I have had the horsey bug for as long as I can remember, I learnt to ride as a child and after several years of persistent nagging, I got my first pony aged 11 and I’ve been hooked ever since.  I sadly lost by beautiful old boy (Murphy) a couple of years ago at the age of 25.  We had a great partnership for over 20 years and had done a bit of everything together from hunting to dressage.  We now have three horses at home, which my daughter rides and competes to.  Luckily (I think) my boys prefer 4 wheels to 4 legs? I wanted to join a riding club that was local and active.  Wessex RC have a great venue for training and competitions as well as running lots for extra curriculum activities.  Everybody I have meet has been lovely, very supportive and not at all intimating.



After many years of being a happy hacker with my life long mare (Karris) who is now grazing in the big field in the sky ;-) I was offered the chance loan the beautiful Biscuit……. I soon got the BUG for dressage ;-)  both Biscuit and I are enjoying building our partnership together with the help of our instructor Sarah Mitchel-Shepard and my lovely son Matthew (as caller) because no matter how much I try to remember the tests my mind goes blank when I enter the dressage arena!! With the help and encouragement of my friends and family I have found the confidence to attend local low key events.

I can’t express how welcome I was made to feel at the Wessex riding club ;-)  their dressage events are relaxed but professional and there is always someone willing to help you ;-)

I have now joined the committee and look forward to being a closer part of the club ;-)


Horses have been my passion for as long as I can remember. I worked with horses when I left school first at a riding school, then a livery yard for hunters, South Dorset Hunt, the Cattistock Hunt, National Hunt horses near Blandford and a stud near Salisbury, before settling down and getting a "proper job", so we could afford to get a home of our own.   I bought my first horse in my 30s when I earned enough to keep her on full livery and dreamed of the weekends when I could get up early and ride out.

Now, I am lucky enough to have my horses at home with me, something I always dreamed of when I was growing up.  I have Casper a 15hh flea bitten grey Irish Sports Horse, and a 13.2 piebald Icelandic Horse Korrall.  

I joined the Wessex Riding Club in 2020, as I was looking to expand my experience with Casper and meet like-minded people and I wasn't disappointed.  Everyone is always supportive and encouraging and that is why I agreed to become treasurer to help pay back by getting involved.


I started life on a farm in Scotland, with a big sister who was already riding horses, so I was put into a saddle long before I could walk and unlike my twin brother, I caught the bug. From thereon I have ridden wherever I have lived. After a dry spell my dear friend Janet persuaded me to start riding again about 5 years ago and of course I was bitten all over again!!!

My love of horses has never left me and now I’m the Dressage Co-Ordinator for the Wessex Riding Club. It has been a challenge to step into the shoes of those who have managed the Dressage Events in the past but I hope they approve with what I have done and I would like to thank them for their support and for passing on their knowledge.

Joining the club has been a wonderful way to meet new people all who have the same love for these beautiful creatures.

I now have a new challenge which is to do a dressage test myself!

TRAINING    - Catherine Shakespeare

I started riding at the age of 5 in weekly lessons and quickly caught the bug, spending any spare moment I could at the stables. This gradually progressed and after sharing a horse, Bianca who taught me a lot, for many years I eventually got my own, Dillon. He taught me even more and we quickly got out and about doings lot of hacking, dressage, a bit of show jumping and our favourite cross country. I was then gifted Copper by a friend of of ours who I did some dressage and lots of hacking on, but she is now 30 and in her well deserved retirement.
I now also have Noodles who is turning out to be a dressage superstar as well as a super jumper and has become a regular at the riding club dressage series.
I have joined the committee to try and help arrange some training a mixture of flatwork, jumping and maybe some cross country clinics in the summer to try and encourage more members and to provide (hopefully) a welcome variety for the existing members



I am married with 2 teenage daughters who both ride. My eldest shares my horse Cello and my youngest is lucky enough to share my friend and fellow members horse Minnie. I also own Ottilie - my newly weaned foal. 

I have been riding nearly all my life and I have been a member of WRC for many years. Many of you may remember my ex racer Onslow coming to dressage and my Irish mare Cloud who is the mother to my foal... More recently you may know me with Cello - she came out to WRC camps then unfortunately had a field injury in June and following surgery related to a fractured tibia she is now working back to normal riding. We are hacking and schooling and I have booked the Dressage to Music workshop in January and remain optimistic that we will be back in action for 2022!


AREA 17 REP - Sam Painter

I started riding at the age of 7 in Germany. I went to the local riding school every week for lessons and this is where my passion for riding began. I got involved with as much as  I could, even pantomimes on horseback. The pantomimes were short lived though. I was the fairy godmother in Cinderella and sat in a cart that someone decided to put down without warning so went tumbling out headfirst, much to my families and the rest of the audiences amusement!
We moved around a lot throughout my childhood so I never really settled into a yard for long or had the chance to join any clubs.
I spent my school years working at the weekends at a hunting yard and a competition yard and then after my A-Levels took on a working pupil role at an event yard.
I worked at the event yard for a couple of years developing my riding but unfortunately also realised I couldn't afford to live on the pay so ended up trapped in the 9-5 office life, met my husband and had my son, Jamie. Riding had come to an abrupt halt.
When Jamie was 6 I took him to the local riding school and like me he loved every lesson. I was jealous of him riding so started up again myself. That was 8 years ago.
In Summer 2019 I took the plunge and bought our first horse, Ronnie, from the yard owner. We are slowly building on our relationship and I am trying to get Ronnie out as much as possible so Jamie can have lots of fun on him in the future.
I enjoy the social side of horses so wanted to join a club where I could meet new people but also get out competing, however, hadn't expected to be joining the committee!
I really love seeing people enjoying riding and giving things a go so I look forward to meeting you all at future club events and hopefully joining in at some Area 17 events too.