Happy holidays at Clwyd Special Riding Centre again!

2 October 2018

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There was a higher degree of excitement and anticipation about our Clwyd holiday this year than in previous years. We were all keeping our fingers crossed that unlike last year, the Clwyd Special Riding Centre (CSRC) horses would remain healthy; and they did.

Five very excited Stratford-upon-Avon RDA riders arrived on the Thursday afternoon ready to meet their ponies. Four of the five ponies were new to us. The superstar “Mr Harvey” with his characterful markings, we recognised from previous visits, but Eddie, who Jules rode, Martie, who was Arthur’s horse, Sophie’s mount Obi and LJ who was Jo P’s pony were all new to us. However, like all the CSRC ponies they were ideal, being very well schooled and lovely and quiet to work with. We gave Eddie the nickname “Steady Eddie” as he was, and Jules had to work hard to keep him moving, especially when passing field gates where, ever hopeful of finishing work early, he would stop.

 So what did we get up to? CSRC offers a wide range of riding opportunities and we made maximum use of them. We enjoyed hacking out around the tracks (well the ponies and riders did, but it was a hard workout for those leading and side walking). On Sunday we went on a lovely long hack along the disused railway line, led by CSRC riders. A great ride out and flatter so an easier walk for our long-suffering volunteers.

The Wrexham Carriage driving group arrived on Saturday morning, and harnessed Jack and Mouse to two of their carriages so that riders and some of the volunteers could have a taste of carriage driving. Everyone given that opportunity had smiles on their faces whilst driving and for a fair few hours afterwards. One of our volunteers took to it with great enthusiasm, ignoring all the cones placed on the floor of the indoor arena and driving at speeds, which had the police been present, would surely have resulted in a fine!

The weather was very kind to us so although we were mostly out and about, we did spend some time in the indoor school where we were made to concentrate hard when Karen and Pat had all five riders riding round in what appeared to me to be ever decreasing circles. Amazingly there were no collisions.

On the Monday morning all the riders had the opportunity to improve their posture whilst riding through the zoo, the seaside, or farmyard whilst astride the Clwyd mechanical horse.

By the end of the holiday Sophie was proficient at stable management, and was feeding, grooming, turning out and tacking up Obi. Arthur had a great time, always had a smile on his face and showed us he could perform an excellent rising trot. This year Jo P told us she liked cleaning tack and was often the first one to make a start. Jules showed us that once Steady Eddie could be persuaded to trot she too had mastered a lovely rising trot, and I was thoroughly spoiled by Mr Harvey, who so willingly took us both, up and down the hills without really needing any assistance from me.

There is a saying that an army marches on its stomach and that saying could equally be applied to Stratford upon Avon RDA group whilst on holiday. Despite having cake for breakfast, elevenses, lunch, afternoon tea, and supper (well slight exaggeration there) everyone still thoroughly enjoyed the meals prepared for us by Donna and her catering support staff.  

We all thought that Clwyd 2018 turned out to be a good vintage.


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