Equestrian clubs, whether they be riding clubs, Pony Clubs or other groups, play an important role in introducing new faces to the sport and helping riders of all levels get the most out of their passion.
The HorseDialog Club of the Year award celebrates the organisations that bring riders together and best supports them in achieving their goals — changing riders’ experiences for the better.
“Sponsorship of the Horse & Hound Club of the Year Award, enables HorseDialog to proudly recognise the important role of Riding Clubs and Pony Clubs around the country, in providing support, encouragement and education to riders of all levels,” said a HorseDialog spokesman.
Previous winners of this award include:
- 2018: Aberdeen Riding Club
- 2017: Willow Farm
- 2016: Crown
The H&H judging panel, which included at least one independent judge, chose the following shortlist of four contenders from all the nominees received. The shortlist was opened to a public vote and the winner was announced at the gala awards dinner at Cheltenham on Wednesday 4 December.
HorseDialog Club of the Year 2019 winner
Royal Artillery Equestrian Centre Thorney Island
Year founded: 1985, and gained charitable status in 2014
Number of members: 900, 80% of whom are military personnel
2019 highlight: “Hosting the Blind Veterans UK as part of their summer activities. Around 25 blind veterans and their helpers visited us to experience the positive benefit of equine interaction.”
Annual event not to be missed: “Our three-day summer riding camp. We work with many children who have physical, emotional and learning challenges — to see those who attend grow and form new friendships is truly wonderful.”
What members say: “An outstanding organisation, which works with many other military charities to help others experience the positive impact of horses. They fundraise tirelessly to provide free riding to those who need it most.”
HorseDialog Club of the Year 2019 runners-up
Year founded: 2014
Number of members: 211
2019 highlight: “Being nominated for this award for a third time.”
Annual event not to be missed: “Our summer camp at the Unicorn Trust Centre. A long weekend of horses, friends, training, lots of laughter, food and gin!”
What the members say: “A very bubbly group of people, always supporting and encouraging everyone. Crown offers a wide range of training sessions, including horse agility. The club caters for so many different types of rider. It doesn’t matter what you want to do or how you do it, you are treated with kindness, respect and support, plus a tremendous dollop of fun. The leadership team also seem to know us all, which is incredible, and are absolutely lovely.”
Year founded: 2002
Number of members: 150
2019 highlight: “Our dressage camp — good training, excellent company and yummy food!”
Annual event not to be missed: “Our winter dressage series. This is our most popular event with more than 10 different championship titles to be won.”
What the members say: “Simply the best! A club with something for everyone, whatever your age or ability. I love competing and joining in the clinics, as does my six-year-old son. The range of talks and other activities, such as quizzes, is great.”
“Equi-Fun encourages members of all ages to participate in all events. Being 19, I feel too old for Pony Club but too young for ‘adult’ riding, yet don’t feel out of place here at all.”
Ulverston and District Equine Club (UDEC)
Year founded: 1982/83
Number of members: 130
2019 highlight: “Our shows, held on a working farm. These include our tiny tots show, to build confidence, and our in-hand show, where we also try to include our non-riding members. Our sash and sponsors day is our most hotly contested annual event. Panel judges are used at all our events to give excellent advice and feedback to members.”
Annual event not to be missed: “The presentation night ball — the evening is subsidised by the club, as a thank you to members, and usually sells out in a week.”
What the members say: “UDEC is a great, friendly club with positive attitudes towards helping and supporting each other. It is one big happy family and very welcoming.”