Driving Digest – Kent

I hope you are reading this with the sun shining and lots of plans to enjoy it with your equines.
We have had a lovely spring and start to summer, firstly our social Valentines drive to Chiddingstone Castle near Penshurst where nine turnouts led by Julie Elliott and the evergreen Duchess, trotted around the villages finishing in the castle grounds. Moira Evans and Rebel took home the bubbly (she wouldn’t share!) for the best turned out and all went home with a super rosette.
The following month, Carol Gillings ran a drive in the beautiful setting of Stelling Minnis. This side of our county has some lovely scenery and five turnouts took advantage of another lovely day, setting out at intervals so as to set their own pace.
We try to offer drives covering both east and west Kent as it is such a vast county but would love to hear from you if you know of a route you think would be suitable. It needs to have a large parking area and we try to avoid all busy roads but do contact us and we can check it out.
In April we ran our first Road Safety Awareness training with Sara Howe at Bradbourne Carriage Driving Centre in Sevenoaks and as ever Sara made it a really fun and informative session. Lots of helpful tips and areas to practice before our candidates took their test the following week and a huge well done to Tania Thompson, Debbie Tatton and Teresa Whitehead who all passed.
We will be running another test day in September so please contact Antonia if you would like to put your name down. With lots of interest and campaigning currently in the press and social media around horses on the roads, who knows what legislation may be passed in the future that will require all of us who have to use the highway to ride or drive to be deemed competent.
May 8th was our annual show at its new venue of The Hop Farm, Paddock Wood and what a day it was. I can honestly say I was overwhelmed by the generosity of our sponsors, the willingness of our helpers and most of all our wonderful competitors who all contributed to a truly amazing atmosphere. Of course it helped it was the brightest, driest day (ok bloomin’ hot with a breeze) and we had the fairest judges, nicest stewards and a scrumptious lunch (thanks to Julie) It was an enormous amount of hard work but well worth it to see so many happy people.
For those who weren’t there, please come next year and why not have a look at the photos to see what you missed, Melody Fisher Photography has some great shots from the day. For those of you were there, thank you for making a truly great day and see you next year. For those of you who gave up their time for many weeks beforehand, the days leading up to and on the show day itself, we salute you.
A big thank you must go to Dawn Postlethwaite, the events manager and her team at The Hop Farm as they were extremely helpful and supportive of our venture. As a thank you we will be sending a copy of the photograph taken at the end of the day featuring some of the winning turnouts in front of the iconic Oasthouses. The original photo is being inscribed and given to Her Majesty on behalf of Kent BDS as a birthday gift from our area.
Moving to this venue has not only enabled us to expand the show but to give us a platform to show the general public our sport and that is exactly what I think the area commissioners role is about and on that note…….there are guidelines given out when you become an AC that requests you should offer the post up every three years and this October I will have served my time.
If anyone would like to take over this role or become an assistant then I would love to hear from you but I am willing to continue if members wish. On this note I must also say a big thank you to Carol Gillings who stepped up to AAC when I wanted some help to cover the East side of Kent. Carol has been responsible for setting up the lovely drives in Stelling Minnis but has now decided to have a break from horses and pursue pastures new so if anyone else would like to be an assistant AC please do make contact.
If you have any ideas for events or social meets then please let any of us know as we are always open to suggestions. We were asked for a Christmas Social event and will be running our first one 10th December at Bradbourne Training Centre with a supper and a guest speaker to entertain you. Tickets will be available from Antonia from September.
In the meantime we hope to see you soon and happy driving.