Chairman's Chat

Chairman's Chat - March


A few weeks ago I couldn't have anticipated needing to send out this message.


In light of the Government's advice to avoid gatherings, limit contact with others, adopt social distancing and avoid adding to the NHS's burden; we have decided to cancel all GRS activities until further notice.

(Although we do have an idea to do an online version of our Spring Dressage - details will be emailed to you)


At present none of us know what is likely to happen and the committee will not be meeting before June. Once we receive advice that 'normal' life can continue then we'll make plans for activities and events to resume.

In the meantime stay safe and I'll leave you with one question, "Have you made arrangements for your horse if you become unwell?"


Best wishes,



Chairman's Chat - February 2020


My last Chairman's Chat started with reference to difficult weather and it seems to have got worse in February! If anyone has any tips for coping with strong winds, deep mud and fresh horses please share them.


Sincere thanks must go to Emma Jardine, who has temporarily taken over organising training and has had to deal with the weather adversely affecting so many of the February training sessions. A challenging start indeed. As you will appreciate, considering all the factors involved in making decisions about whether to cancel or go ahead is tricky - thank you for bearing with us. Whilst on the topic of training I'd also like to thank the non-riders who have offered assistance to lone travellers and the trainer. Our club would be very different without having members and friends who help so willingly.


Is your diary to hand? Some of the following dates are reminders but some are new.

Friday 3rd April Social Evening and talk by Bridget Colston at Mendlesham. Details to follow, including how to book your chip supper!

Sunday 5th April Spring Dressage at Crow's Hall. Details on Webcollect

Saturday 2nd May Helmingham Show

Sunday 27th September Charity Fun Show to be held at Topthorn


A few members have enquired about a camp. Wendy Martin of Halesworth Riding Club runs camps in conjunction with Emily Lochore at Burnham Market Eventing Centre. These camps are for any members within Area 14. I attended one last year and would be happy to give you some of the details or, of course, you could contact Wendy directly through Facebook.


Finally, a polite reminder not to leave renewing memberships until just before area qualifier deadlines. Please plan ahead to ensure there is sufficient time.

Safe Schooling,



Chairman's Chat - January

Happy New Year to you all. Fingers crossed that after this windy, wet and muddy start, the weather treats us horse owners more kindly for the remainder of the year. 

New memberships and renewals are rolling in and I would like to take this opportunity to remind those of you that haven't yet paid 2020 fees that they are due. In line with British Riding Clubs all memberships cease on 31st December and need to be renewed from 1st Jan. if you have any difficulty using Webcollect for your membership do reply to this email.


The first committee meeting of the year was held a couple of weeks ago and it was a delight to welcome Emma Jardine, as a representative for our junior members. Additionally, she's going to take over organising training for a while. This early meeting was mainly to plan the club's programme for the year and 2020 looks as though it'll have a balance of old favourites and new activities. Keep an eye out for WebCollect emails. They remain our primary communication with Facebook reminders, as required. For quite a while staging Helmingham was in doubt but Lynne Baines has stepped forward. As you might appreciate it is a huge workload and responsibility. Please keep Saturday 2nd May free in your diary and if you'll be competing, perhaps consider how you might help beforehand.


Last year, at our Fun Show and various raffles, we raised over £1000 for the Air Ambulance and the committee decided that we'll continue to support this charity, which provides such a wonderful service to horse riders.


Another issue we spent time discussing was that of horse welfare and what we can do within the club to ensure that our members'  horses are appropriately cared for, to do what's asked of them. It's a very tricky topic, with many different viewpoints - Is that horse overweight? Is that pony fully sound? Is my horse grumpy or might it have ulcers? And, as said to me only two nights ago, "When did you last have your saddle checked, it looks low near her shoulders?" ( "October but I do think Tully has changed shape over the last couple of months, now you mention it, Anne") Some people have found having a monthly check of their horse, with a horsey friend, quite helpful to spot changes. If you've any ideas about how we can help ourselves and each other, do let us know.


Furthering riding skills and carefully educating horses remain important aspects of the club's ethos. Training looks likely to continue about fortnightly at Topthorn, with clinics being held at other venues. The upcoming events are 11th Feb Club Training, 22nd Feb clinic with Tammy Ruffles and 25th Feb Club Training. As always, keep an eye on WebCollect!

On a similar vein Area 14 holds a few training events each year. Generally each club is allocated two places but the arrangements do vary between events. Currrent club members who are interested, should apply directly to the Area 14 organiser.  So far there have been details for flatwork on 21st March and xc on 23rd May. The other two will be SJ 4th July and grassroots xc 1st Aug, details later in the year.


The subject of flu vaccinations remains somewhat contentious and as a club we work within the requirements of British Riding Clubs and the venues we hire. These vary and I would ask that you double check before you take your horse out to training and competitions. It is your responsibility. From 1st March Area Qualifiers will need a vaccination done with 6mths but you'll need to refer to the British Riding Clubs Handbook for the exact details. The handbook is on their website.


Looking forward to seeing you out and about at our various events

but in the meantime careful cantering!


Chairman's Chat - December


And so the year draws to a close.


I think that as a club we can look back on 2019 with a degree of satisfaction. Being able to celebrate our 40th anniversary of being an active and well supported riding club is a huge achievement. I have also been delighted to see so many members and their horses benefiting from club training and then using their skills to good effect in our competitions, and beyond at national finals level. Congratulations to all of you who've achieved more than you thought you could.


The outline for our 2020 programme will be considered at a committee meeting on 20th Jan and we would welcome your suggestions for club events, so please let us know what you'd like. As I've previously mentioned, we need  additional help if we're to run events like Helmingham next year. Don't be shy! If you'd like to take an active role, please step forward.


Thank you very much for supporting Gipping Riding Society in 2019.

Wishing you a very happy Christmas and looking forward to seeing you all in 2020.


Chairman's Chat October 2019

Being Chairman of GRS is generally a rather enjoyable role to have and twice this month I've felt particularly proud of the club and it's members.

The first occasion was when I heard that September's Fun Show had raised close to £1000 for the East Anglian Air Ambulance and a generous member had rounded it up. And the second was a couple of days ago, when news reached me that our senior dressage team was placed 5th out of 16 teams. Heartfelt congratulations to all of you that were involved in the success of these two, very differing club events. 

At last we've had good weather for one of our club competitions and what a difference it made! Thank you for supporting the Autumn Dressage at Crow's Hall. As is so often the case, there was a lovely supportive atmosphere commented on by several riders. All in all we had a great day with  competitors from 9am till 4pm. 

May I take this opportunity to remind lone travellers and adults responsible for children that they should leave emergency contact details with the secretary at club competitions?


The Awards and Social Evening, inc AGM is a week on Saturday, Sat 9th Nov, at Mendlesham Community Centre. I really hope as many of you as possible will be able to come. The evening will be a similar format to the last few years with a prompt 7pm start. The first part will be a brief AGM, followed by the presentation of awards to the club's most successful members. At 7.30 we'll break for supper. Mendlesham Fish and Chip Shop will deliver our food but this must be pre-ordered using Webcollect by Wed 6th. (If you have any problems do get  in touch.) Fun games and quizzes will follow the supper. Additionally there'll be an opportunity to get involved in protecting riding routes and a raffle to raise more money for the air ambulance. The evening will finish at about 9.30pm.


On Sunday 8th December there will be a clinic with Oliver Mayes, at Crow's Hall. Full details will follow very shortly - keep an eye out on Webcollect.


In the last Chairman's Chat I broached the idea of more of you being actively involved in aspects of the club's organisation.

Individual committee members have given thought to what time and effort they can realistically offer the club next year and it leaves us short on what we've previously done, in particular the role of show secretary. I would like to ask that you take some time to consider what events and activities you'd like the club to offer in 2020 and how we might accomplish them. I recognise that life is busy but between us all we have many skills and lots of experience, and I'm sure that we can find a way to continue to make GRS a thriving and happy riding club. I look forward to hearing your ideas and suggestions in the forthcoming weeks.


Hoping to see you a week on Saturday,



Notes from the Equine Safety Evening held on 6th February 2019 at Topthorn Arena


The event was very well attended by more than 35 people, including representatives from the BHS, and raised just over £200 for the speakers’ chosen charities - Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust and The Firefighters Charity.

What the evening lacked in fun and humour, the speakers (Helen Whitbread from Deben Valley Equine Veterinary Clinic and Emily, Matt and Paul from Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service) more than made up for with facts, thought provoking questions and practical advice.

GRS is very committed to improving horse welfare and giving the following questions some thought would certainly do that:

  • When was the last time you considered potential hazards on your yard?

  • Have you a displayed map which includes stables, paddocks, water sources (email with your postcode, along with ponds, rivers etc), combustible materials storage and horse evacuation areas (which horses would go where?)

  • Does the yard have a ‘What to do in an emergency’ sign?

  • What are the priorities while waiting for the rescue services to arrive?


The firefighters were very clear that if horse owners have a plan their work will be more effective.

If you need to ring 999:

  1. State the nature of the incident.

  2. Give the precise location and whether there is road access.

  3. Say if the horse owner is present.

  4. Say if a vet is on the scene or has been called.


Notes from the Annual Awards Evening and AGM held on Saturday, 10th November 2018


Congratulations to our award winners:

Stonebridge Jumping Trophy:  Emma Jardine

Double Vision Dressage Trophy:   Jasmine Briggs

Tack and Turnout Training Trophy:  Amber Sturgeon

Seniors Points Award:  1st Caroline Cavill, 2nd Katy Vernau, 3rd Kate Rosten, 4th Donna Emerick, =5th Jane Halls and Elizabeth Harrison

Juniors Points Award: 1st Amber Sturgeon, 2nd Hannah Webster, 3rd Emma Jardine, 4th Meghan Nunn, 5th Jasmine Briggs, = 6th Ema Lewis and Daisy Kiddy

Key points from the Chairman Alison Nicholson's report:

This has been my first (very enjoyable) year in office and also for many of the committee.  Thank you to the members for bearing with us while we learn the ropes.

  • Membership numbers are still strong ... 118 including 42 juniors.

  • The club exists for benefit of its members so please give feedback and suggestions - they are always welcome.

  • It has been a mixed year for events.  The dressage shows were a great success, however we had a disappointing turnout for Helmingham Show due to poor weather, plus the Arena Eventing and Fun Show were both cancelled due to foul weather.

  • This has resulted in less income for club and we have shown a loss for the year.

  • Whilst members are encouraged to put themselves forward for Area 14 competitions, club finances mean they will need to pay for themselves in future. However, members who qualify for the Championships would be subsidised.

  • GRS is a not-for-profit organisation and prices charged for each activity are based on covering anticipated costs only.

  • Communication is firstly through WebCollect, and then Facebook and our (new) website. Keep in touch - communication needs to be two way.

  • Next year is club’s 40th anniversary.  Suggestions for celebrations?

  • The committee’s January meeting will be to draw up outline plan for year’s activities.  Suggestions?

  • We will have more training and an Equine Safety Evening before Christmas.

  • Congratulations to all members who rode at the Area qualifiers and to Amber Sturgeon, Emma Freeman and Caroline Cavill who represented us at the National Finals.

  • A previously successful riding club in our area has recently folded as members weren’t prepared to help or organise events. We must not allow this to happen to Gipping Riding Society.  We all belong to a very special organisation which is too precious to lose.

It is essential that we ALL contribute, in our various different ways, to ensure GRS enjoys it’s 40th Anniversary year and is strongly placed for the next 40!

Notes from the GRS Committee Meeting on Tuesday, 30th October 2018

  • The Autumn Dressage Show went well, and the Committee gave consideration to holding a third dressage show in 2019

  • The money raised from refreshments donations will be used to buy a new trophy.

  • Training is running smoothly and is attended by a good number of members.

  • There are plans for training sessions right up until Christmas.

  • The club currently subsidises teams but this has incurred a loss to the club of £900 this year.

  • Going forward, riders will pay the full amount but would be subsidised if they reach the national finals

  • Riders should be aware that there is a big difference in standards between club level competitions and Area 14 competitions and so need to be prepared for this.

  • The Social and Awards evening was planned.

  • An equine safety evening is planned for 5th December.

  • The newsletter will be replaced by more frequent Facebook and website updates. 

  • A start was made on the planning for our 40th birthday celebrations.

  • There was an initial discussion about events in 2019.