Please click on photos to see them full size.

The ponies spent two weeks on holiday during Royal Ascot. They didn't miss any opportunities to gorge themselves on the lush grass, even when they were lying down.

We took advantage of the ponies’ holiday location to have a drive and picnic in Windsor Great Park. We were lucky with the weather and had a lovely time.

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Casper, our Shetland pony driven by Kate with Sally as the RDA Whip, competed in the disabled class at the Royal Windsor Horse Show. Ellie was in attendance as Groom.

Unfortunately the weather was awful and the first hurdle was negotiating the mud to get the horsebox and trailer into the car park. Casper started the day beautifully white but became steadily greyer as the day progressed, finishing, as Sally said, looking like a zebra crossing.

By the time the class started the rain had started as can be seen in the photos. The class was divided into two sections – the first being about driver ability, turnout etc and the second part of the class manoeuvring through the cones. Kate drove extremely well and managed a brilliant time through the cones but just clipped one, adding a five second penalty to the time. Casper was angelic as ever.

HRH The Duke of Edinburgh watched the competition and presented the rosettes.

Thanks to Lee at Ingradire and Frank for the photos.

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On Sunday 22 April we took part in the RDA sponsored drive at Smiths Lawn. Unfortunately Major threw a shoe and had to be walked home by Sally and Ellie but Albert and Casper took part and both ponies went brilliantly.

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Albert joined the Group in October, replacing Bomber. Although he has been a driving pony all his life, he needed to learn some new skills to be suitable for our members. After lots of hard work over the winter from both Albert and our volunteers he passed the RDA assessment in February and is now a full member of the team.

The Christmas lunch at the York Club was a great success with 40 people attending. We had the usual magnificent spread with all the traditional Christmas favourites followed by a selection of delicious desserts.

This year's lunch was extra special as we were joined by two RDA guests - Anne Coney, the South Region Chairman and Mary Iliffe, the Berkshire County Chairman. Mary presented John Rackham with a 25 year service award and Pat Waller with a 35 year service award.

Mary presented Brigid Hamill with a 35 year service award and the 'Over and Above' award. Anne then presented Brigid Hamill with the Susan Dudley-Smith award. This award recognises the effort, service and self-sacrifice that people make in order to help others and highlights the achievements and efforts of volunteers involved in RDA Carriage Driving. It is very well deserved by Brigid for her contribution to the group over many years.

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More photos in the Photo Gallery.

The Group has recently received two very generous donations for which we are very grateful.

Sunningdale Savoy Chorus presented Roy Smith, our secretary, with a giant cheque for £750 at their Gala Year concert in October 2011.

We also received £2,000 from Ascot Round Table.

These donations will be put to very good use, particularly as we have had to buy a new pony to replace Bomber and the cost of feed and everything else keeps going up.

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