Upcoming Events

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Ditchling Village Fair

18th June 2022

Come along and join us at the Fair.  We will have a stall of freshly baked breads & cakes and you can pin the tail on the horse.  Meet some of the team and we will have plenty of pictures of our fabulous four legged volunteers along with some of the equipment we use to help our riders.  We look forward to seeing you there.

Activities, Updates & News

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Project Horse - William our new addition

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Caroline Runs Brighton Half Marathon

A big thank you to Caroline, our newest Group Coach for running the Brighton half marathon on Sunday 27th February, a chilly but sunny day to raise funds for us. 

Well done!!

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Looking back at 2021

What a different year this last one has been, compared to 2020!  We have continued to maintain Covid precautions at the stables but rider attendance has been very good, despite the unavoidable self-isolation incidents, and we have had a very busy and exciting year. 


Caroline passed her instructor`s assessment with flying colours and became a Group Coach, so we now have five coaches in total. Our new young riders have come on in leaps and bounds and ride for the most part without a leader or side walker. 

Chestnuts has now become a livery yard and while we can still continue to hire the lovely Thomas, Flynn, Chief, Darcie and Basil from them, we will not be able to rely on them in future for new horses and ponies and we will need to purchase our own. Therefore, we have been focusing very much on fundraising and were pleased to receive £1,500 from Hall and Wood House Community Chest, over £800 from the Pycombe Golf Club, £500 from Sussex Community Foundation and Caroline bravely completed the Brighton Half Marathon and raised over £1000 for us.

We were very pleased and proud to welcome our new addition, William, a handsome piebald pony, to join the Mid Sussex RDA at Chestnuts. I am sure his cheeky nature will make him a great favourite with the children.  

I think we can look forward to another exciting year.

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Southern Water Retirement Club

Thank you to Robin Livett and Southern Water Retirement Club for their generous donation.

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Hall & Woodhouse Community Chest

Sincerest thanks to the Woodhouse family for their kind support.  We received a lovely cheque for £1,500!!

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Purple Fund at Sussex Community Foundation

Thank you to the Purple Fund at Sussex CommunityFoundation for your kind grant award of £500.

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Dyke Golf Club

Many thanks to Tony & the members of Dyke Golf Club for their generous donation.

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Looking back at 2020

The year 2020 has been very a disappointing and frustrating one for the Mid Sussex RDA, as it has been for so many people.  On 13th March we closed our group because of the threat of the Covid 19 virus.  During lockdown it was considered important that we should keep all our volunteers and coaches aware of what was happening with our group, so regular Zoom meetings were held.  These became times when our members could keep in touch and share news with each other.  We also held our  Plant Sale on line, which produced funds of over £900. 
Later in the year RDA headquarters set out the rules and regulations regarding Covid and keeping safe.  These were needed to be in place if we wanted to reopen our group.  Several volunteers were vulnerable or were self isolating and felt unable to return, but many were keen to get back to work with the horses and riders.  Intense training days were held at Chestnuts in order for us all to learn the new ways of working so that everybody, riders and volunteers, would be safe when we returned. 

We received a lot helpful information and encouragement from RDA Headquarters and on 4th August were able to reopen when we welcomed back a single  excited rider.  Social distancing meant that a rider needed to be independent and could only have one side walker, who had to be the carer, parent or in their bubble.  One piece of good news at this time was that Caroline, one of our volunteers, had decided to start her training to become a coach. 

We managed to get back seven delighted  riders before we received the depressing news in November of a new lockdown.  Our hopes of returning in the New Year on January 5th were also dashed.  However, we eventually restarted in March and now have twelve riders.  Let`s hope that  2021 is going to be a  wonderful year for the Mid Sussex.  I think we all deserve it!

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Looking back at 2019

The last year has been a busy one for Mid Sussex RDA. In April our Annual Plant and Cake Sale at Warninglid, run by Sue Ball one of our riders, raised nearly £900 for our funds.  (This year it will be held on April 25th in Warninglid Village Hall).

Our 50th Anniversary on June 20th was a huge success, largely due to the work and enthusiasm of all our volunteers.  Adults and children rode in musical games and all were presented with rosettes by the Mayor, Councillor Alex Phillips.  Presentations were made to our founder member, Judy Case, to our Treasurer, Martin Widdowson and to the owners of Chestnuts, Sue and Richard Hazelden, who have given our group so much help and support over the last eight years.

Social events last year included an interesting visit to Bradbourne Equestrian Centre, a tour of Bolney Vineyard, the  chairman's tea party and two coffee mornings at Rushfields Garden Centre.  We also introduced a one and a half hour`s hack for volunteers after the session on Thursday and these rides proved very popular.  Christmas was celebrated by a lovely lunch at the Bolney Stage.

Three new instructors passed their assessments during 2019, so as we now have five coaches and a full quota of volunteers we hope to extend our riding hours by adding another session on Tuesday afternoon.  This is very exciting.  We are looking forward to having another busy year with our riders and horses, but we can't do it all without our wonderful team of hard working volunteers.

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50th Anniversary

On the 20th June 2019 the Mid Sussex RDA spent a wonderful Fun Day celebrating their 50th Anniversary  at Chestnuts Riding School in Pyecombe,  just outside Brighton.  The Mayor of Brighton and Hove, MEP, Councillor Alex Phillips attended.

Children from  3 local special schools,  Hill Park, Woodlands Meed and Downs View showed their riding skills by trotting, performing exercises and playing musical games.  The Mayor presented each one with a certificate and 2 rosettes. ​​

It was a very happy day for everybody.  A splendid way to celebrate 50 years of continual service by the Mid Sussex RDA.

An original Founder member, and still a serving member, Judy Case, was given a special award for her 50 years Service while Sally Yonge, Rosie Naillard and Martin Widdowson were presented with individual Endeavour Awards by the Mayor for their work for the Mid Sussex.   Finally the proprietors  of Chestnuts Riding School were thanked by the Chairman Ruby Grimshaw for all the support  they had given over the last 8 years to the Mid Sussex Group.  They always supplied the group with gentle suitable horses and ponies, and gave their unstinted support.

After a splendid lunch The Mayor cut the  special 50th Birthday cake before she had to leave.  She said that it had been a wonderful experience and she had been impressed by the warmth and enthusiasm shown by all the riders and volunteers.

In the afternoon, 3 adult disabled riders from the Tuesday riding session, plus a carer who had not ridden before, took part in a general class. All were given certificates and rosettes.