Royal Day for Argyll RDA Driving Group
Her HRH the Princess Royal enjoyed an equestrian day out in the sunshine at Benderloch, visiting the Argyll RDA Driving Group and watching a training session at the group’s new arena, built last year.
Eleven year-old Jessica Turnbull of Dunoon received her first carriage driving lesson under the watchful eye of Her Royal Highness. (Jessica suffers from a rare genetic disorder that affects her speech, balance and development. She rides regularly with the Woodside RDA Group).
“It was fun,” said Jessica. “I was nervous to start before, but then it was okay.”
The other three drivers demonstrating their carriage driving skills were Donald MacDonald, Davina Plank and Lorraine Smart, regulars at the Driving Group. They were accompanied by RDA Whips Vivienne Price and Penny Dixon.
Princess Anne, President of Riding for the Disabled, then presented rosettes to all the RDA drivers, and to the two horses Red and Bramble.
Twenty four excited young members of the Lettershuna Pony Club Centre and the North Argyll Branch of the Pony Club were presented with their Carriage Driving Achievement Badges by Her Royal Highness. Joyce Buick from Mull received her Stable Management Certificate from North Highland College, and Claire MacPherson of Barcaldine was presented with a Saltire Award for her 200 hours of voluntary work with the RDA Driving Group.
The Argyll RDA Group started nine years ago, and now has 14 regular members driving in the twice-weekly sessions at Benderloch, supported by five RDA Whips and a team of 12 Helpers (with Pony Club members giving assistance in the summer holidays). The Group also travels away regularly to competitions and the annual Carriage Driving summer holiday.
Jane Isaac is Organiser of the Argyll RDA Driving Group, and Chairman of the RDA groups in Argyll. She and her husband, Oban dental surgeon Hamish Isaac, built the arena and carriage store which the Argyll RDA Group use. Jane Isaac said: “The group wouldn’t exist, and we couldn’t have enjoyed this wonderful day, without the support of our very committed Trustees and all our hardworking volunteers and helpers.”