South Downs Celebrates 40 years

South Downs RDA Group near Slinfold, West Sussex are celebrating their anniversary year and celebrated recently with a special event to mark this achievement, thanks to Liz and Chris McIllthwraith. The event was attended by volunteers and riders, both past and present, together with others associated with the group and MP for Horsham, Jeremy Quin.

Guests were treated to an afternoon of entertainment including equine displays, tea and cakes, raffle and displays of memorabilia and photos from when the Group was started in 1977 by Jill Blake up to the present day.

Olivants Equine Displays gave two demonstrations including Billy and Magpie in their Big and Little routine while South Downs own riders gave two displays. Firstly, young riders showing their Handy Pony skills and later older riders gave a dressage to music display.

Finally the Sussex Yeomanry gave a skilful and colourful display to show French and British cavalry skills from the Napoleonic era.

Many local businesses had contributed items for the raffle, and, together with the collecting tins, an immense £824 was raised from the day.

The group operates on a Thursday morning with 12 riders and there are hopes of expanding a smaller Tuesday afternoon session for more riders.

For more information, visit the Group’s website at

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