CHAIRMAN - Janet Bower
I rode as a child around a leafy village in Surrey on a lovely pony called Midnight, sometime I got lucky and rode Toppo, the star of the show at the time. I recall the lady who ran it was called Jackie and I longed to grow up doing what she did, the stable was in the back of what had been the old fire station and was a haven. I regularly asked for a pony in the garden but Father Christmas failed to deliver!
I moved to London in my 20’s and rode regularly making lots of noises about getting my own horse but then life and work gets in the way of things we love and all my riding time got eaten away.
Finally, having done the duty of care and bringing up my two girls, looking after elderly parents and generally fighting time to get some for me, I picked up a local paper and read an article about ladies going back to riding and decided to give it a go. In 2015 I bought Dr Monty and have not stopped smiling since. It’s been a steep learning curve, the body certainly has had to adjust but that is way I am so keen on the riding club because together we get through it with a smile and along with making friends and having fun, we support each other doing something we all love with the most incredible creatures.
SECRETARY - Shelley Bracey
I joined the Wessex Riding Club in the hope that I would find some new "horsey" friends after relocating from Derbyshire. I was also hoping to be inspired to attempt something other than gentle hacking - which is all I had ever done with my beloved mare, Truly Scrumptious. Since joining the club, I have met some lovely friends and their gorgeous horses, attended lots of interesting talks and outings, been to a couple of club training sessions, joined the Pleasure Riding Scheme and the club committee. Best of all, I have been encouraged to have a go at dressage.
Having had Truly from a foal and as an inexperienced rider, neither of us knew what we were doing so I was extremely nervous and self-conscious about attempting to take up dressage at the age of 50! I really needn't have worried - the atmosphere at WRC competitions is so friendly, supportive and encouraging that I soon got the dressage bug. Truly and I have become regular entrants and we have enjoyed progressing from Intro level to Prelim and are planning to have a go at dressage to music this year!
DRESSAGE - Ali Clarke
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!
TREASURER- Hazel England
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 ;-)
PLEASURE RIDING - Caroline Carroll
I have loved horses for as long as I can remember and I learned to ride when I was 9. I was much happier having riding lessons than pocket money! The first horse I owned was a Connie-Thoroughbred cross called Darky. He taught me how to ride, fall off - and get back on again! I then had a share in a lovely Quarter horse-Thoroughbred cross named Poppy and that was when I became a member of the Wessex Riding Club. We had great fun trying to learn dressage and my passion, dressage to music. Then I found (or he found me) my best friend, Jigsaw (Stinky). He has been the best horse I could have asked for. We have done so much together – best of all, dressage to music!
TRAINING - Lorna Warren
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.
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
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.