Please click on photos to see them full size.

Casper set off today for the next phase of his life.  We're very pleased that he is going to spend his retirement at the Horse Trust at Speen, which is a lovely place and we're sure he'll be very happy there. He already seems to have made friends with Hamish. It will make a change for Casper to be the biggest pony in his group!

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We said a very sad farewell today to Casper our lovely Shetland pony.  He has been with the group since 2003 and has been a wonderful driving pony, much loved by everyone.  We had a retirement party with tea and cakes and tissues for the inevitable tears. 

As a wonderful surprise, Nikki commissioned Chris Meredith, a poet, to write a poem reflecting Casper's life with the group and how much he means to us all.  Chris came and read the poem to us, which is shown below. Here's a link to Chris's published poems: Words of My Life

The good news is that Casper is going to the Horse Trust at Speen where he will be very well looked after and where we will be able to visit him.

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Casper

© Chris Meredith 2017

He was found in a garden shed, unloved and neglected

An unwanted gift, full of lice and unprotected

Taken in and cared for by the British Horse Society

And loaned to our group in 2003

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He has spent fourteen years with us, everyone a joy

He treats us all the same - whether you are man, woman, girl, or boy

He is only 10 hands high but his heart is bigger still

He is stoic and gentle and possesses a competitive will

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He has been driven by wheelchair members on the Ascot Racecourse

Mingled with Royalty though a pony, not a horse

He is patient, gentle and kind to the vulnerable and disabled

For him they are all the same - not people to be labelled

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He is a grey Shetland pony with a heart of gold

And soon he will be retiring as he is getting old

His aches and pains will welcome the chance to rest

Then he can look back at a life with us that was cherished and blessed

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Once at Speen he will no doubt find a favourite post

Then he will rub his face on it and scratch his itchy nose

It is not goodbye, he is only up the road, not very far

So please go and visit him, our retiring, handsome Casper!

 

 

The group visited the Great Park on a beautiful sunny day for some lovely scenic drives and a picnic lunch by the polo fields at Smiths Lawn. Thanks to the Crown Estate for giving us permission to do this and to all the volunteers who worked tirelessly on a very hot day.

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Five members of the group attended the South Region RDA, Supra Regional Conference on Wednesday 19 April which was held at Newbury Race Course. The theme of the conference was Beyond Boundaries and there were some very inspiring speakers and a lovely vaulting display from Shacks Barn RDA Group. It certainly fitted the RDA motto - "it's what you can do that counts".

HRH The Princess Royal, President of RDA, was there and took time to present awards to long service RDA volunteers. Sally Merrick was presented with a 25 year award. Well done Sally!

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We would like to say a big thank you to Fullers Logistics who have supported our Group for over 30 years by providing all of our diesel and paying for the annual MOT, servicing and any repairs. We are a small charity and this support makes a huge difference – without it, we might not be able to afford the running costs of the bus.  This would have a real impact on some of our participants who rely on the bus for transport.

Here's a link to a news item on Fullers Logistics' website:

www.fullers-logistics.com

 

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We held our AGM on 14 February. It was lovely to see everybody again after the winter break and to catch up over a cup of tea and some of Jo's delicious cakes.  As part of the formal business Rebecca was elected as a Trustee.

We also welcomed our newest driver, Gilli, who's shown here with some of our most recent volunteers - Wendy, Angela, Liz and Jo.

Thanks to Frank for the photos.

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