Three Counties Show

Come and enjoy a day out at the Three Counties show Malvern 19/06/11.

The Wolverley and District Driving club on behalf of the BHDTA, are putting on an exciting competition for carriage drivers at the Three Counties show at Malvern on Sunday 19th June.

It is a Club Driver Challenge introduced nationally last year and based on the FEI World Cup Series.

It is run over 2 rounds in an 80m/40m arena with 2 or 3 obstacles with 3 to 5 gates and 8 to 12 cones to negotiate in each round. The fastest overall from both rounds is the class winner.

Entry to the class includes entry to the show ground as well, so a good day out is ensured as there is much to see and do at the show.
Entries are just £8 and made via the Three Counties Show web site or office.

The rules for the competition are on the Wolverley and District Driving Club web site –, or by contacting the club secretary Linda Sprosen on 01562 824350.

Do come and have great day out and enter this competition no matter what level your skills, as it is especially designed for all to enjoy and have fun.

Please note that the entries close on 26th April by post and 10th May on line. If required the number to ring at the show ground for an entry form it is 01684 584900.

For any queries do ring Linda Sprosen or Carol Pawson on 01299266790.


World Forestry Day

The Hands Off Our Forest (HOOF) steering committee would like as many different groups of people using the Forest of Dean on Sunday 20th March, to mark World Forestry Day and as a celebration of the recent Government U turn (so far); to show the variety of forest users and their enjoyment of Forest of Dean. Would your members ride out on Sunday 20th to show support? We are fortunate to have such a wonderful area available for such a multitude of uses.

This year is also the UN 'International Year of Forests 2011'. Horses and their riders are an important user of the Forest Of Dean and HOOF are asking if the riders (or horses) could wear a yellow ribbon or yellow clothing to show support for keeping the Forest of Dean publicly owned, managed on their behalf by the Forestry Commission. If the riders could send a photograph of their ride and or comments to the HOOF website at a good selection will be posted on the web. If people would like to look at the HOOF website it is

We hope to make the Forest busy on that day, I hope some of your members will want to take part, thank you and your members for their support.



February 2011

News from the 'Trek to Petra'

Sponsored walk In aid of the Forest of Dean Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) Carriage Driving Group on the 16th to 23rd October 2010

Early in the year I attended the RDA conference for the South West and Wales region. Pauline Lane told us about 'Trek to Petra' which was a 100km walk in Jordan walking from the Dead Sea to Petra. My friend and Whip (carriage driver) Julie had been on a couple of cycle rides and horse ride in aid of charity and I had decided I would like to do something similar. This was ideal for me as the funds raised would go to our local group.

My name is Maggie Saunders and I carriage drive for the above group. We meet on a Wednesday morning at The Rising Sun, Woolaston. Our aim is to teach carriage driving to adults from The Forest of Dean Area who are physically and mentally challenged. It is amazing the reaction, learning and enjoyment they get from driving a horse and cart.

The Challenge

Where do I start; first there was the training, for six months I was walking, cycling, doing weights, hill and stair climbs. The good side was I lost weight and I did feel much better both mentally and physically. I was encouraged by the amount of sponsorship and good wishes I received, from Woolaston alone I raised over £900 in sponsorship.

The walk. 

A camp site

Day 1.

We arrived in Amman, Jordan at midnight and were taken by coach to our hotel on the Dead Sea, arriving late we were given our room keys. I was sharing with Susan and both being very tired after all the travelling went straight to bed. 

Day 2.

We started by floating in the Dead Sea, then you covered yourself in mud and went back into the sea to wash it off. You feel great afterwards. After the briefing it was back on the coaches to our first walk. At Wadi Khuderia there was a Bedouin tent and a donkey and foal tied to a tree. Our first look at Bedouin life. We walked along the narrow wadi. There was a stream running along the wadi with the rocks high on either side. It was beautiful; when we got back to the coach it was 40C in the shade. We were taken to meet the pickup trucks, we all piled in with our cases and off across the desert to our first Bedouin camp. There was a long tent with blanket type material on three side and top. The front was open and there were woven rugs on the ground. The cooking area was divided by a sheet and lights strung along the front. We had foam mattresses to sleep on. We chose our mattress and collected our bags. Dinner was served and it was off to bed at 8pm.

Day 3

Today was one of the two long days, we had 30km to go. We walked along small wadis and over ridges keeping the Etom Mountains to our left. We stopped at an oasis and Bedouin women came with their herds of goats, the goats rushing down the steep tracks to the water.

Day 4

Today was supposed to be easier and it was mostly on the flat. It was supposed to be 20m but we got lost so was a little further. The temperature was 37c and very little shade. I found this very difficult as I am not good in the sun. We stopped for lunch at an abandoned police station up on a hilltop. Some of the trekkers were having problems with their feet and finding the walking difficult. The government had built a town here for the Bedouin but being nomadic people refused to live there.

Day 5

This was the real challenge for me. It was one of the longer days 24km and difficult terrain. 'Vertigo sufferers will find today challenging at times', and I did. We set off a 6am before the sun had risen. I thought we were going to follow the old camel trails, but NO. We climbed the rock face! Fear of Heights – yes, did I do it - YES. After the climb of 1023m we then trekked down and up again to reach Mount Quaran, part of the Red Mountain Ridge. We trekked through a beautiful wadi with small trees and shrubs. We walked into Little Petra and had a view of the old caves and temples.

Day 6

Today was an easy day 13km. We walk from Little Petra to the famous Red Rose City of Petra, built more than 2,000 years ago. The valley is enclosed by sandstone cliffs veined with shades of red, purple and pink, out of which the city's monuments and temples were hewn. Here we had a guided tour of Petra. We stayed in a hotel in Petra, and went to the Turkish bath for a much needed sauna, body scrub and massage.

Day 7

Today we took the Toyota 4x4 trucks to Wadi Rum. We walked along the wadi and saw the graffiti of thousands of years ago. We returned to Jalab Rum Camp for a traditional Bedouin lunch. In the evening we had a celebration dinner.

Day 8

After a good night's sleep we took the coach to Amman for our flight home.

We walked a 117km. Did I enjoy it, yes but it was a far more difficult challenge than I thought it was going to be. Would I do it again? NO, (now I have been home for a few weeks maybe).

Unfortunately I got severe Gastroenteritis and on arriving back in the UK spent 10 days in bed and another month recovering. I hope to have raised at least £1,600 for our RDA group once I have collected all the sponsorship and gift aid. 

I did this walk in memory of Julie Foulks who died earlier this year. She gave me the inspiration and the confidence to say 'Yes I can do this' and Julie I did do it.

Maggie Saunders

We made it!

February 2011

We are delighted with the announcement that the consultation on the future management of the Public Forest Estate has been halted and all forestry clauses in the Public Bodies Bill will be removed.

As you know we were concerned that the proposals to sell off the public forest estate contained no details as to how the permissive access that equestrians enjoy in many of our forests would be preserved in the event of sales going ahead.

Mark Weston, Director of Access, Safety and Welfare,BHS said: “The announcement will be a great relief to all equestrians. This has been a significant lobbying victory for equestrians and other interested parties.

“However, we now need to make sure that the Government lives up to its various pronouncements that it wants to see improved access for equestrians in our forests. The Forestry Commission should now dedicate rights of access for equestrians in our forests pursuant to section 16 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, so that our access is never put in danger again.”


January 2011

January 29th - Countryfile filming

"Countryfile producers have decided not to run our film on access as they feel the Government announcement this week undermines the message of the filming and they do not have time to redo". 


January 27th - Future of the public forest estate

Defra has today issued this consultation to its website.  Everyone (horse riders, carriage drivers, cyclists) who has an interest in maintaing / improving access to the forests must please respond.  You can respond on line or down load the consultation document.

DEFRA Consultation: Future of the public forest estate

Ref: 01/11

Issued: 2011-01-27
Consultation start: 2011-01-27
Consultation end: 2011-04-21

Please note that the Right of Open Access on foot was conferred to the public by the CROW Act 2000 and excluded all other users.  However, the Government could dedicate spatial or linear higher rights (riding, cycling, carriage driving) for other users in all the forests, forever by relaxing schedule 2 of the Act and this is what we should all be fighting for.



The Association is desperately low on funds and if you have not already done so, we would urge you to forward the small sum of £5, or send a donation to help the 'cause'.  Unfortunately, we will be unable in the future, to send hard copies to anyone who has not paid up. 

Please make your cheque payable to 'FODHR&CDA' and send to - Membership Secretary, Rose Cottage, Church Walk, Viney Hill, Glos GL15 4NY.

We would very much appreciate your support.


Bridleways Project


Philip Cooke (consultant for our bridleways project) has been meeting landowners and explaining what we hope to achieve. Most have been extremely helpful and even suggesting routes that would be better for the project. By early February we should have written confirmation from some landowners of their willingness to support the development of new routes.

Philip has also had several meetings with Phil Morton of the Forestry Commission about the proposed routes and whilst we cannot tell you about developments yet, as negotiations are still on-going, we hope to have some exciting news to share with you soon.

This project is very complex because of the range of parties involved…..for example, crossing the A40 which is a trunk road means that the Highways Authority has to approve the crossing point; John Lane of Gloucestershire County Council is working closely with us to ensure that any route we suggest is approved by the Council since they will ultimately be responsible for the new right of way, and …….. the list goes on and on! So for those of you who are wondering why it is taking so long just think about the people that we have to meet with and keep on side.

One of the big issues at the moment is the proposed sell-off of Forestry Commission estate nationally. Remember, if land where you ride or carriage drive at the moment is sold, then you may have no future rights of access. So please make your views known by emailing Mark Harper MP ( or writing to him at the House of Commons. Unfortunately, there is a long history since the 1980s of the buck being passed between Government and the Forestry Commission about the effect on equestrians of privatisation of woodlands. No-one seems to keep any data but we all know how important the forests are to us….. you need to make your voice heard now.


BBC Countryfile filming

 On Tuesday, 18th January 2011, the film crew from the Countryfile television programme came to the Forest of Dean to film a local carriage driver in the woods. They were accompanied on the drive by Jenny Carling, Chair of the Forest of Dean and District Horse Riders and Carriage Drivers Association who was interviewed by John Craven on the subject of the possible sell-off of Forestry Commission land.

In response to John's question of how it might affect horse riders and carriage drivers Jenny said "If land is sold off then under current legislation we would have no rights of access unlike walkers whose rights are protected by law" She went on to say "Any loss of public safe off-road riding and carriage driving in the forests could be disastrous". Jenny went on to explain to John that the Association had developed a potential coherent network of routes from Dymock in the north of the District to Bream in the south. The routes are called "The Forest of Dean Greenways Project" and the work is supported by funding from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. This network, with all its associated benefits of healthy exercise for walkers and cyclists, as well as equestrians, together with economic development opportunities for local businesses, could be severely damaged by any sell off as around 60-70% of the route goes over FC land.

The team from the BBC were also interested in learning about the good relationship that exists between local management of the FC and the Association in developing equestrian access. Not least they were impressed by the fund raising that had taken place to pay for clearance of The Pylons track on behalf of all users by the Association. The filming that took place during the drive and of the interview will form part of a larger item on the "Countryfile" programme to be broadcast on 30 January.

It was a beautiful day and we drove the carriage into the woods to meet the crew. Ben, the horse, got somewhat agitated at the hold up caused by the BBC parked cars on the track to start with but settled down as we got moving. We went into the forest for about half a mile then John Craven took position on the back step of the carriage alongside Jenny Carling, Chair of the Association, who was to do an interview with him.

Ben, the horse, stood patiently during the interview although he could not quite understand why he was not allowed to trot on! The film crew, consisting of five members, were all very efficient and friendly. After the interview with John Craven, the cameraman mounted the back step of the carriage to film as it was driven along the forest track. The whole process took about 2 hours and we drove the carriage back home very pleased with Ben’s performance!


(More information from  and support the cause by signing the petition on








November 2010

Update from PROW Office

The following results have been achieved :-

GHA56 Danford Lane, Hartpury. Cleared.

GDY 75 Dymock to Redmarley. Cleared.

GCO 35 Corse – Orridge St to Corse. Cleared.

Gorsley – all  4 restricted byways. Cleared.

May Hill Boat & 2x bridleways. Cleared.

Cliffords Mesne, Newent – bridleways & 7xRestricted Byways. Cleared.

Redmarley: GRA34 & 35 Cobhill Woods & GRA 37 &38. Cleared.

GST 9 Bridleway Staunton (Newent) Moat Lane. Cleared.

GUP 3 Edens Hill Upleadon. Cleared.

DMD 28 bridleway,  Mitcheldean to Abenhall– being cleared this week

FSB 21 Bream to St Briavels restricted byway - clearance commenced 10/11/2010

FWO 39/7 Park Hill, Woolaston. Cleared

Surfacing work and clearance done on GHA/48 at Murrells End Hartpury


Dymock to Bream

At a committee meeting on 4 Nov 2010 a proposed route from Dymock to Bream was agreed with the Destination Marketing Group (DMG) who are acting as our consultants on our project to create a more cohesive bridleways network. The proposal includes community circuits for local users as well as a linear route.

Philip Cooke of DMG is now working on approaching landowners to seek their agreement to grant permanent rights of way


Local Marketing Group to promote Forest bridleways

The Forest of Dean Riders and Carriage Drivers Association, who were recently awarded grant aid from the European Agricultural Fund for European Development 2007-2013 to examine the feasibility of establishing connected bridleways in the Forest of Dean, held an open evening on Thursday, September 23rd at Speech House to introduce the consultants who will be carrying out the work.
The Gloucester based Destination Marketing Group awarded the £11,000 contract were represented by company director Phillip Cooke, who outlined his plans during the evening to the riders and carriage drivers.

The company works primarily across the tourism, economic development and professional services sectors in independent marketing and PR. Philip has had an award-winning career in the public and private sectors of the tourism, sport and leisure industries and is keen to get in contact with riders, carriage drivers and landowners who willing to support the project. ‘We are really excited working for this project’  he said ‘I feel it is so important to get multi-user trails identified and to be able to promote the Forest as a place where people can ride, drive and cycle safely. It will be such a boost for local users and for tourism.’

Jenny Carling, chair of the Association, was pleased with the response during the evening and demonstrated the areas which are due to be surveyed. She stressed the need to identify gaps in the bridleways network and the importance of getting as much information from local riders. ‘It is vital that people contact us about blockages where they ride or carriage drive and areas where they feel links can be made to extend safe riding and driving. We want to ensure that riders get the bridleways that they feel meet their needs’
One of the bonuses of the new project is that landowners can benefit from dedicating access rights across their land with direct payment. They can find out about these opportunities by contacting Phillip by telephone on 01452 500663  or by emailing


September 2010

Come and join us at an open evening at Speech House Hotel on 23 September 7.00pm to find out about our exciting bridleways project. Refreshments available.

We look forward to seeing you there!


Funding Approval

This project is part financed by the European Agricultural Fund for European Development 2007-2013: Europe investing in rural areas

European Commission Agriculture and Rural Development

September 2010

Offa's Dyke Endurance GB

Sunday 26 September

Plump Hill Group Social Ride, Drybrook, Forest of Dean

The Plump Hill ride will run from a new venue at Shapridge Farm, Flaxley, Mitcheldean.  The venue is a large grassy field with direct access to Flaxley Woods, giving us a chance to extend the route into this area of the Forest, which is not normally used on our rides.   16km & 25km routes (10 & 16 Miles). Over undulating forestry tracks in the northern Forest of Dean. Includes a couple of steeper climbs and good views of the river Severn

Contact :Offa's Dyke Endurance Riding


July 2010

Have just heard that our bid for funding has been approved!!!!! 

The funding is for £11,000 to cover the costs of employing someone to carry out a feasibility study and route investigation to fill in the gaps in the current network of bridleways and similar status routes across the District.

The aims are to develop at least a N-S route with circuits off if time and money allow. We will be providing the management time which forms the other £2,400 of the total bid. We will be working with other partner organisations such as GCC Public Rights of Way, the Forestry Commission, The Trails Trust and Natural England to deliver the project.

The first phase is to map what is possible and cost the implementation and the second phase will be puttting the route on to the ground - we will have to bid for more monies for this second phase.

This is the outcome of almost 3 years of work to develop a more cohesive network of bridleways


Good News!

The roads at Oldcroft have been re-surfaced after many years of neglect and, although this is a vast improvement, it meant that the road surface was extremely slippery for the horse riders and carriage drivers. After contacting Gloucestershire Highways the following email was received:

'Thank you for your e-mail concerning the difficulties that horses are having with the new surfacing on the roads in Oldcroft.  I appreciate the concerns that you have raised, and can confirm that we have arranged for some stone grit to be spread over the carriageway surface to help to alleviate the problem.

If the surfacing continues to be a concern, then please do not hesitate to contact me.'

Brian Watkins
Stakeholder Manager (West)
Highways and Customer Services
Tel: 08000 514514
Gloucestershire Highways
Vallet Wood
Gl16 7EH


June 2010

Our application for funding for developing a bridleway network has met with some positive response from the decision makers. However, we have had to do some more work on it to reasure them that the finished cost will not be prohibitive and that we can manage the project. The decision makers will be meeting at the end of June so hopefully, we will have a final decision then

April 2010

Our bid for funding to carry out a detailed survey of existing "bridleways" and to work with landowners in joining up the fragmented network across the whole of the FOD District is going forward at the end of April for formal appraisal. The process has involved the writing of 2 lengthy proposals - one of which was 15 pages long! So you can appreciate the effort that has gone into this on behalf of all equestrians, and, of course, our network will also benefit cyclists and walkers as well. We have been delighted in the large number of cyclists and walkers who have supported our project ideas

March 2010

Thank you to everyone who sent back their completed Register of Support form and we have now delivered the 15 page document saying why we need a cohesive bridleway network together with lots of other supporting evidence. It will take about 2 months for a decision to be made so keep your fingers crossed!

February 2010

Your local bridleways group, The Forest of Dean Riders and Carriage Drivers Association, have been working very hard behind the scenes bidding for funding to create a network of long-distance and local, circular routes across the Forest of Dean District.

The great news is that our application has cleared the first hurdle and we now need to add some more details to our final bid. We need to show just how many people would appreciate a “joined-up” network of bridleways. As riders and carriage drivers there are obvious benefits to us in creating new paths, and especially linking some of the areas that are currently inaccessible due to busy road crossings or lack of connecting bridleways.

By incorporating options for long-distance rides from Dymock in the north to Tiddenham in the south, there will be business opportunities for pubs and B&Bs en route to enjoy the custom of both local riders and tourists. On top of this the value of equestrianism to the local economy is worth £millions ! That’s farriers, tack shops, livery yards, feed and bedding suppliers, instructors, vets etc…. Everyone’s a winner!

So please show your support for a new bridleway network, and ask every one of those people who will also benefit, by filling in this form (click here) and returning as soon as possible by email. And if you can copy this to friends and service providers as well, that would be great!

This is a fantastic opportunity and all you need to do is show that you care.

Click here to download the support form.


We have been successful in the first formal stage of obtaining funding for developing a bridleway network throughout the Forest of Dean District. This doesn't mean that we have the funding in place just that our project can be supported by the Local Action Group at the FODDC. We now have to go through the longer process of making a full application. 

We really need your support to say how an improved network would benefit you or your business. So please write to our Secretary and let us know.


October 2009


Paula Burrows, the new marketing manager for the FODDC, has requested a meeting with Jenny Carling to discuss the tourism implications of the possible development of a linked network of bridleways. Paula and Jenny plan to meet on Friday 16 October to talk about this project proposal

Boar Survey

Have you met the boar when out riding? Just to let you know that the University of Worcester are running a boar survey for the Forest of Dean –

Go on line to for questionnaire!


Developing Bridleway Network

Jenny Carling is working with the FODDC to use some of the European funding they have been given for community projects in the district. The goal of the  bridleways association is to provide a series of linked circular rides/carriage drives throughout the area and free to users. The project, if funded, will take about 4-5 years to put in place and will enable riders to go from Dymock in the north of the district to Tidenham in the south using a mixture of quiet lanes, forestry commission tracks, public bridleways (including new ones to be created) and unused railway tracks.




September 2009

Free access to Forestry Commission Forests in England

While equestrians have free access to many forests in England, there are a growing number where you are required to buy a permit to ride or carriage drive in them. As an Association we have always argued that all users should be treated on an equal footing and where informal access is provided free for walkers and cyclists it should also be provided free for equestrians.

Responses to the FC consultation document  on “The long-term role of the public forest estate in England” should be made by the 28 September 2009 to Dominic Driver, Senior Projects Officer, Policy and Programmes Group, Forestry Commission, 620 Bristol Park, Coldharbour Lane, Bristol BS16 1EJ. It would be very beneficial if all members would take a few minutes to write with their comments and we would suggest the following points to include in your letter:

Do not sit back and think that “I don’t have to pay now so it doesn’t affect me” – the situation could change very quickly and not in equestrians’ favour. In all our discussions with the FC the issue of maintenance always arises, and, in the case of Dymock Forest locally, was directly linked to charging for use of the tracks. The fact that the money was almost impossible to collect and did not raise sufficient funds to repair tracks did not stop its imposition until recently following strong arguments from this Association on equality for all forest users.

If you’re not a “writer” then you could download a postcard from the BHS website to send to the Forestry Commission showing your support for equestrian access. Given the large area of land owned or managed by the FC in our area then it should be most important for us all to show that we value and want to maintain our free access to the forests.


August 2009

There is a new resident in the Forest who is looking for a horse to ride. She has 25 years of experience and is capable of riding any type of horse. She is based in Mitcheldean and looks forward to any contact. email

July 2009

Our dear government wish to tax us for owning horses and it will cost at least £10 per horse, so there has been a petition set up and it would be good if we could all sign it.  Please pass it on to other people you know and get them to sign too.


The Railway Path

What is being proposed?

An exciting proposal for a traffic-free path for walkers, cyclists, people with disabilities and horse riders will be re-submitted, by Sustrans, for planning approval late 2009.

The path will follow the disused 19th Century Wye Valley Railway line between Chepstow, Brockweir and Tintern.

For up to date information on the planning application by Sustrans to develop the disused railway line running south from Brockweir visit


June 2009

Creating new rights of way for equestrians - a new approach

Two members of our committee attended a seminar organised by The Trails Trust - a charity whose sole aim is to create a network of bridleways - at which we learnt about the weighty subject of "Express Dedication at Common Law"!

The good news is that this approach is less confrontational than seeking changes to the Definitive Map and best of all can take just a matter of months rather than years! Also the approach has the support of Defra and is not dependent on local authorities where most of the bottlenecks happen at the moment.

If you would like to know more then please contact Jenny Carling via email -


May 2009

A foster mare is urgently required for a dales foal rejected by its mum who is only two weeks old. We need a mum who has just lost her own foal. Any news of one ?  native breed preferred !

Contact Jan at

April 2009

Press Release

Pylon Track

Horse riders and the Forestry Commission….working together

With the agreement of the Forestry Commission, a few members of the FOD Horse Riders & Carriage Drivers Association, started by hand to clear the track known locally in the Yorkley area, as the Pylons Track.  This long track was almost lost due to the overgrowth of brambles, bracken and overhanging branches.  The members did what they could in several sessions, but it was clear that a machine was needed to tackle the bulk of the work.  The FC gave permission for one of their contractors, John Reed of Blakeney, to do the work.  Enough money was raised last year by the association, at a tabletop sale and raffle held at The Speech House Pavilion, to pay for two day’s work.  This work was carried out recently.

The Pylons track is now wide and clear and can be enjoyed by both walkers and horse riders.  It is hoped to be able to maintain this track yearly, but more funds will have to be raised to do this.  If you ride a horse in this area, or are interested in maintaining our beautiful countryside, please support the Association by joining. 

Our aim is to gain better access for equestrians throughout the Forest of Dean district by opening up old routes and linking present ones to provide safe off-road riding and carriage driving opportunities. 

A pack of information has been produced by the FOD District Council with help from the Forestry Commission and ourselves on horse riding and carriage driving circuits throughout the district. All of the 6 laminated route maps are presented in a pocket-sized folder and designed to hang on a personal neck ribbon for easy access. On one side of the map is a drawing of the route (which can be checked against the OS map) and on the other text details to help you find your way around. Copies of the pack can be obtained from the Visitor Information Centre in Coleford, Tel: 01594 812388. Cost will be about £4.00 per pack.

The association has also been working closely with recreational groups such as walkers and cyclists to develop accessibility for all users.

More information about the FOD Horse Riders and Carriage Drivers Association can be obtained by visiting, telephone 01594 510435 or email

Pylon Track

Pylon Track clearing




The British Horse Society & SEIB Breeding Education Day
Saturday 2 May 2009 at Hartpury College, Gloucester

Are you considering breeding a foal? This unique event is aimed at all with an interest in breeding, and will provide essential information on every aspect from selection of the mare and stallion to handling and training the foal The event features a day of talks and practical demonstrations from the UK’s leading experts, including:

Richard Maxwell – one of the UK’s leading horse behaviourists & trainers
Tim Galer BVet Med Cert ESM MRCVS – Equine Stud Medicine specialist
Nic de Brauwere BVSc MRCVS – SeniorWelfare Veterinary Surgeon, Redwings Horse Sanctuary World HorseWelfare

Limited tickets on sale NOW at just £5

01926 707791



March 2009

AGM News

Members and friends present at the AGM commented favourable on the pack of information that has been produced by the Forest of Dean District Council with help from the Forestry Commission and ourselves on horse riding and carriage driving circuits throughout the district. All of the 6 laminated maps are presented in a pocket sized folder and are designed to be hung on a personal neck ribbon for easy access. On one side of the map is a drawing of the route (which can be checked against the OS map) and on the other text details to help you find your way around. Copies of the pack can be obtained from the Visitor Information Centre tel 01594 812388. Cost will be about £4.00 per pack


Annual General Meeting


Thursday, 19th March 2009 at 6.30 pm


The Speech House Hotel Pavilion (by kind permission of Dorian Charlton)

(parking in Hotel field)

Come and join us for an evening of bacon butties and hotdogs and a chat with other like minded people. Use the time to network with other riders/carriage drivers and committee members and explore the digital mapping software we are using.


February 2009

Molly, the three legged horse

A survival story


Meet Molly.She's a grey speckled pony who was abandoned by her owners when
Hurricane Katrina hit southern Louisiana . She spent weeks on her own before
finally being rescued and taken to a farm where abandoned animals were
stockpiled. While there, she was attacked by a pit bull terrier and almost
died. Her gnawed right front leg became infected, and her vet went to LSU
for help, but LSU was overwhelmed, and this pony was a welfare case. You
know how that goes.

But after surgeon Rustin Moore met Molly, he changed his mind.He saw how the
pony was careful to lie down on different sides so she didn't seem to get
sores, and how she allowed people to handle her.She protected her injured
leg. She constantly shifted her weight and didn't overload her good leg. She
was a smart pony with a serious survival ethic.

Moore agreed to remove her leg below the knee, and a temporary artificial
limb was built. Molly walked out of the clinic and her story really begins

This is Molly's most recent prosthesis. The photo shows the ground
surface that she stands on, which has a smiley face embossed in it. Wherever
Molly goes, she leaves a smiley hoof print behind.

The leg

'This was the right horse and the right owner,' Moore insists. Molly
happened to be a one-in-a-million patient. She's tough as nails, but sweet,
and she was willing to cope with pain. She made it obvious she understood
that she was in trouble.The other important factor, according to Moore , is
having a truly committed and compliant owner who is dedicated to providing
the daily care required over the lifetime of the horse.

Molly's story turns into a parable for life in post-Katrina Louisiana .The
little pony gained weight, and her mane finally felt a comb. A human
prosthesis designer built her a leg.

The prosthetic has given Molly a whole new life, Allison Barca DVM, Molly's
regular vet, reports.

Fitted leg

And she asks for it. She will put her little limb out, and come to you and
let you know that she wants you to put it on.. Sometimes she wants you to
take it off too. And sometimes, Molly gets away from Barca. 'It can be pretty bad
when you can't catch a three-legged horse,' she laughs.

Most important of all, Molly has a job now. Kay, the rescue farm owner,
started taking Molly to shelters, hospitals, nursing homes, and
rehabilitation centers. Anywhere she thought that people needed hope. Wherever Molly went,
she showed people her pluck. She inspired people, and she had a good time
doing it.

'It's obvious to me that Molly had a bigger role to play in life, Moore
said. She survived the hurricane, she survived a horrible injury, and now
she is giving hope to others.'

Barca concluded, 'She's not back to normal, but she's going to be better.To
me, she could be a symbol for New Orleans itself.'

January 2009 Newsletter

WELCOME to the latest edition of our newsletter.


The demise of the Discovering Lost Ways Project (which didn’t add any further equestrian rights of way to the Definitive Map) was a blow for all equestrians; it would have meant the recording of many historic routes that somehow have been “lost” when the Definitive Map was created. So it is now down to all of us to ensure that all those rides and carriage drives that we enjoy are recorded for future permanent use. If you use a route that does not appear on the current map, and you do not have the express permission of the landowner to use it, then members of the committee can advise you on the action you need to take.

Please do not be one of those people who think “Someone else will do it” ……..



Can you help? It is recognised that current strategies to control intestinal parasites in horses is not sustainable. This is because of the increasing resistance to pharmaceutical wormers. A key issue is that little is known about how we worm our horses. So an online survey is being carried out by the University of Reading. You can take part by logging on to and completing the short and anonymous questionnaire.

Habitat/nature conservation: Are there any locations in your area where existing access to horse riders or carriage drivers has been denied or made more difficult for habitat/conservation reasons? If so, you can email information to or write to us and we will pass on to the BHS. The BHS will then be able to build up a picture regarding the extent of exclusions to present to Natural England in their argument for better horse riding and driving opportunities.



Hi-Viz clothing:  Do you wear such clothing when out riding – especially when out riding alone? Last summer a helicopter pilot was tasked with searching for a missing horse rider. Soon after 10.40 the horse was located and ground police officers were talked to the location. The rider was said to be wearing a white top and her usual riding route was found out from the farm where she kept her horse. By now it was 14.15 but the rider had not been found by police searching the ground.

After a further 30 minutes of finding swans, carrier bags and fertiliser sacks in the hedgerows the helicopter crew spotted what was thought to be a cattle trough in the middle of a field. Closer inspection revealed that it was the missing rider who had been lying injured on the ground for almost four and a half hours. Her clothing was brown and with black boots she had been well hidden in the long grass.

It transpired that one of the officers searching for her on the ground had been into the field but had not seen her due to the lie of the land. Had she been wearing high-viz clothing there is no doubt that she would have been spotted much earlier.

In a different incident another helicopter crew were on their way to a road traffic accident and ahead of the police car. Because they could see horse riders wearing hi-viz gear a couple of miles ahead on the same twisting road as the car, they were able to contact the driver and advise him to switch off his sirens and lights and slow down.

So the message to all of us, wherever we ride or carriage drive, is “BE SEEN”.




Back in October of last year your committee decided to delay the annual meeting to the Spring of this year. We are planning for an earlier start to the evening at Speech House Hotel on Thursday 19th March at 6.30pm with refreshments and with more opportunity for you all to chat to us and each other.  Do put this date in your diary as we hope to have some exciting news for you all on developing the bridleway network.




A recently formed bridleway group in the Stroud area has asked us if anyone in the Forest of Dean would be willing to show a small group of riders (possibly carriage drivers) around their favourite local ride/drive. If you would be willing to lead group of say 3 or 4 then please contact Mrs Pat Harris 01453 823841 to discuss ideas.

This could be a great opportunity to promote what we are doing and get some press coverage. Also, a good way to raise funds for our Association. If you decide to raise funds then let Erica Rye know so that she can tell the BHS who provide our insurance cover for such events.

If a ride/drive could be organised for BHS Access week (15 – 25 May 2009) then we could support the BHS Access fighting fund as well – the BHS suggest a donation of £10 per rider and will provide the organiser with support (contact Hannah Brown on 01926 707813 or email

If you decide to go ahead and organise a ride or drive then let us know and we can publicise it on our website.




We have provided with various members’ help a series of leaflets covering rides and carriage drives around the district. These will be available from Tourism at Forest of Dean Council offices.

Proposed changes to the Definitive Map in Kilcot are likely to have to go to the Inspector for a final decision to be made. This exercise started in 2003 so you can see that one has to be committed and patient!  A local farmer has been approached about providing access across his land and that of a neighbour, which would provide a link to Haywood in Gorsley.  Our proposed project bid for EU monies would include this subject to the landowners’ agreement.

There is no further news on changes to the map around May Hill, but the group working in this locality are meeting with a local landowner to access woodland. We hope to support the landowner via the European monies that will be managed by the Forest of Dean District Council.

Queens Wood / Dymock Wood / Haywood – the Forestry Commission have agreed a three phase approach to improving the going for horse riders in this area subject to the Association being able to access funding for materials. The FC will provide manpower and machinery.

Members in the Tidenham area are working with their parish council and the Forestry Commission to reinstate “lost” routes to be used by walkers and cyclists as well as equestrians. Again, this Association hopes to support them with EU funding.

A local farmer in the Longhope area has indicated a willingness to consider dedicating a circular ride over his land which would link to an existing bridleway and provide much needed off-road riding. This may form part of our bid for EU funding.

As you may have read elsewhere, Sustrans is making positive noises about opening up their plans for the disused railway line in the Brockweir area to include equestrian usage. They are a powerful lobbying organisation who we believe will help us in our negotiations with local authorities to develop a more cohesive network.

If there is something happening in your area that we haven’t included then please email us with details ……. Or if you need help/advice on a local issue then please email Erica Rye our Secretary and we will do our best to support you.



Where has the time gone since we sent out the Spring/Summer newsletter? Yes, you are correct in thinking that you didn’t get the usual Autumn/Winter edition! It wasn’t that we were being lazy, just rather tied up in organising our first table top sale amongst a lot of meetings/contacts with other organisations in furtherance of our aims to improve riding and carriage driving provision throughout the district.

The table top sale and raffle was a great success raising enough money to pay for a contractor to work on clearing the ride and carriage drive in the Yorkley area known locally as the Pylons Ride. The track is on Forestry Commission land and it is good to have their support.  This work will be carried out when the ground is dryer (hopefully), in the Spring.

We have developed very good relations with Forestry Commission personnel, not least in the woodland to the north of the district covering Dymock and Queens Wood. We are working together to try and raise funds to improve a poorly drained area of a circular ride in Queenswood and to improve access into Haywood. A member living in Kempley with contacts into her local parish council is actively supporting us by suggesting that the parish council could contribute monies….. so go and have a chat to your local councillor to see how your parish council could help. Taking a quote from the Chairman of the BHS; “Are you one of those who, when encountering a blocked bridleway, mutters “This is terrible! They ought to do something about it!” Or is your immediate thought: “This is terrible! I ought to do something about it!”?  We have a group of dedicated equestrians who largely fall into the second category but we could be more effective if everyone was in the latter band.

As we go to press on this newsletter we are starting to pull together outline bids for accessing European funding via the Forest of Dean District Council and will be meeting with regional personnel of Sustrans to see how we can work together – there is definitely a change of attitude with positive comments being made about equestrian access to the proposed cycleway development of the defunct railway line in the south of the district.

By the time of our AGM / Open meeting on the 19th March at Speech House Hotel we should have a lot more information to share with you. We are planning a more social event for the evening but more details will be sent to you later….. don’t  forget to put the date in your diary now!

As ever, if you have a couple of hours free every other month we would welcome you on to the committee. Or if you have a particular skill to offer but can’t manage a regular meeting commitment, then do contact one of the committee to offer your help. Currently our website wouldn’t run without this kind of support and another member is hugely helpful with digital mapping exercises. At the moment we really need someone to take minutes of our meetings … the help could just simply be that, with no pressure to get involved in other “work”.