Vote for the HorseDialog Club of the Year

  • Riders depend on these organisations that unite riders and guide them towards reaching their goals — whether that’s at 50cm or BE novice

    Forces Equine

    Year founded: 2008

    Number of members: 831 (riding and non-riding)

    2018 highlight: many — it’s the club’s 10th anniversary and the passion and loyalty its riders show alongside their dedication to their jobs and the organisation are definite highlights. For example, PC Charlotte Lee winning at the London Global Champions Tour; crew manager Sally Ann Walker’s prix st georges victory at Bury Farm High Profile Show; police inspector Lesley Wheatley crowned Horse & Hound Festival of Dressage champion; PC Philippa Wratten qualifying for Horse of the Year Show and Evie Toombes winning a WellChild Award.

    Annual event not to be missed: the Forces Equine Games, a two-day championships; and their own awards hosted by Geoff Billington.

    What the members say: “By far the best riding club I have had the pleasure to be part of — it is friendly, encouraging and fun.”

    “Forces Equine’s elite programme has allowed its top riders to gain sponsorship and support to take them to the next level.”

    Equestrian Training South West

    Year founded: 2017

    Number of members: 313

    2018 highlight: the growth in numbers, clinics, skills, competitions and friendships. Membership numbers to date have far exceeded the founders’ wildest dreams and they are thrilled that what they offer seems to strike a chord with so many people.

    Annual event not to be missed: as a newly minted club, they hope that some of this year’s key events will become annual traditions. At this stage it would have to be summer camp — a weekend of pure horsey indulgence for members.

    What the members say: “There is a supportive community feel, and the club is very inclusive, with members participating at all levels, from intro tests and cross-poles to British Eventing (BE) novice plus.

    “There’s something on two or three times a week at different venues with a different focus for each one, so you can get out there and get involved very easily.”

    West Oxfordshire (WORC)

    Year founded: 1975

    Number of members: 91

    2018 highlight: the British Riding Club National Championships. The club always sends a fun team or two and has a strong team spirit, and non-riding members come to watch. The club’s dressage leagues are another highlight — the June event had sunshine, a perfect new venue and even a Pimm’s and ice-cream bar.

    Annual event not to be missed: the riding club eventers’ challenge at Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials — selectors work on the basis that for Blenheim the members on the challenge should be picked from the club’s team players. This can be anyone who has helped by volunteering, giving a great performance at other events or maybe even someone new who shows great enthusiasm.

    What the members say: “The support that they provide the members is fantastic, whether jumping 50cm or over 1m it doesn’t matter: the main aim is to have fun and enjoy your horse.”

    “The club is very fond of fundraising for charity, last year raising money for Hannah’s Willberry Wonder Pony and this year Helen & Douglas House.”

    Aberdeen Riding Club (ARC)

    Year founded: 1993

    Number of members: 400

    2018 highlight: the first was starting new therapy riding sessions — in 2018, the club received its accessibility mark approval from the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) and now runs a fully subsidised weekly therapy session for some amazing young riders. The second highlight was seeing three of the liveries, who have trained with ARC since they were beginners, selected for the BE under-18 Scottish team.

    Annual event not to be missed: the August show. Watching members queuing overnight to “book” their favourite horse or pony, having fun preparing them, then taking part in a variety of classes is always the highlight of the year and has a brilliant atmosphere.

    What the members say: “ARC is a non-profit-making organisation, whose main aim is to make riding accessible to all. It provides 20 funded riding places each week to underprivileged children and provides ponies and facilities free to the local RDA Hippotherapy group. It has also coached over 590 people towards their British Horse Society exams.”

    Voting is now closed

    The Award winners will be revealed at the H&H Awards dinner on 8 November at Cheltenham Racecourse, to which all those shortlisted will be invited with a guest.

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