A riding school has been forced to lance false whispers about its closure by issuing flyers saying “Rumours of our demise have been greatly exaggerated.”
Ditchling Common Stud is famous for teaching Mounted Skill-at-Arms – a highly-skilled sport where riders pierce a peg in the ground and remove it on the point of a lance or sword.
The Stud on Ditchling Common, which is home to the Sussex Peggers Riding Club, is on land that has outline planning permission for 480 homes at Kings Way on the eastern outskirts of Burgess Hill.
Joyce Dudeney, who runs the riding school with her husband John, said: “Whilst outline planning permission to develop the land was granted in December last year, the land has not been sold and we are still open for business. Rumours of our closure are simply not true!
“We will remain here for the foreseeable future until we are forced to move. When that will be we have no idea.
“We have no objection to the development. With all these things, however, they do take time. In the interim we need to keep the business going until we eventually move – hopefully, not too far away.”
The riding school teaches general riding skills including dressage, show-jumping and cross-country as well as Mounted Skill-at-Arms and is open as usual on Thursdays through to Sundays between 9am and 6pm.
There are several disciplines involved in Mounted Skill-at-Arms, such as slicing an orange or penetrating straw dummies with a sword. The sport has a military background.
Legend has it that when Alexander the Great invaded India in 326 B.C his mounted soldiers rode out at dawn removing, with their lances, the pegs that held their enemy’s tents to the ground.
Joyce said: “My husband and I are very passionate about this sport and hope to continue, in one way or another, to develop and promote it after we have moved.
“The sport may sound easy but it has to be done at a gallop, so the rider has to be able to think fast and aim faster!”
The housing development scheme is likely to go at a gentler trot. Detailed plans beyond the outline stage have yet to be drawn up and approved by the district council. Developer Sunley wants to build 144 “affordable” homes as part of the scheme to meet the need for social housing.
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Weather for Haywards Heath
Wednesday 19 June 2013
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