Chairman’s Report, Jan 2020 to Jan 2021

Well, what a year it’s been, or rather – what a year it hasn’t been. A huge thank you to all our members who have stuck with us amidst cancelled shows and training, postponed competitions and on off life in general. And an even bigger thank you to our fantastic committee members who have kept putting on Events, schooling, quizzes and so much more throughout the year. It’s been a massive learning curve for virtual meetings, Zoom, video links and a digital world – here are a few of the things we have done: Our year started as normal with Dressage Shows, Area Show Jumping, Arena Event Training, Andrew Lovell lessons and a fantastic camp at Pontispool all planned and booked up. At the beginning of March we sent two teams to the Area Combined Training competition and they ended up coming 1st and 2nd, with Mo Foster on Pip qualifying individually as well, so things were looking good for the year ahead. In early March we had a concert to raise funds with the lovely Trelawny Singers, on 16th March Pontispool said they were carrying on with Camps and Training, on 17th March BRC said in accordance with government guidelines nothing could take place – and so the first lockdown began. We kept busy with quizzes, the fabulous Toilet Roll Toss (well done ladies, fantastic effort) and an endless stream of jokes. We had virtual competitions, keep fit classes and a VE Day fancy dress competition, you can’t say we didn’t keep you occupied. Then on 11th May the word came that we could start competing again and we hit the ground running with more training, shows were planned and the Area Dressage Competition went ahead at St Leonards. We had some excellent results, Sara Penter 1st, Sarah Baldwin 2nd, Sarah-Jane Brown 2nd and Sarah-Jane also won the Dressage to Music and qualified for the championships. Jane Angilley just missed out coming 2nd . We ran competitions at Pendarves and Combined Training at Colraine with the dressage and jumping on separate days to help with the Covid guidelines. The Halloween Show Jumping Show was a great success which we just got in before the next lock down, as did the Area Arena Eventing Qualifiers at Bicton Arena where our 80 team of Alison Steel, Sarah Fliege and Lucy Long came a credible 4th . In December Callie Turner won the D2 Riding Test class at the National Championships, a fabulous achievement. All these competitions have taken much more organising and flexibility than normal, and involved more helpers and stewards, thank you to everyone who has volunteered and helped to keep the Riding Club putting on events. Now in our third lockdown we are still keeping busy, on Friday there is a Live Show given by Anna Ross and Beth Bainbridge which is an evening of dressage, chat and fun. We also have a brilliant new weekly challenge for everyone to try with Vicky Mather’s Pole Work Exercises, more details of both on the Facebook page.

At the beginning of Lockdown one of our longest standing members, Joan Dale, retired from the Dressage Committee. Joan has been Chairman of the committee and a mainstay of the club for many, many years, organising Dressage Shows, Judging and offering invaluable advice and experience. We would like to thank her for all her hard work, hopefully we’ll see you again at Shows Joan, when we’ve all been vaccinated. We lost another hard working and probably under-valued member in December when Mike Deering sadly passed away. Many of you may not have met Mike but as Cally’s partner, he was our unofficial treasurer and kept us on the straight and narrow financially, making sure the entries for training equalled the payments coming in and generally checking the books balanced through all our activities. He will be sadly missed for the humour he showed in dealing with our various foibles and our thoughts are with Cally at this sad time.

This is my last Chairman’s report as I am stepping down after eight very enjoyable years, I hand over to the extremely capable hands of Ali Felton and Sarah Bell. I’d like to thank everyone for their support and enthusiasm, particularly Nicky Palmer, Jane Dyer, Ali and Sarah – we are very lucky as a club to have a committee that is so dedicated and hard working. We are looking for new committee members at the moment so if you have ideas for training or competitions you would like to be run, join a committee and help put them into action. Being on the committee gives you a real sense of belonging, friendship and achievement, helping to move the club forward through changing times and technology – to paraphrase – YOUR CLUB NEEDS YOU!! Please let Nicky know if you would be interested.