Rutland Riding Club was
started in 1968 by Mr. Heinz Franz, who had a livery yard and riding
school in Ashwell. He held a
dressage competition in his very small, sand arena, which was judged by
Dame Mary Colvin D.B.E., T.D. a List 1 dressage judge, who lived at North
Luffenham. A committee was
subsequently formed with Mr. Tom Fraser as Chairman and Cathy Gresham as
secretary, a post she held for many years and she is still a member today,
though sadly no longer riding.
Dame Mary was a great supporter of the Riding Club movement, at
this time part of the British Horse Society.
She became our Chairman in 1970 and generously gave the Club much
of her time, allowing us to use her private indoor school for training
clinics and arranging for top class instructors.
It was at her home that a young man called Richard Davison came to
take a clinic, the first of many, as he continued to do clinics for us
because we were one of the first clubs he came to.
She also encouraged us to organise an affiliated Dressage
competition, this first ran at Melton Mowbray, moved to Lilford Park, nr.
Oundle, where it ran as a two day event with classes up to Prix St.George
and then to the Rugby Ground at Oakham, only finishing when most
affiliated riders wished to ride on a surface.
Riding Club Championships
The Club has never had just one base, but “the Wharf” at Market
Overton, where Mrs. Janet Sturrock F.B.H.S. had a highly acclaimed yard,
training students for all equestrian exams, was a regular venue. We were
made very welcome, appreciating the indoor school for flat work and show
jumping and the cross- country field for both training and competitions.
Many Rutland members benefited from “guinea pig” sessions,
being taught by the students under the watchful eye of Mrs. “S”. Another regular venue at this time was at Manton where Mrs.
Burnaby- Atkins kindly allowed us the use of her outdoor arena and the
fields with show jumps and a cross-country course.
It was here that we ran the first of several successful “Open
The next Chairman of the Club was Mrs. Janet Worth. She joined the
committee and was secretary
for several years, also organising the affiliated dressage competition
with great efficiency, before taking over the Chairmanship when Dame Mary
The Club has always enthusiastically taken part in R.C. Area competitions,
Dame Mary competed in dressage teams and Mrs. S. competed in as many
disciplines as she could and for which she was eligible well after most of
us have hung up our spurs! There have been many successes at the
Championships, in the early years we had teams competing at Dressage, Prix
Caprilli (Riding Tests with small jumps) Show Jumping and Horse Trials. We
had a win in the Pairs for Mrs. S. and Deirdre Haynes in1993 with another
in 1995 when the Rural Riders Team won. This involves six riders doing a
set dressage test, with a caller, the team consisted of Janet Sturrock,
Deirdre Haynes, Pat Brown, Heather Sandel, Joanna Holmes (Cole) and Carol
McCarthy with Rosemary David as caller.
In more recent years Suzi Dawe gained the highest percentage
dressage mark by winning at Elementary level, Rachel Hanlon did similar
the next year at Preliminary and in 2006 Danielle Jackson won the Open
Intermediate Horse Trials Championship and was third Individual in the
Riding Club Championships