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The Big Hoof

We were delighted to welcome Louis Hall and his lovely mare Irelanda for a couple of days at Chariots for a well earned rest on their charity ride from John O’Groats to Land’s End. They are riding as The Big Hoof in aid of Cystic Fibrosis so head to their just giving web page – https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/louis-hallcf – to donate. Follow their progress on facebook @thebighoof.

We are recruiting…!

After eleven years with Chariots of Fire Louise is returning to Denmark to further her equestrian career there. We wish her well for the future. This means that we are looking for another full time equestrian coach/trainer to join us in September. You must have a coaching qualification equivalent to UKCC Level 1 or similar BHS qualification and experience. You will be coaching both riding and carriage driving to a wide range of people including those with additional needs and disabilities. You will also be involved in all the activities required to run a busy yard – everything from mucking out on a rota to teaching individuals and groups. Accommodation in a mobile home on site is available and stabling for one horse. If this sounds of interest please drop us an email to enquiries@chariotscic.org.uk and we can send you a full job description.

Coronavirus Update

Having read the updated Scottish government guidance issued on 31 July, it is clear that we cannot resume carriage driving activities for adults yet, as it is impossible to comply with the continued 2m social distancing requirements on a carriage. It looks like the next review date for that is the 24th August, so fingers crossed there will be some easement then. Sorry everyone – we are gutted. Kids under 12 aren’t restricted by social distancing, so are very welcome to take part in driving activities – just get in touch.

We have begun a phased reopening for riding lessons. Please call or message us if you would like to book a lesson. Existing clients are now getting used to all the new protocols that have to be in place to reduce the risk of Covid-19 and everyone is happy that our procedures are safe. All riders are required to wear a mask and gloves when they come on to the premises, and then you can have a discussion with the trainer about whether you feel more comfortable wearing one while you are riding or not. We would prefer it if you have your own riding hat although we do have some available to borrow. All tack is sanitised after each use. Hand sanitiser is available throughout the yard and should be used at the gates when entering and exiting. Please take note of all new signage around the yard including entry and exit routes. We are really sorry adult carriage drivers and volunteers, but you will have to wait a little longer until we feel these activities can be done safely within the social distancing rules.

Sports Driving Unlimited awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

Chariots of Fire is delighted to announce that our partner charity Sports Driving Unlimited has received The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. This is the highest award a charity could receive and we are all delighted. It is wonderful recognition of the hard work done by everyone involved in making our activities possible, you know who you are!

#QAVS2020 @queensawardforvoluntaryservice


Aviva Community Fund – raising funds for Sports Driving Unlimited

SDU is trying to raise funds through Crowdfunder and the Aviva Community Fund, for much needed activities for people with additional needs, delivered at Chariots.

Please click on the link to take a look at the project submitted to Aviva Community Fund https://www.avivacommunityfund.co.uk/sports-driving-1
The target must be reached in order to receive any funds so please share with your friends, or we may get nothing!

Outdoor season about to begin …

We are now heading for a busy summer of competition. Our trainers will be out competing around the country from the end of April – hoping to qualify for the National British Carriage Driving Championships in September.


Arena Challenge competitions at Chariots of Fire:

We will be holding 4 Arena Challenge competitions between April and September at Chariots. These are fun competitions – a course of cones and two obstacles to be driven (or ridden) as fast as you like! Go to our Events page for details of dates.

Solway Indoor Driving Competitions

The Indoor series at Newton Rigg Equestrian Centre, Penrith is over! We’ve run four classes – Open, Novice, Junior and Multiples – all qualifiers for the National Championships at Keysoe. Throughout the competitions Louise has continued to shine in the open pony (Stephie White snapping at her heels!) and tandem classes. Finlay has dominated the novice class and Matthew Powell has taken top spot in the junior class. Qualification for the championships at Keysoe is now decided and eight drivers will be making the journey down to Bedford for the National Indoor Carriage Driving Championships in April! Congratulations to all of them!

British Carriage Driving National Championships – August 2019

Having successfully completed qualifying competitions during the year, Chariots trainers Stephie White and Louise Kaiholm travelled to Bywell in Northumberland to take part in the annual championships held as the culmination of the outdoor carriage driving season. Ably supported by trainer and groom Kimberly Porteous, along with other members of the Chariots volunteer team, they raced through the three phases – dressage, marathon and cones – over the weekend. Louise started well winning the dressage phase of the Open Pony class and held on to her lead throughout the competition to finish as British National Open Pony Champion 2019. Steph’s dressage was challenged by gale force winds, but her marathon round was a cracker and she fought her way back with a second in both marathon and cones phases to finish as British National Pony Pairs Reserve Champion – the highest placed open pony pair of the competition. Steph has now achieved a reserve championship at both indoor and outdoor competitions, while Louise now has a number of champion titles in her collection! Their achievements reinforce the fact that the training at Chariots of Fire is of the highest level.




Grant funders

Thanks to The Holywood Trust and The Robertson Trust for supporting the work of Chariots of Fire with grant funding. It is invaluable for our work with young people with disabilities and additional needs.

We can also now supply recycling envelopes for ink cartridges etc through Recycle 4 Charity.  Contact Rosemary for envelopes. SDU can get £1 per cartridge – that soon adds up!

Sports Driving Unlimited Wheels to Freedom Appeal

Despite all the best efforts of the charity in trying to raise finance in a myriad of ways, we are always short of available funding. Rosemary and Liza spend hours completing grant applications and volunteers hold events, raffles etc. Can you help at all? Could you organise a fund raising event? Do you know anyone who might like to donate? Do you have any different ideas that we might not have thought of? Do you know of any charitable trusts that SDU might not have discovered yet? If you think you can help in any way at all, please contact us. Phone Rosemary on 01576 610544 or email us. There are a variety of ways you can support SDU while you are shopping too, using Amazon Smile or the Easyfundraising website. Both will give a small percentage of what you spend to our charity. You can also donate direct through Localgiving.

Dartmoor Hill Pony Association

Many of the ponies that we use for all our driving (and riding) activities are from the Dartmoor Hill breed. These are the most fantastic ponies with wonderful natures. Gentle, strong, gutsy, beautiful paces – there’s nothing in the smaller pony world to beat them.  They really need support though – they are vital for maintaining Dartmoor’s landscape and provide pleasure for visitors. But there is little general market for them and with indiscriminate breeding, too many foals are born. To save them from suffering, many are simply shot each autumn, which is a tragedy.  The solution is simple: contraceptives for the mares, Ponies on the Pill, but the Association urgently needs land to achieve this. Please take a look at their website (http://dartmoorhillpony.com/) and support them in any way you can.