0.17824


Advance Notice – Thursday Members.    Thur 21st Oct 2021

We are very sorry, but we are unable to hold driving on Thursday 21st October (for this one day only).  The reason is that in order to look after our ponies health we have a longstanding vet’s appointment that must not be broken.

This does not affect any other day’s driving which will go ahead as normal.


Monday Members are Driving Again!!!             18th Oct 2021

Today it was the turn of our Monday members to be back driving again. We were so lucky with the weather as it was dry all morning whilst we were out in the field and rained afterwards when we were all safely back home again.  It was especially nice to see two new members who drove with us for the very first time, and a guest who was seeing whether driving is for him.

‘Newby’ Tracey drives for her 1st time with Jo.    Jay drives Alison, others in background.


We’re Driving Again!!!                                       14th Oct 2021

The sun shone, it was warm, it was dry with a light breeze, and following approval from our RDA Governing Body our amazing Thursday members are back driving and having fun again. Face coverings were worn when on carriages, and also when unrelated members were closer than 2 metres. We sanitised carriages at the start & finish of the session, carriages and harnesses between change of drivers, and followed the guidance regarding weight loadings.

Everyone from Baronsmede drove, and here’s a few photos to remind us of the day:


Ashley takes Val for a drive.                           Baronsmede’s Sine ensures all is fine with Tim.

Susie takes Sheila for a drive.                             Ella is away first and takes Debbie for a drive.


Stop Press – Driving Restart Approved.      11th Oct 2021

Our committee has this evening just been granted permission to restart carriage driving by our RDA Governing Body.  We are indebted to those members at Head Office who worked behind the scenes, provided support and advice, and helped Kipling County correctly complete ‘The Road to Restart’ in an appropriately thorough manner.

We must thank our Chair, Jeni Longley, for leading our committee forward in a way that was professionally correct, and also remember how hard Val Eyres worked to make it happen.

Please remember, that we must continue to protect each other by respecting the new signs, wear face coverings when we sit on carriages or are close to each other, and regularly sanitise when members transfer.  Our committee has provided plenty of sanitising liquid in all the correct places, and has free face coverings should anyone forget theirs.

Let’s get driving again!!!


Two Open Days.                       30th Sept 2021 & 4th October.

Recently, our carriages and hoist were stripped, serviced, and tested to ensure they were in first class condition after their two years of enforced inactivity due to the pandemic.

On 30th September we held our first Thursday members and volunteers ‘Open Day’ on the road to restarting carriage driving again, and whilst we are not yet approved too drive, members were allowed to meet under social distancing rules. Our new signage was tested for correctness, and our outfits and harnesses were sanitised throughout the morning to conform with RDA Guidelines. It was lovely to see everyone happily joining in with their ongoing training and paperwork after being apart for such a long time.

Ponies and carriages were ‘put to’ in order to ensure that the harnesses still fitted and that our various outfits remained correct. The weather was reasonable given the time of year, everyone enjoyed their first day back at Chalvington.

   Some of our Baronsmede Thursday Group, delighted to be back. (Photos courtesy of Jo.)

On 4th October we held our first Monday members and volunteers ‘Open Day’ and it was wonderful to see people starting to return to this group again after two long years. We continued the paperwork, ongoing training, and sanitising for carriages and harnesses. The outstanding outfits were tested to ensure they remained correct, and our weight loading charts were updated. It was lovely to meet two prospective new members who are both keen to drive as soon as we are permitted.

                Who are these Committee Members hidden behind face coverings?

     Some are testing out in the field, others check harnesses, whilst others simply relax.


Road to Restart.                       30th Sept 2021 & 4th October.

We are delighted to tell the group that we have RDA Governing Body Sign Off to hold two ‘Open Days’ that correspond to the previous two driving days. The first is on Thursday 30th September @ 10.30am, and the second is on Monday 4th October @ 10.30am. Members are welcome to join us on either (or both days) regardless of which day they previously chose. Although they are not true driving days, our ponies and carriages will be present in order to complete legal technicalities around weights and other things.

Even better, the RDA Governing Body have approved the use of our large kitchen area for indoor seating on condition the doors and ventilation windows are left open for good air circulation. Please  continue to remember the social distancing advice of “Hands, Face, Space” to keep us all safe. We are also permitted to provide hot drinks, but please bring your own picnic (including your own cutlery and napkins). Our committee have already installed pedal operated bins for rubbish, and have also installed sanitising liquid in the kitchen and toilet.

Both days will be treated as ‘Get Togethers’ and be managed slightly differently under the latest Covid rules. There will be a little Covid training for Helpers & Coaches (AB Whips) and some necessary paperwork that will help enable Kipling County to get back to full driving. There will be Covid signage regarding parking areas (for Helpers, Disabled @ Horse Boxes), social distancing, hand washing & sanitisation notices, and a few buildings will be out of bounds. Please respect each other and follow  these new signs aimed at keeping us all safe.

When we start driving proper, all carriages, tack, and equipment will be fully sanitised at the start & finish of each session, and as necessary between each driver.

We hope you are as excited as the committee , and we are indebted to our RDA Governing Body who have done so much to guide us on ‘The Road to Restart’.


Passing of Alan.                                                 23rd July 2021.

Some time ago it was decided that it was right to provide Alan with a well deserved retirement following all his years of success with Kipling County.

Two of our members took it upon themselves to provide him with all the comforts he deserved, love, kindness, board & lodging, treats, warm clothing, and all the medical care he occasionally needed. He couldn’t have been better looked after in his twilight years.

Towards the end he became ever more poorly, and we are sad to say, that he finally passed away, very peacefully, aged 26. We owe a warm debt of gratitude to the kindness of those two very special ladies and their care of him.

Jay drives Alan, sat beside Alison, at The Oaks Driving Club Show on 12th August 2018.


Happy New Year.                                      18th January 2021.

A very Happy New Year to everyone at Kipling County Carriage Driving. Please continue to follow the guidelines and do our level best to ‘Stay Home, Protect the NHS, and Save Lives’. Should any of us be offered a vaccine in line with the agreed JCVI rules, please take it.

It has been a long time since we last had fun at Chalvington, but at last, thanks to the miracle of science, we can see end end to this  virus.

Our website will be updated for 2021, when our Committee feels it is the right thing to do.

PS: STOP PRESS: Val has a new mobile number. It is 07485-201223.


Merry Christmas.                                      23rd December 2020.

Our Committee wishes all of our Kipling County members, our AB Whips and our volunteers a very healthy and Happy Christmas. We look forward to seeing everyone back at Chalvington, doing what we do best, just as soon as it is safe to do so.

Our RDA South East Region Team has sent a card to everyone, and it’s attached below:


Pavilion Treated with Preservative.              8th August 2020.

Our Committee decided that it was time to add some preservative to better protect our lovely new pavilion, and nominated two male volunteers for the task. The two men drove to Chalvington in their own cars to maintain ‘Social Distancing’ rules and after a few trips it was done.

The more proactive of the two men brought his drill and made a more secure and safer route for the gas bottle cable, so that’s another little job completed. Thank you Peter!

Hanka & Val visited on the last day to ensure the men were not slacking, and to add some additional constructive criticism, which they did.

All we want is for this Pandemic to go away, so that our fantastic members can get back to doing what they love best, Carriage Driving with Kipling County!


Message from Buckingham Palace.                 4th June 2020.

Our Secretary has just received the following message from Princess Anne, the Princess Royal sent to all RDA Groups.

Her Royal Highness writes to thank everyone involved in RDA, particularly in Volunteers Week, and at times like this.  Please click the image below below to read her letter:-


Coronavirus Pandemic.                              17th March 2020.

We will all have seen or heard our our Government’s guidelines on how to protect the health of our nation from this brand new disease, last outlined on 16th March 2020, and supported by the Chief Medical Officer for England & Chief Scientific Advisor.

Our committee cares deeply about Kipling County Carriage Driving Group, its members, its whips and our fantastic volunteers. We have spent much time on the groups behalf, trying to confirm “The Right Thing to Do” for us all.

This morning, we came to the conclusion that it is right to temporarily cease driving and defer our AGM until later in the year when it is safe to do so.

With the good health of everyone in mind, we regret that our AGM is now cancelled, and that all driving meetings are postponed until our Government feels it safe to resume normal activities again.

Please take hand washing really seriously, continue to follow our Government’s latest advice, and we look forward to seeing everyone as soon as possible again. 

UPDATE: Midday 17th March 2002. RDA UK have confirmed that they assume most, if not all RDA Group activity will have to cease. It’s reassuring to know that our Committee has taken the right decision.


Para Driving World Championships.    24th February 2020.

 What a great start to the new year’s programme! Joanne McNicol provided an illustrated talk about her early life, followed her years competing within RDA, and leading up to her success as a member of the British Team in the 2019 Para Driving World Championships  held in the Netherlands. A huge number of our members braved the appalling weather and enjoyed the talk, slideshow, tea, coffee and biscuits, and we were delighted to be joined by friends from our neighbouring RDA Group Heron’s Ghyll.


Jo taking questions after her talk.                 Members & Guests enthralled by the slideshow.

After the slideshow and videos, Hilary Hill from Herons Ghyll presented Alison Reilly with the Cameo Cup on behalf of The Oaks Carriage Driving Group, which was a lovely surprise.

Alison receives the Cameo Cup from Hilary Hill.


It’s Official, Sally and Stewart are married.      January 2020

We are absolutely delighted to be able to tell all of our members that Sally Scott and Stewart French have married!     Rumour also tells us that the best man was Nero!

We wish them both a long & happy life together.


Happy New Year to Kipling County.        4th January 2020

A very Happy New Year to all of our amazing drivers, whips and volunteers!!!  We look forward to seeing everyone back at Chalvington just as soon as the weather warms a little.

 Photo by Ivan Bertona of Unsplash.

In late December, our drivers from Baronsmede put on a superb Christmas Show at “The Old Haybarn” in Crowborough. Their volunteers had put in a lot of hard work supplying all the various costumes, and the players had worked tirelessly throughout their rehearsals. The audience were delighted, and felt it was a great start to their Christmas. Well done to everyone at Baronsmede!!!


Email from RDA’s Ed Bracher.               13th December 2019

Dear Groups, Regional and County roles,

As 2019 draws to a close I would like to say THANK YOU for everything you have done for RDA this year.

This year has been extra special, as we celebrated 50 years enriching lives through horses. It has been inspiring to see how everyone has got behind the 50th Anniversary and celebrated in their own way. Across the UK 3,000 gold rosettes have been handed out, there have been parties and fun rides and of course – plenty of cake. We are also lucky that a lot of our celebrations have been shared across the media, raising awareness of our work like never before.

I am also delighted to share with you the initial results of this year’s annual return, which have revealed that, in total, we delivered over 420,000 rides and drives – an increase of 8,500 on last year. This is on top of your 50th celebrations, as well as many of you embarking on the new coaching pathway, taking part in training and increasing the range of activities your group offers. Thank you for achieving so much, for your commitment, your energy and enthusiasm.

From all of us here at RDA National Office – Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!


Val Eyres presented to Princess Anne – 30th November ’19

(See below for update from Lindsay Correa dated 13th December 2019)

What a fantastic achievement by Val, our hard working Organiser !

On Friday 30th November, Val (escorted by Peter Horwood) was invited to the prestigious Saddler’s Hall in London by the RDA where she was presented with the “Dudley-Smith Award” by The Princess Royal, Princess Anne. This award is to acknowledge a volunteer who has made an important contribution to RDA Carriage Driving through sheer hard work.

This is a wonderful recognition of all that Val has done for Kipling since January 2018, when she stood up (in spite of her own problems) and helped our Group through an incredibly difficult time.

Val……… This is a well deserved honour, and on behalf of our Members, AB Whips, Volunteers and Committee, we are proud of you !!!

Peter has written a moving description of her day (including the difficult journey home caused by someone significantly less honourable).

Please click the link below to read Peter’s letter :-

Vals trip to London

STOP PRESS:                                                                                                   13th December 2019.

Lindsay Correa has kindly sent an email telling us that superb photos of our Val being presented to The Princes Royal, HRH Princes Anne, are now available to be downloaded free of charge, and saved as a lovely memory or used on RDA Websites and RDA Social Media. (There are many other RDA photos from the presentation on the same day …… See how many friends we can spot !)

The link is

An example from the official RDA photos page.


Quick Update for Christmas Dinner!

Alison Reilly wishes everyone to know that she has obtained a new supply of woolly hats and caps and will have them on sale at our Christmas Dinner this coming Monday 9th December.

They are priced at £7 each or 2 for £12 and would make great Christmas presents!

(See below Christmas dinner full details.)


Christmas Dinner – Monday 9th December 2019.

It’s time for our Christmas Dinner for all of our Monday & Thursday members!          Venue: Wellhurst Golf & Country Club, North St, Hellingly, Hailsham, BN27 4EE.                    SatNav Co-ords: 50.90868, 0.24794                                                                                                    Time: 12.00 for 12.30 start.                                                                                                                    Cost: £19.95 each.

IMPORTANT: The golf club needs each of our bookings confirmed, together with choice of menu and payment to Hanka by 26th November 2019 LATEST.                        

Hanka reminds us her address is 2 Downgate Cottage, Brightling Road, Dallington, Heathfield, TN21 9LL.


Kipling County Tack Sale – 19th October 2019.

Our Kipling County Tack Sale was a huge success, raising £829.70 net after all the costs were removed. There was some lively bidding and a friendly spirit throughout the whole evening which made it such fun, and a lot of bargains were bagged at amazingly low prices!

We are indebted to all our volunteers, who turned up early to help set up the tables and chairs, ran the auction, moved the items throughout the sale, organised the money, sold the delicious cakes and drinks, advertised the tack sale on our Kipling County FaceBook page, and handled all the other jobs necessary to make it such a success. We are especially indebted to Val Eyres who managed and numbered the donated items throughout the whole  year, and transported them to the event.

Most importantly of all, we are grateful to all the bidders who turned out on a cold, dark October evening, bid in such a friendly manner, and create a warm atmosphere indoors.


RDA 50th Anniversary & Le Trec – 10th October 2019.

What a fantastic day under a clear blue sky to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of RDA. Kipling County (Monday & Thursday Groups) were proud to celebrate this huge milestone with our good friends and neighbours, Herons Ghyll, who joined us for the Le Trec Funday. This event showed just how powerful the RDA is, and both our Groups are proud to be members.

We have never had so many horses, members, AB Whips and volunteers on the field at one time before, and a lovely atmosphere was created by everyone contributing so much to make the day such a success. There were ten elements in the Le Trec competition, and by completing each element members gained a letter, which finally spelled out KIPLING RDA. Because it was a Funday, every driver was helped to complete the full course and receive a 50th Anniversary Golden Rosette purchased from our RDA National Office. There were also additional fun awards for special moments, such as Linda destroying one of our cones!

In addition to the tea and coffee, there were vast amounts of cake, and the biggest raffle we have ever held, with prizes ranging from bottles to teddies, and chocolates to plants. Kipling County chairman, Jeni Longley, and Heron’s Ghyll Chairman, Doug Pochin, made some kind words on behalf of both our groups, asking if this friendly event might be repeated next year…… and why not!!!!

We are extremely grateful to Kipling’s Joanne McNicol & Alison Riley for organising the whole day, Jan McSweeney (our Founder Member & President)  for presenting the rosettes, and Mr & Mrs Clutton for the use of their field.

(Please see our “Kipling Gallery” page for photos of the day.)


Peter’s Golfing Day – 19th September 2019.

Every year Peter, our Treasurer, runs a Golfing Day as a fundraising event for Kipling County, and for his hard work we are hugely grateful. This year, Peter tells us that 24 of his golfing friends participated, mainly from the Crowborough Beacon Golf Club, enjoying a great day on the links under a bright blue sky.

This year, Peter’s event was held at London Beach Golf & Country Club and raised an astonishing £1,095, with London Beach contributing £840 from their Charity Scheme and the balance coming from additional entry fees and the raffle.

It’s quite astonishing that London Beach Golf & Country Club, in association with Savannah Charitable Trust, have donated over £1000,000.00 to local charities since 2009 when their scheme started.

The photo below, shows one of the Ladies Teams, either side of Peter receiving a cheque from Sue Brown (London Beaches Reception & Functions Manager).


Sands Farm Competition – 17th September 2019.

Our amazing drivers have done it again! It’s a fairly long drive to that elusive arena at Sands Farm for an early morning start, but eager to get going all our members and volunteers arrived bright and early.

The competitions were tough, as you would expect, but Ella, Amanda, Gary & Josie excelled themselves by driving incredibly well, and came home with some amazing awards! The results were:

Assisted Class: Amanda – 1st in Arena, 1st in Cones & Obstacles, and 1st Overall.

Assisted Class: Josie – 2nd in Arena, 2nd in Cones & Obstacles, and 2nd Overall.

Novice Class: Ella – 4th in Arena and 6th in Cones & Obstacles.

Novice Class: Gary – 7th in Obstacles.

Just look at the happiness and pride in our successful Kipling County drivers’s faces!

(Please see our “Kipling Gallery” page for photos of the driving competition.)


It’s Official, Sally & Stewart are engaged – August 2019.

We are absolutely delighted to be able to tell all of our members that Sally Scott and Stewart French became engaged last week!

Sally is proudly wearing her new ring and we wish them both a long & happy life together.


Herons Ghyll “One Day Event” – 29th August 2019.

Herons Ghyll did it again! A fabulous day at Whitesmith under a bright blue sky, a well organised and friendly event, chatting to friends, supporting competitors, and the tastiest cakes ever, washed down with coffee and tea.

We mustn’t forget all the hard work that went on behind the scenes by Herons Ghyll, setting out the courses, erecting marquees, judging, paperwork, and organising of awards. We are truly grateful, and Kipling Counties Jeni Longley raised three cheers to Herons Ghyll for all their efforts, saying we hope it isn’t too long before we can return the favour!

Our members all did us proud, with some great driving reflected in their amazing results! Rather than write all the successes, attached below is the Final Results board:-

Just as an example, here is Gary, proudly holding all his awards:-

(Please see our “Kipling Gallery” page for photos of the driving competition.)


Hadlow Carriage Driving Summer Show – 16th July 2019.

Cleaning & polishing day by our band of happy volunteers! (Photo from Josie Cyster.)

We had previously gathered the day before at Chalvington to help clean and polish the carriages & harnesses, and everything was ready for the following day’s competition.

As the sun blazed down we were saddened to hear that overnight Alan had suffered a reaction from chemicals the owners of a neighbouring field had used on their land, and it was felt best to rest him, putting all our hopes on the extra workload of Prince and Herbie.

We needn’t have worried as our superb members had a magnificent days driving in the gorgeous Hadlow countryside, and our horses excelled themselves. We are all very grateful  to the organisers and stewards who worked so hard to make the day such a success.

Awards ceremony in the blazing sunshine.  The results were as follows:-

Class 1 – Novice/Dressage:

Gay 2nd

Ella – Joint 6th

Graeme – Joint 6th

Class 2 – Condition & Turnout:

Josie – 1st

Ashley – 3rd

Class 3 – Assisted Whip:

Russell – 1st

Class 4 – Novice Whip:

Susie – 6th

Tim – 7th

Class 6 – Novice Cones:

Timmy – 1st

Graham – 4th

Josie – 6th

Group Winner:

At the end of the competition results, an Overall Group Winner was announced, being calculated by a formula that others may better understand and Kipling came a proud 3rd.

The Classes/Results were modified slightly as the results were announced, and WebSite Admin would be grateful for an update of any result errors noticed.

(Please see our “Kipling Gallery” page for photos of the driving competition.)


New Pavilion Grand Opening – 13th July 2019.

The Grand Opening of our new pavilion was huge success with many friends (both old and new) joining us for our Open Day. We were privileged to have the ribbon cut by our founder member, Jan McSweeney, who never seems to change and remains as youthful as ever, whilst the competition rosettes were presented by Nick Clutton’s grand-daughter Matilda.

The pavilion’s exterior verandah has already become a popular vantage point for viewing the driving competitions, and also a place to have a natter and make friends. It’s worth repeating that this amazing facility was made possible by a grant from the Tesco “Bags of Help Scheme”, substantial anonymous donations, and money from our own account. 

An excellent raffle was  managed by Peter & Elaine with a huge number of donated prizes raised £225, teas and coffee raised £56, and our good friends from Baronsmede donated £100.

Tea, coffee and various juices were handed out from the superbly appointed kitchen, and cakes were distributed from the marquee. There is a rumour that the disabled access loo is nice and roomy and has been properly baptised.

Our founder member, Jan McSweeney, cuts the ribbon.

Our new pavilion is open……..Let’s grab some tea and cakes to celebrate!

(Please see our “Kipling Gallery” page for photos of the driving competition.)


Bradbourne Qualifier – 5th June 2019.

What a fantastic day at Bradbourne Equestrian Centre, and we are so grateful for all that RDA Group’s hard work in making the event such a success! Whilst Bradbourne members managed the entire day, Lindsay Correa (SE Region Chair) & Miranda Purves (Regional Carriage Driving Representative) made themselves very busy by providing the hugely welcome tea, coffee, and biscuits or cakes……nipping outside at odd times to watch the excitement created by the competing RDA Groups.

Our Monday & Thursday members were represented by Amanda, Emma, Josie and Gary. Despite some understandable nerves they all worked really hard and achieved outstanding results, and we are very proud of them. The results were as follows:

Dressage (Assisted Class) = 1st – Josie, 2nd – Gary, 4th – Amanda.

Dressage (Novice Class) = 4th – Ella.

Cones & Obstacles (Assisted Class) = 1st – Josie, 2nd – Amanda, 3rd – Gary.

Cones & Obstacles (Novice Class) = 3rd Ella.

Overall (Assisted Class) = 1st – Josie, 2nd – Amanda, 3rd – Gary.

Overall (Novice Class) = 3rd Ella.

Being a Qualifier Competition  two drivers were selected for the National Championships at Hartpury, and we were proud to hear that Ella had been one of them. Well done Ella!

(Please see our “Kipling Gallery” page for photos of our competitors driving to success, including one of everyone loaded up with their rosettes and trophies.)


Wealden Tai Chi Club Donation – 23rd May 2019.
Photo courtesy of Doreen Cartwright:

Kipling County Carriage Driving has some wonderful friends!

The Wealden Tai Chi Club meets every Monday (12noon-1.00pm) & Friday (10-11.00am) at Ticehurst Village Hall. When they heard about our Monday & Thursday Groups they made a surprise visit and presented us with a cheque for £100.

The photo above shows our Thursday Group, lead by Gesina (in the red top) and organised by Val (hiding behind the sun glasses) receiving the cheque from Ashley (in the blue top).

(Please see our “Kipling Gallery” page for photos.)


Annual General Meeting – 15th April 2019.

Kipling has a new leader! By a unanimous vote, Jeni Longley was elected to the post of managing director, and we are lucky to have such a talented and experienced horsewoman running our group and leading us into 2019. We were privileged to be joined by Lindsay Correa (Chair – RDA South-East Region) and Miranda Purves (Regional Carriage Driving Representative – RDA South-East Region) who had driven around the M25 in rush hour to be with us!

The AGM continued with all the usual stuff, such as past minutes, treasurer’s report, election of officers, DBS, and there was much lively and good natured discussion about our brighter future. More importantly, hard won trophies were presented!


Jeni presents trophies to Ella, Mike and Beth. (Photos courtesy of Lindsay Correa.) The other awards (known to our committee) were not able to be presented at this time, but will follow later.

After the meeting, Hanka treated everyone present to her traditional home made tomato soup, together with bread rolls, and we are grateful for her kindness.

One sad note was that in spite of the hall custodian being reminded that both doors needed unlocking to facilitate wheelchair access……… they forgot. In spite of a phone call to Singapore we were unable to gain full wheelchair access and Peter had to take Linda home, via an Easter Egg shop. Everyone sends their apologies to Linda, and we must make sure that this never happens again.


New Pavilion – April 2019.

Our new pavilion has arrived, and it looks fabulous! It has a large room to keep our members cosy during poor weather, a loo, a veranda, running water, and soon will have a kitchen to make the food and drinks. This amazing facility means no more shivering in woolies and anoraks, and was made possible by a grant from the Tesco “Bags of Help Scheme”, substantial anonymous donations, and money from our own account. This superb pavilion was designed and erected by Newton & Frost of Horam, and we will shortly have an opening ceremony with lots of happy members for the photo shoot!



New Pavilion – February 2019.

Our committee is proud to announce to all our members that following our Award from the Tesco “Bags of Help” scheme, our new pavilion and toilet suite is currently being manufactured and will be ready for installation before the start of this years driving season.

Additionally, a fresh water system has already been dug and installed, well in advance of our pavilion.

It looks as if we are all going to be toasty and dry this season!


Annual Christmas Lunch – 10th December 2018.

We held our Annual Christmas Lunch at the The Bear Hotel in Burwash and it was lovely to see everyone from our Monday & Thursday Groups mixing and talking together.

The raffle was a great success and we must thank all those kind members who donated the prizes. The Cake Auction brought forward a flurry of ever increasing bids, and Peter raised a toast to “Absent Friends”, especially remembering the life of Janet Bettell-Higgins who helped create Kipling County all those years ago.

Judy Barber and her husband Chris have decided to move to West Wales, and after many years as our Chairman, she decided it was the right time to step down. As a momento of her calm leadership throughout that time, the group presented Judy with a pair of very smart carriage driving gloves, a framed photo of her leading us into competition at The Oaks, and a card signed by all our members. We will miss Judy’s kindness, laughter, nursing skills, and wish her well in her new life in Ceredigion. She tells us she will be watching our future progress via this website!

We have hugely indebted to Val who has worked tirelessly with a smile throughout the whole year to ensure that all our members from both the Monday & Thursday groups have been able to continue driving, and she was presented with a special gift as a way of saying “Thank You” from everyone. It is impossible to overstate her importance to Kipling County.

Our friendly group goes forward with increased optimism & renewed vigour, and we wish all of our amazing Members, our AB Whips and our Helpers a very Happy New Year!

(Please see our “Kipling Gallery” page for photos.)

South-East Indoor Comp @ Sands Farm – 25th Sept 2018.
Sands Farm Indoor Competition is a qualifier for Hartpury in Gloucestershire and this year we entered four members into both the Novice Whip and Assisted Whip classes. They were Ella, Noah, Amanda & Josie representing both our Monday and Thursday groups, and everyone agreed that they had a lovely day.

Sadly, because we were having so much fun we drove a little too fast and lost some points. After combining the points from Dressage, P&P and Cones, and Obstacles the the final positions were as follows:
1) Novice Whip
Ella: Placed 10th
Amanda: Placed 11th
2) Assisted Whip
Noah: Placed 3rd
Josie: Placed 5th

This year we didn’t qualify for Hartpury, but the competition had better watch out for us next year when we will definitely be aiming to qualify!
Tesco “Bags of Help” Result – 25th September 2018.
Peter, our treasurer, tells us that the results of Tesco “Bags of Help” are in, being based on the voting of the little blue discs by Tesco customers in Heathfield Express, Uckfield Express and Uckfield Superstore.

Kipling County Carriage Driving won the top award!!!

That means that of all the thousands of customers who popped those blue discs into their choice of boxes, they felt that we were the most deserving cause. Doesn’t that make everyone in our Monday & Thursday Groups be proud to be a member of such a great charity!

This Tesco award reminds us that the £4000 award should be used towards a “Pavilion for Storage” and I know that our committee will be actioning this once all the paperwork is fully authorised and the cheque finally presented.
Peter’s Golf Day – 20th September 2018.
Every year, Peter (our Treasurer and a keen golfer) single handedly organises a competition at “The London Hotel, Spa and Country Club” on behalf of Kipling County Carriage Driving.

He tells us that this year his golfing friends raised an incredible £809 for our charity, plus an additional £240 for the raffle. (Peter thanks everyone who donated items for his raffle.)

These amazing sums are an incredible achievement for which our whole group is grateful! We all know how expensive it is to fund our RDA Group and Peter’s efforts will make a huge difference towards next year’s driving costs. From all at Kipling County, thank you to Peter and his friends!

Sue Brown presents Peter with a cheque for £809 made out to Kipling County.
Friends of Baronsmede – 20th September 2018.
We are delighted that our members at Baronsmede continue to enjoy their driving at Kipling County on Thursdays. What’s even nicer is that as they get to know us better they are becoming ever more confident in their abilities, and it was lovely to see them cheering on their fellow members at Heron’s Ghyll recently. This teamwork, of course, is fostered by Zena who strongly encourages this.

On 20th September, we were surprised and thrilled to receive a donation of £500 from the Friends of Baronsmede which is really kind of them. That money will help make a huge difference to Kipling County, and we are very grateful.

Please see our “Kipling Gallery” page for photos.
Heron’s Ghyll One Day Event – 30th August 2018.
Whilst Joanne competed in the Para World Championships at Kronenberg in the Netherlands our Monday & Thursday Groups joined together to compete in the Heron’s Ghyll superbly organised One Day Event.

Our drivers basked in sunshine all day and everyone owe’s Heron’s Ghyll a debt of gratitude for setting up the field during the previous day’s torrential rain!

Kipling County had a superb day with some really great results:
Sally came 1st overall in Open Class.
Beth came 2nd overall in Open Class.
Josie came 3rd overall in Intermediate Class.
Garry came 2nd overall in Intermediate Class.
Graeme came 4th overall in Novice Class.
Sally was awarded Overall Champion of the day, and was presented with a trophy.
Beth was awarded Reserve Overall Champion of the day, and was presented with a cup.

This is the board showing everyone’s full results.

Please see our “Kipling Gallery” page for photos.
Para World Championships – 28th August 2018.
Our whole group wished Joanne McNicol the very best of good fortune (driving Texas with Andrea backstepping) in her first International Event at Kronenburg in the Netherlands and she did her family, Kipling County, and Great Britain proud, coming 5th (out of 9 of the best competitors from around the world).

We’ve highlighted Joanne at the opening ceremony, and bet it makes her blush! (Photo courtesy of Hoefnet.)

In the order the competitors drove, these are the results leading up to the Final Results:
2018_FEI World Championships Para Driving_Dressage
These are the Dressage results.

2018 FEI World Championships Para Driving_Marathon
These are the Marathon results.

2018 FEI World Championships Para Driving_Dressage & Marathon
These are the Dressage & Marathon combined results.

2018 FEI World Championships Para Driving_Cones
These are the Cones results.

2018 FEI World Championships Para Driving_Final Results
These are the overall Final Results.

Please see our “Kipling Gallery” page for photos.
The Oaks Driving Club Show. 12th August 2018.
Our drivers were amazing at The Oaks Driving Club Show held at Broad Farm, Hellingly. The event started perfectly on a lovely Summer day until lunch time when a few drops of rain fell, but nothing stopped our drivers who drove in the RDA Non Assisted, RDA Assisted, and Beginners & Novice events.
Our results were as follows:

RDA Dressage Non Assisted Class:
Jay – Came 2nd.
Ella – Came 3rd.

RDA Dressage Assisted Class:
Tim B – Came 3rd. This is a fantastic result for Tim who has never competed before!
Linda – Came 6th.

Beginners & Novice Class:
Here, our drivers were competing on equal terms against Able Bodied Drivers!
Amanda – Came 2nd.
Susie – Came 3rd. This is a fantastic result for Susie who has never competed before!

Please see our “Kipling Gallery” page for photos.
Joint Open Day – 4th August 2018.
Our Open Day was a fantastic success, and a huge number of people joined our Monday & Thursday groups under a bright blue sky, whilst Alan & Prince did us proud. In the marquee we were tempted by tea, coffee, sandwiches, and cakes, and a huge vote of thanks is due to so many people who worked so hard to make this happy event such a success.

We were joined by a special guest! Ben Chambers is a young lad who chose to sponsor Kipling County RDA Carriage Driving Group for a school project, which entailed creating a presentation all about us (starring Jay) and presenting it to his teacher and class. Then, having been short listed, Ben presented it again to his school’s Board of Governors & the rest of the staff. Everyone was delighted to hear that his presentation was so good that he came second and that the prize of £880 is to be donated to our charity. This is a superb achievement for Ben and we are all very proud of him. To demonstrate our gratitude he drove our pony and carriage around our obstacle courses……once he was kitted out with appropriate safety equipment!

As a bit of fun, Val decided to run a cones competition in three classes. Peter kindly acted as timekeeper & judge, and the following are the results:
Class 1
Linda: 1 cone down; 1 second penalty; came 1st.
Ashley: 0 cones down; 2 seconds penalty; came 2nd.
Tim B: 2 cones down; 5 seconds penalty; came 3rd.
Noah: 0 cones down; 7 seconds penalty; came 4th.

Class 2
Gay: 0 cones down; 0 seconds penalty; came 1st.
Graeme: 0 cones down; 3 seconds penalty; came 2nd.
Jay: 2 cones down; 4 seconds penalty; came 3rd.
Josie: 0 cones down; 7 seconds penalty; came 4th.

Class 3
Ella: 0 cones down; 0 seconds penalty; came 1st.
Amanda: 0 cones down; 3 seconds penalty; came 2nd.
Beth: 0 cones down; 4 seconds penalty; came 3rd.

Please see our “Kipling Gallery” page for photos.
Para World Championships (Selection) – 14-15th July 2018.

It’s Official!!!

We are absolutely delighted to announce that our Joanne McNicol competed at Blandings this weekend (driving Texas and with Andrea back stepping) and based on her driving throughout the rigorous selection process she has been chosen for the Individual Para World Championships on behalf of Great Britain.

This is a simply brilliant achievement for Jo who is one of the most modest ladies you could wish to meet, and we are all delighted for her.
Para World Championships (Selection) – 15-17th June 2018.
Our very own Joanne McNicol entered the Open National Driving Para Championships selection, held at The David Broome Event Centre, Cricklands near Newport in South Wales. She drove Texas in the Renee Schoop with Andrea Scott back-stepping.

After some great driving in Dressage, Marathon and Cones, she came a fantastic 4th overall. Kipling County can be proud of Jo as her skills are becoming better noticed at the highest levels, and we all wish her the best of good luck for more great driving at Sandringham, and then again at Blandings 14th-15th July 2018 when the British Team will be announced.

These are the full Para results of the Cricklands weekend as published on the British Carriage Driving website:
1st – Jamie Williams
2nd – Mick Ward
3rd – Joanne McNicol ***
4th – Emma Golding
5th – Sarah Baverstock
6th – Joyce Carrick
7th – Lucy Barclay

1st – Mick Ward
2nd – Jamie Williams
3rd – Emma Golding
4th – Joyce Carrick
5th – Joanne McNicol ***
6th – Lucy Barclay
7th – Sarah Baverstock

Dressage & Marathon (Combined):
1st – Mick Ward
2nd – Jamie Williams
3rd – Emma Golding
4th – Joanne McNichol ***
5th – Joyce Carrick
6th – Lucy Barclay
7th – Sarah Baverstock

1st – Emma Golding
2nd – Mick Ward
3rd – Sarah Baverstock
4th – Joanne McNichol ***
5th – Joyce Carrick
6th – Jamie Williams
7th – Lucy Barclay

1st – Mick Ward
2nd – Emma Golding
3rd – Jamie Williams
4th – Joanne McNicol ***
5th – Joyce Carrick
6th – Sarah Baverstock
7th – Lucy Barclay

Please see our “Kipling Gallery” page for photos.
SE Indoor Competition @ Bradbourne. 10th June 2018.
Our Monday and Thursday members can be very proud of their achievements at the South-East Indoor Competition at Bradbourne near Sevenoaks. Two of our members entered and after a superb day’s driving they came home with the top two rosettes.

Amanda (from our Thursday Group) came:
3rd in Dressage
1st in Cones
1st in Obstacles
Coming 1st overall.

Ella (from our Monday Group) came:
1st in Dressage
3rd in Cones
3rd in Obstacles
Coming 2nd overall.

Very well done to both our driving groups!
Thursday Group Cones Competition. 5th June 2018.
We had lovely sunny weather and as it was the last drive before the grass was cut again (and to take good care of our ponies) it was decided to clear away the main arena & obstacles and run a cones competition. Everyone drove really well, and after a lot of fun & laughter, these were the results (with a cup and rosettes presented by Hanka):-
1st – Tim.
Joint 2nd – Amanda & Gary.
3rd – Timmy.
4th – Graham.
5th – Russell.
Joint 6th – Ashley & Suzie.
Please see our “Kipling Gallery” page for the photos.
Kipling County – 100 Club.
We are pleased to advise that our 100 Club is now registered with Wealden DC.
Please see our 100 Club page that will shortly be updated with contact details:-
RDA Spring Newsletter. March 2018.
2018_04_Carriage Driving Newsletter March 2018
This is the Spring Carriage Driving Newsletter sent by RDA’s Sarah Hadley, who asks if it could be circulated within Kipling County.
Passing of Janet Bettell-Higgins. Monday 22nd January 2018.

It is with much sadness that we have to inform you all that this morning, Janet Bettell-Higgins passed away in her hospice at St Leonards. As a founder member of Kipling County she was held in the highest regard, a lady who devoted her life to ponies, RDA, and encouraging those with physical disabilities to achieve and exceed their expectations in carriage driving.

She was a kind lady, who is now re-united with her late husband Larry, and our thoughts are with her sons Darren & Stephen and their respective families.

Janet’s funeral was held at St Bartholomew’s Parish Church, Burwash on 19th February, and was followed by a private cremation service for family members only.