Category Archives: Reports

VVRC Side Saddle Demo

Back in November we were joined by Emma Wood a side saddle instructor from Manchester. Emma gave our members an informative talk on the costumes and types of habit worn by side saddle riders before showing us a selection of side saddles from the 1900s. 
We were shown how a side saddle should fit on our beautiful demo horse Toby, and talked us through positioning of the demo rider, Ali.  It was Toby’s first time under the side saddle and he was a total star! 

Following the demo, six riders had a thirty minute private session with Emma on their own horse. Lots of progress was made during each session with most riders trotting and a few even cantering! Riders even wore the habit that Emma had brought with her to look the part. 

The afternoon proved to be a huge success with most of the horses and riders taking to side saddle ‘like ducks to water’ 

Area Winter Novice Show jumping at Southview. November 5th 2017

Two teams went to this Area competition with the ‘A’ team comprising of Hollie Hindley, Meg Higginson, Ali Harper and Gina Williams who went really well in the first round finishing on a ‘0’ score; but not so good in the 2nd round & finished on a score of 24 so just out of rosettes coming 7th.
Unfortunately due to last minute lameness the ‘B’ team was down to three: Paula Jeffreson, Lauren Lawley and Siân Bates who all got around in a nice style but unfortunately were not in the running as one of the horses took a dislike to the double.
Everybody was organised on the day and thanks to Debbie Pennington who did half a day’s help on car parking duties.
I am now looking for keen riders for the Intermediate show jumping at Northop on March 18th and the combined training competition (date to be decided).


The cold conditions stopped play on the original date between Christmas and New Year, but we managed to hold the Christmas Crackers show on the 7th January at Rhôs. Again, it was a cold day but at least the sun was out! Great fun was had by all. We started with a fancy-dress parade – Ali and Kat had sensibly opted for large warm handmade noses -a site to behold but everyone wished they had them by the end.
Then we did some fun games including eat the dry cracker, find the sweet in the icing sugar (no hands allowed), polo bending relay race, mug race, and sock in the bucket. This was followed by fastest walk and trot jumping, run and ride and finally a speed pairs competition. All the horses loved it- Jack thought it was so much fun he bucked back down the arena every time, Trilby at 28 forgot his brakes and Roland got over his initial nerves to brave all the fun and games. Kat and Ali came joint first for their fancy dress -well they were identical! The teams (Kat, Ali, and Helen vs Meg, Paula, and Jane ended up on equal points so everyone was happy. The morning was finished off with hot mulled wine, mince pies and stollen. Well it was still nearly Christmas!! Many thanks to all who came and especially to Pete Stephens for helping me set things out, hold horses and lug show jumps.

Area 20 Dressage Report

Four intrepid members set off for Somerford on a bitterly cold but bright day on November 12th to compete in the area winter novice competition. The team of Nicky Crooks, Janet Warner, Gina Williams, and Christine Hughes braved the cold conditions to represent VVRC. All did very well with the team coming a creditable 5th overall. Gina, at her 1st competition representing VVRC came 10th, Christine 8th, and Janet came 1st. Janet is now off to the championships at Bury Farm on 14th April Good luck, Janet!
We had two teams competing at the intermediate area qualifiers. The original date at the end of October had to be cancelled due to Storm Brian hitting the UK. The new date was rearranged for 2nd and 3rd December at Tushingham. After a few changes of riders, and some last-minute stand ins, we still managed to send two teams of four. Neither team managed to get into the rosettes but very well done to all who took part. The teams were: VVRC Diamonds – Irene Gill (10th), Janet Warner, Izzy Roberts, and Elspeth Carr, and the VVRC Emeralds – Nicky Crooks, Vicky Poole, Pete Stephens, and Myfi Powell. Elspeth also entered the individual medium class where Matt the hunter/dressage diva strutted his stuff to come 6th. A very well done to all of you and thank you to those who stepped in to take the place of those who could not make the new date.
The summer dressage qualifier is on July 29th, so I will be putting a call out for members to enter this in the spring.

VVRC Raise funds for Brooke at Wynnstay Farmers’ Open Day

Wynnstay Farmers in Oswestry offered VVRC a stall at their Open Day in October and they suggested that we raised money for a charity of our choice.   Committee  chose to support Brooke which provides veterinary treatment to hard working horses, donkeys and mules in the poorest parts of the world and we decided to organise a tombola.
We were delighted with the response from our members when asked for donations and scores of items arrived for our stall.  The top prize was a body massage with one of our members, Vicki Luxmoore who is a Sports Massage Therapist.
Riding Club operated a rota of two hour shifts with two members on each session.  It worked wonderfully well with lots of members popping in to support us and we all thoroughly enjoyed the day.
The good news is that we raised £150.00 for Brooke.
Thank you to everyone who gave gifts for the tombola and supported us and of course a huge thank you is due to our shift workers.
Brooke sent me banners and leaflets to hand out  and a box of Brooke pens to sell.  I still have some of these pens left  and hopefully will be able to sell them all at events during the spring and summer.  So if you see me with a bag of pens do please come and buy one.
Thank you, Anne  

BHS Cloud

There is a new BRC online member only area that all riding clubs now have access to.

It’s called the ‘BHS Cloud’ and will be a useful tool for all riding clubs, committees and members used for the sharing of BRC ‘member only’ information and documents.

BRC Datasheets and other useful Information will now be found on this new Cloud, along with some new Datasheets that we have been asked for by our membership.

BRC will send email alerts out to all clubs when new content is added so the riding club are able to keep up to date with all BRC new information.

All BRC Clubs and Centres have been set up with their own specific username and password and as a member you will have been e-mailed this information

The Cloud can be accessed here:

Inter-club Show Jumping 2017

This year’s Inter-Club Show Jumping was a lot of fun so thank you everyone who came and made it such a success! We had lots of new members jumping as well as members who only jump in public on very special occasions (shout out to my mum! proud daughter moment) and it was great seeing everyone jump for their club teams.
Thanks to VVRC members’ jumping successes on the day, we won the inter-club show jumping trophy for the second year in a row! Our competitor of the day was Babs Williams who earned the most points overall for the team. It was particularly fantastic to see Babs take home the prize because she has competed for us every year and it has been amazing to see her grow in confidence each time.
This competition couldn’t run without a squad of kind and helpful volunteers from both clubs who pole-pick, score, and go on arena gate duty. Big thanks to Sally Evans who kindly judged and commentated, and Gaynor Morgan who used her accounting skills to score for us again this year. Also, thanks needs to go to Jane Yorke who did a fabulous job of judging the style class for us.
We’re hoping to run the competition again next year. I really would like to stress that Polly (Dolfor RC rep) and I want to make this competition accessible to EVERYONE and jumps will be made as big or as small as they people who turn up to compete want to jump. This year we started at 45cm with a jump off at 50cm, but if people want poles on the ground to start with that’s absolutely fine! Our aim is to give everyone a chance to fly the flag for their club, and your club team will gain points just for you entering.
The classes we generally run are three normal rounds of show jumping with a jump off for clear rounds, at heights depending on what people want to jump. We also have an accumulator (1 minute to jump as many fences as you can), pairs (each partner jumps a shorter round of jumps (no one steal Heather, she’s my jumping partner!)), style class (not only do you need to leave the jumps up, you need to do it smartly), and chase-me-charlie (jumps go up and up – complete opposite to the limbo).
Look forward to seeing you all next year – lets go for three years in a row! Kat

The Wobbleberry Challenge

This time last year I saw a post on Facebook about a challenge to raise money for Hannah Francis’s Willberry Wonder Pony charity.  Hannah was a talented young eventer who passed away last Summer due to osteosarcoma, and had set up a charity to help other young people with conditions like hers.  The challenge was for riders who had not evented before to complete a BE80 during the 2017 season.  The challenge was targeted at ‘wimpy, middle aged riders’ so I fitted the bill!  In my late 40’s and although a keen rider I limited my activities to low level dressage and hacking. Even the thought of jumping makes me feel very nervous so I knew it was going to be a big ask.  

I should say a bit about my Wobbleberry partner Bob.  I’ve owned Bob for 8 years and he’s a 15.3 ID x TB who is now 15.  As Bob has had the misfortune of being owned by me  his jumping experiences have also been very limited.  Fortunately Bob has taken to jumping very easily and seems to have some natural aptitude for it making up for my complete lack of talent in the discipline!!  
So having been accepted onto the challenge late last year, jumping lessons started in earnest in December and continued as often as I could manage.  I joined VVRC at the beginning of the year and having gone to a Wobbleberry XC training session at Kelsall and then the BRC grassroots XC training at Somerford, I began to go to some VVRC clinics.  First we went to an all day clinic with Alison Lewis in Meifod in April which was fantastic because we were able to do dressage, SJ and XC on grass all on the same day.  Then I took up the offer to train with Janet Green and those hoping to compete at Area horse trials over the Llanymynech BE course at the end of May.  I think this was the turning point for me as by this point I felt able to jump all the 80 fences.  
Having had a couple of practice runs in June and July at Area horse trials and then Radfords compact eventing, I entered the BE80 at Llanymynech at the end of August.  I can’t really describe how nervous I felt in the run up to this.  The SJ particularly bothered me – the thought of going into that ring!  I hardly slept the night before but the day started well and Bob warmed up lovely for the dressage.  The test itself was OK and we got 31.8.  Then onto the SJ.  I didn’t spend long warming up as it only serves to make me more nervous and tires Bob so once I was happy that he was jumping cleanly we went in.  I couldn’t believe we had a lovely clear round, even over all those really wide oxers that I’d had nightmares about the night before!! I then made the fatal mistake of thinking we were home and dry as Bob had been so reliable XC.  Just goes to show we must never take anything for granted with horses . We had a silly spook at fence 2 on the XC and I fell off!! No harm done so I got back on and flew the rest of the course clear.  Next time I will remember to keep my leg on!!  
I’m thrilled to have been part of this challenge, I’ve really enjoyed the year and with the help and support of so many people Bob and I have raised nearly £700 for Hannah’s charity.   I attended a presentation at Blenheim Horse Trials in September for Wobbleberries that have completed and was overwhelmed by what the challenge has done for people individually and collectively. Apparently the fund raising total is currently at nearly £220K.  
Wobbleberry HQ will shortly be taking registrations for 2018 if you’re interested, I can wholeheartedly recommend it!  

Debbie Pennington

VVRC Camp at Berriewood Farm

July saw another successful Riding Club Camp at Berriewood, with 30 attendees!

Lessons began on Friday afternoon for some with Polework and Showjumping lessons with Kim Webster, with other campers arriving through the evening.

After a busy afternoon the hungry bunch were fed by a delivery from the local pub, followed by a ‘few’ drinks and some samples for our 4 legged friends from Horse Hage.

Saturday saw an early start for some, with others feeling a little worse for ware!

We welcomed Sally Poppe, Janet Green and Nicky Shipp for a full day of teaching. We also had a visit from Sarah, a Topspec Rep, who weighed our horses and provided us with some goodies, which I think was a highlight for some members.

The evening saw a demonstration from Emily Pryce, where we welcomed some extra members for the evening.  After the informative demonstration from Emily, a selection of food was delivered.

With the weather on our side, the campers enjoyed an evening Yoga session outside hosted by Kat, followed by numerous drinks and chit chat.

 On Sunday we got some weather that wasn’t ordered but this didn’t dampen our spirits! With instruction from Ticky Fletcher, Elspeth Carr & Nicky Shipp it was another great day.

 Camp drew to a close with lots of smiles from our members and even suggestions of a longer camp or 2 camps!!!

 Thanks to Penny for the fantastic venue and facilities, all of our instructors, our special guests Emily, Sarah and Martha Lily and last but certainly not least Sally whom I could not have organised camp without.

 Look forward to seeing you all next year.