Marking a Momentous Milestone!
British Riding Clubs is delighted to announce that Alvechurch RC, based in the village of the same name near Redditich (Area 5), who recently applied for BRC affiliation, has been named as the 500th Club to join the movement.
A formal presentation was made to the club by Andrew Chadwick, BRC Chairman, and Sarah Phillips, BHS Director of Participation, at the Club’s showground in Tardebigge, Worcs. This took place during a regular Club showing show, which was in full swing, when the BRC team arrived with a celebration cake, Bucks Fizz, flowers and a certificate to toast the landmark occasion.
Hilary Moses, Chairman of Alvechurch RC, said: “Alvechurch RC (ARC) decided to affiliate to BRC as we are a long established club and looking to broaden our horizons. We are a grass roots club and would like to encourage our members to take part in what BRC offers in terms of competitions leading to national championships. The club will also benefit from the expertise at BRC, enabling ARC to deliver more events, training and a more professional approach. As BRC’s 500th member club we already feel very special!”
Hilary and her highly organised committee team had carefully prepared the day, which saw regular members of all ages taking part in a range of classes. Many of these came together at midday to watch a side-saddle demonstration by Victoria Nicholls, BHS & SSA registered instructor, who initially instructed Hilary and her seven-year-old Irish Sport Horse, Max, who had never been ridden side-saddle before. Both horse and rider ably took to this new experience in front of the crowd and quickly progressed from walk to trot around the dressage arena. Victoria then gave the crowd an inspired and skilful display of side-saddle horsemanship, teaching Max to go forward freely in walk, trot and canter, before heading off to one of the arenas to complete a small showjumping round. Her ability at this discipline was clearly evident, demonstrating how an inexperienced horse soon happily accepts the side-saddle.
Following this display, Andrew Chadwick, went on to set the scene for the presentation. “We are thrilled that Alvechurch RC has applied to join BRC, this is an existing, long standing club and exactly the type of club to benefit from all that BRC can offer their grass roots riders,” he said. Sarah Phillips read out a letter from Lynn Petersen, Chief Executive of The British Horse Society, congratulating ARC on becoming the 500th Club to affiliate to BRC, before presenting the framed certificate and flowers, while corks popped and the cake, complete with carrots, was cut.
Hilary and Amanda Shuker, Alvechurch Vice-Chairman, introduced two very important Alvechurch RC members, Jane Colley and her stately grey cob, Padlock (21 years old), who was a founding ARC member and has almost reached her 70th birthday, and the Club’s youngest member, Riley Smith, just three-and-a-half, with the adorable, chestnut, miniature Shetland pony Hamish, standing at a mere nine hands.
Jane regaled her early memories of the Club, which she believes has been going for almost 50 years: “Things were quite different in the early days, everyone hacked to the shows, which have been held on different sites around the village. We started with around 20 members and I’ve seen the Club grow year on year, with many families still coming to the shows today. Padlock and I continue to enjoy taking part in showing classes and fun rides at the Club.”
Riley’s grandmother, Jill Smith, added: “Our family have been involved with the Alvechurch committee for many years and it is so lovely to see young Riley and Hamish enjoying all the fun lead rein classes here today.”
This immaculately turned out pair were spotted a short while later with five fabulous rosettes.