Hello and welcome to our new website!
2012 has been a truly sparkling and memorable year for us all, starting with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, paying tribute to horses and horsemen around the world. Then the dazzling display of horsemanship and exceptional hard work and determination from Team GB to haul in more medals than we could have dreamt of at the London Games. Special mention must be made for our Para riders who simply wowed everyone, not only the equestrian nation but everyone who picked up a paper, switched on the TV or listened to the radio - touching and inspiring us all.
More recently we have been remembering the heroic horses involved in the World Wars, learning about the traumatic events undertaken by the men and their horses, taking comfort from one another in the harshest conditions imaginable.
2012 has been the golden year of the horse!
It doesn't stop there, it has been an exciting and successful year for Swindon & District Riding Club too!
'SDRC are back on the map' in the words of our Chair, Caron Roberts. Caron is right to be proud of the club and all our members who have represented it so ably. Representing the club doesn't just mean riding on the team, although we've had plenty of success in the arena. It is about enjoying being together; supporting one another, through encouraging words, giving a young spooky horse extra space in a clinic or bringing cake to a competition; its so much more than winning red rosettes. The ethos of SDRC is to promote harmony between horses and riders by improving the standard of riding, training and horsemanship.
It seems to promote harmony between all the humans too! Although I live far away in deepest darkest Oxfordshire I have been drawn to the club because there simply isn't anywhere else with the quality and continuity of training with so much personal support at a price I can afford! I'm sure many members feel the same. However, due to some changes in BRC administration it does mean that membership fees will have to increase a little bit, but I know Tam has got lots more Training Days in store for us, so we will still get tremendous value for money.
We need a new web/newsletter editor!
After seven or eight years of trotting back and forth from Oxfordshire to Wiltshire, I’ve decided my poor old joints can’t take the roadwork, so with sadness I shall be resigning from the SDRC committee.
I can hear you sigh with relief even from here, but seriously, I’ve had great a time being involved with the Club since the start and our wonderful trip to Germany with Caron and Alley Cat on Team GB with Angela (our Treasurer, who now refuses to share a small room with me, let alone a tent) and Kate (founder member and faraway friend). Our first ever trip to Lincoln with the Novice team getting into the top three. I’ve had so many wonderful times with members old and new, really too many to mention. I’ve met some wonderful friends and through the club learnt so much.
We are looking for a new ‘web/newsletter editor’ and I am looking forward to an overwhelming response, as I think many of you will be really keen and excited to get involved with the committee work and the privilege of disseminating all our activities and news! The new site is hosted on 'Weebly' and it is easy peasy with lots of fantastic and interactive features including multimedia and on line payments! Get in touch with me if you would like to find out more and put yourself forward for this role.
In the meantime, I thank you all for being great comrades joining me in the BRC mission to improve and maintain the standard of horsemanship and improve the welfare of the horse. I should also like to share my thought for the day, which has become more evident to me over the last few months, in that we are very lucky to have a Chair who is directly involved in training our members. This is a really valuable asset which should be cherished as our enthusiastic members and their pony partners are continually evaluated in terms of soundness and tack fitting, educated correctly using the scales of training and encouraged every step of the way to achieve dreams they may not have even dared to dream.
In the meantime..We wish you a very merry Christmas and every success in your training and competitions in the New Year and for happy healthy horses and riders, from all at SDRC.
Explore the new
SWINDON & DISTRICT RIDING CLUB
e-newsletter December 2012
and a message..
An exciting day with Mary King
Mary King with junior member Demi Davis at the Autumn Training Day
We had a wonderful day with Mary. It was a great honour for the club to host the down-to-earth international eventing superstar after her team silver medal success at London 2012.
Her exceptional horsemanship, attention to detail, and common sense all wrapped up in oodles of enthusiasm provided a fantastic day of training.
Members at all levels had the chance to take part in small groups with Mary, first working on the flat, really getting their horses forward thinking and listening. Mary all the while imparting her wisdom and experience in such an unassuming and warm way. Moving onto the jumping exercises, each group were challenged by a seemingly simple grid and short course of fences, but Mary used each and every fence in such a way that horses and riders had to think quickly. Mary emphasised that riders must have quick reactions to cope with cross-country jumping. Thinking quickly, regaining balance quickly (especially when the knitting goes famously awry!) and getting back into rhythm quickly - all the ingredients for an international event rider! Photos from Sally's album on Facebook!
An inspiring day with Anne Dunham
Anne Dunham demonstrating her freestyle test with LJT Lucas. Amber also in the pic.
As Olympic fever gathered momentum were were privileged to share Anne's inspiring and humbling story. As Amber's mum we often see Anne at our events, but many of us were not aware of Anne's many achievements including her MBE in the 2009 New Year Honours.
At 27, Anne was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and began using a wheelchair at 30, but she did not start to ride competitively until she was 40 when her husband sold his business. By 1996 Anne was competing in paradressage and took home gold and bronze from Atlanta Paralympics, the first to include dressage. Anne’s success continued with gold from Sydney in 2000 and was later awarded the British Dressage Outstanding Contribution award in 2003. In 2004 she took home gold from Athens. In 2011 Anne was named The Sunday Times disabled sportswoman of the year. In fact, Anne has taken gold medals from four consecutive Games.
We were blessed with one of the rare days of sunshine for Anne's visit, free for members who were able to christen the new spectator grandstand built by David Graham at Caron Roberts Equestrian. So sun and seats!
Anne described the Para dressage grades and the evolution of the sport. She said 'The nature of the sport has changed over the years. We used to only have five days to get used to the horses but after Sydney we could take horses we had built up a partnership with'. Anne's last Games at Beijing brought about her proudest moment as she finally won the individual gold that had eluded her for so long. Anne, glowing with pride and humility at the same time, encouraged us all to hold her precious medals, describing the circumstances and atmosphere of each competition. It was a very moving afternoon learning how very simple things we take for granted are so obstructive in Anne's daily routine, but she is a very tough and resolute lady, an elite athlete like any able bodied rider. What really shone through for me was Anne's tremendous love for her horses and her appreciation for the chances she had been given first through RDA and then up through the levels to world class performance with lottery money.
Anne's ridden display put us all to shame, as she demonstrated the true meaning of harmony and lightness. Anne has no command over her legs so Lucas was required to carry out all his movements through her seat and voice aids. Lucas is an exceptionally eye-catching horse, but together the combination of Anne and Lucas are breathtaking, making half passes look so easy and what a walk, simply to die for.
Anne conveyed her hopes to be selected for London 2012 with her two horses Teddy and LJT Lucas Normark, but by no means took it for granted. She described the competitiveness of the Para ranks, especially her own grade, and the strategy to select across the grades. Anne was not selected for London but she has been out competing very successfully in able-bodied classes with the fabulous spotted stallion Lady Joseph Trust Lucas, so the selectors had best watch out, as this impressive pair will be ready for Rio!
An amazing afternoon with
Au revoir from me for now, but a final message for 2013!