I have been a keen reader of the carriage driving magazine for over 6 years, I was really excited to see our picture in an article that was written on the Staffordshire and Derbyshire BDS group. The picture was of our horse Panka and it was our very first outing with her with the group. I noticed the picture featured again in the BDS magazine this month and it prompted me to write to you to let you know about our experiences this year. I have been driving for over 9 years now, I learned to drive with Stewart Roberts at Scropton Riding and Driving Centre, I still have lessons with Stewart who has always been always there with great advice and encouragement. We have predominately been very much pleasure drivers until we joined the BDS last year. The support that we received from John Jackson and Fred Moreton in the Staffordshire and Derbyshire BDS group area was amazing. We met and had the pleasure of driving with some great people during all the events that the group put on. Following this encouragement we started to look at club level driving trials and soon realised that we need to secure some more horse power. We had the great pleasure of being introduced to Rene Schoop and his beautiful Lippizaneers, I confess that this may have been the start of a long term obcession with the breed. Rene found me a beautiful Lippy who has turned out to be everything I was looking for. However this was not the end of the story. Following our first outing to a club event with midlands driving group my horse picked up a very unfortunate ligament injury after a slip. On hearing this Rene immediately made arrangements to help me look after her as she needed around the clock care, and I shall be for ever in his and Barbara’s debt for helping my horse back to fitness. In addition he insisted I took one of his horses back with us so that I could continue to gain experience driving through the rest of the season. He told me that many people had helped him over the years to get started and thats what driving was all about, promoting the sport and encouraging newcomers.So I have had the extrodinary priviledge of driving one of Rene’s lovely horses and we have learned so much with him. Paul Hart (MDTG) provided constant encouragement and gave up so much of his time to help us through our first events, endlessly walking courses and sharing his expertise with us. Lesley and David West (MDTG) answered numerous questions which we had and provided so much encouragement at all the MDTG events. Jon and I have been overwhelmed by the support and encouragement that we have received since we joined the BDS and Midlands Driving Group through the ups and downs of our first year. Never in the horse world have I come across so many people that have been so generous with their time and so keen to pass on experience, what great ambassadors for the sport these people are.
I write to you just to express my thanks to a the staffs and Derbyshire BDS group, MDTG and to Rene Schoop in particular who has been incredibly generous and in my humble opinion and a great ambassador for the sport