‘A remarkable lady’: farewell to much-loved riding school founder


  • Claire Robinson, the much-loved riding school proprietor, charity trustee, and long-standing British Horse Society (BHS) volunteer died on 17 August, aged 56, from cancer.

    Miss Robinson grew up in Billingham, Stockton-on-Tees. She started riding as a child, and her equestrian career began when she started helping out at Tunstall Riding School as a teenager.

    Miss Robinson was self-employed throughout most of her life, and was known to be a “wholly hands-on career woman”. In 2008 she founded the BHS-approved riding school Robinson’s Equi Teach, where hundreds of people made their first connection with horses under her tutelage.

    She started volunteering as a welfare adviser with the BHS in 1998, and in 2019 became BHS Cleveland chair. In 2014 she received a BHS welfare award, and a fundraising award in 2016. Through her welfare work, over the years Miss Robinson took in rescue horses and ponies, and spent time rehabilitating them before finding them lifelong homes. One of these ponies, Hunky Dory, went on to win at the Horse of the Year Show in 2018.

    Miss Robinson was a huge supporter of the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA), and taught at the RDA Unicorn Centre. She later formed the Stokesley RDA group, and delivered lessons from her riding school. She was a member of the RDA Yorkshire and Cleveland regional committee, and was very supportive of local groups and coaches.

    Her lifelong interest in equine welfare led to her becoming a trustee with charity Here4Horses. Miss Robinson’s friends described her as “innately benevolent”, with an “exceptional ability to unite others in support of needy causes”. Her “small but mighty” team raised almost £10,000 for Here4Horses, and other fundraising efforts included raising more than £10,000 for the Cleveland branch of the Motor Neurone Disease Association, and around £30,000 for the RDA.

    “There really are not enough superlatives to describe this remarkable lady,” said Miss Robinson’s friends.

    She is survived by her son David, daughter-in-law Jen, and granddaughter Freya.

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