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RAC Saddle Club News
26th January 2024Latest NewsWe offer a great range of sponsorship opportunities at our events, affiliated and unaffiliated. We are extremely grateful to our existing loyal sponsors and welcome additional local and national businesses who will benefit from partnering with us. We will promote and raise awareness of your business and reach your customers in the equestrian community.   At the Royal Armoured Corps Saddle Club we are very passionate about the equestrian sport. We offer year round exposure to a large client base physically at the club through competitions, with our liveries, as a riding and training centre and on our very active website and Social Media platforms. Whether you only want a banner in the arena or title sponsor of a competition we have a package to suit everyone’s needs and all budgets.   All of our packages include free trade stands at all of our events so you will be able to meet your customers in person.   Please contact us to discuss your sponsorship needs and we’ll be happy to help – office@racsaddleclub.co.uk or CLICK HERE for more information.   [...] Read more...
24th January 2024Latest NewsIt’s taken several days to digest the wonderful news, during which I’ve had the opportunity to reflect on the many heartfelt messages from many people who have played an important part in my life and that of the Saddle Club. Reading the testimonials took me back to when it all began in 1990 and to receive messages from many of you from years gone by was just fantastic. It has been an incredible journey and I feel privileged to have so many supportive people through my time at the RAC, so from the bottom of my heart, a huge thank you to each and every one of you for your support and comments received. Each decade of the growth of RAC Saddle Club comes with many stories, lots of laughter and tears, so this year we are going to hold a formal get-together to look back at all of those wonderful times together and reflect how we all had our part to play in the transformation of RAC Saddle Club. The event will be for all RAC Saddle Club members bringing together those who are here today and anyone who has passed through the gates since they opened in 1990. Watch this space, more to follow. Here’s to an exciting 2024! CLICK HERE TO READ ORIGINAL PRESS RELEASE. Thank you for these wonderful testimonials, some great memories! Nicola Dawson, livery and mum of pony club members We arrived at The RAC Saddle Club, Bovington, in June 2016 with our New Forest Pony, Murphy. My daughter Maddy was 13 at the time and the only one of my four children that had taken up horse riding. We were welcomed into the Bovington family despite our pony being quite naughty and a bit of a challenge! Steph supported the youngsters with such dedication, helping them all to progress and develop a passion for British Eventing. In the summer of 2019, my youngest daughter, Josie, was diagnosed with severe anorexia nervosa. She was a British gymnast at the time competing on the international circuit. She was deteriorating rapidly and we were advised that inpatient hospital treatment was the only option if her weight did not increase. I took her with me to Bovington one afternoon to help my daughter Maddy ride. Steph had recently had a sudden and tragic family bereavement. Despite this, she approached Josie and took her to meet one of the ponies. She spent time with her and this special pony Rosie over the next few months and this was the key to Josie’s recovery. Without this support our lives would be very different today. Steph has the ability to connect with young people and understand their difficulties, making a real difference to many young people’s lives. She is the heart and soul of The RAC Saddle Club. Her determination and strength in the face of adversity has been an inspiration to us all.   Vanessa Bye, former apprentice I first met Steph in the Summer of 1992. I had just finished my GCSE’s and had come back from Germany where I had been a border. My father had been posted to Bovington where he had taken on the role of Treasurer to the Saddle Club, and my Mother had just bought a horse which she kept at Livery. I had always wanted to learn to ride, but moving around so much meant that  opportunities were limited. The summer of 1992 seemed like an ideal opportunity. At this time the RAC Saddle club consisted of 5 ponies and 5 Cavalry Blacks on loan from HCMR. Steph was the only instructor. There were about 20 livery horses, an indoor and outdoor riding school and a very small and compact cross country course which could be completed in about a minute (It was more for practice than anything else). The rest of the staff consisted of a SGT who was the Yard Manager, a handful of military grooms and a couple of YTS girls. It was time for my first riding lesson and I was slightly horrified that I was to ride an enormous Cavalry Black called Ocharina. Steph reassured me and said there was nothing to fear. Ocharina was indeed a gentle giant. However, I didn’t account for my complete lack of balance and seat in the saddle. I fell off at every corner, and Steph undeterred kept getting me back on. I was pretty disappointed at how rubbish I was and thought maybe riding isn’t for me after all. Steph would have none of it and said I just needed to have some sessions on the lunge. And that was the start of my riding career, and also our 30 plus year friendship. If I had to describe Steph in one word it would be impossible, there are so many that perfectly describe her. However, determined is a strong contender. She is the most determined person I know, and back then she was also ambitious. Not for herself, but for the Saddle Club. She knew pretty early on that it could be so much more than it was, and so began her quest to set about achieving it. She inspired me so much that by the time I had finished my A Levels, I knew I wanted to work with horses and was taken on at the Saddle Club as part of the YTS (an Apprenticeship today). As a friend she was fun, energetic, kind, loyal and caring. As a boss, she was tough but fair. She pushed us all to achieve our full potential and expected 100% in return. Failure for us, wasn’t an option for Steph. She would never turn you away if you were struggling with something and provided us all with as many learning opportunities as we wanted, if we were prepared to stay late and join other lessons etc. She accompanied each and every one of us to all our exams, and was always proud of our achievements. The Saddle Club soon started to evolve. Steph’s reputation as a talented and successful trainer soon spread and this attracted more clients, and young girls like myself who wanted to achieve their BHS Qualifications. I was the first person in the County to do the new NVQ in Horse care at Level 3. I had also recently achieved my BHS AI in record time, and this had nothing to do with my talent, but more my luck and good fortune at having Steph as my Trainer and Mentor. Kingston Maurwood College  were in the process of introducing an Equine Curriculum but had no facilities. Until these were ready, they chose to bus their students to Bovington, where they too received excellent tuition from Steph. The Saddle Club was expanding and its reputation was growing. Pony Club camps for all abilities were introduced, and Steph, always being inclusive and not wanting anyone to miss out hired out ponies for the week, so that those who were who weren’t fortunate enough to have their own could still take part. But, don’t let the children have all the fun! Adult camps were born and became increasingly popular. Steph and the team worked hard over the Summer, and as well as camps, there were shows and the completion of a proper Cross country course. Steph would always get stuck into any task, by now she was running the saddle Club single handedly, being paid a pittance but still willing to muck out, pull Ragwort, skip out fields and spend the night camping out in the stable of a sick horse. Frankly, I don’t know how she did it! Except to say, she had a lot of willing support because she had turned the Saddle Club into a Community and we were all like a big family. The Saddle Club was lacking in finances and at times things were looking bleak but Steph always managed to find a way to keep it afloat. I left the Saddle Club 1n 1996 to go and work for the Household Cavalry in London. It was a hard decision to make and a very hard place to leave. Steph and I have always remained friends, she was bridesmaid at both my weddings and is Godmother to my daughter. She taught me as a young 17 year old to believe in myself, and that hard work pays off and I carry that with me to this day. In the subsequent years since my departure I have not been surprised in the slightest to see that the RAC Saddle club is well and truly on the map. Not only as a registered examination centre and BE host site but also continuing its links to its Military heritage by supporting veterans and the many challenges they face, by either partnering with veterans charities or providing their own tailored support through therapies for physical and mental wellbeing. Children’s mental health sadly has also become endemic, and Steph and her family have been touched by the devastating consequences of this personally. As always Steph has channelled her energy into supporting children and their families affected by providing equine therapy and working closely with other organisations, something especially vital in the wake of the Covid Pandemic. As previously mentioned, Steph has always been inclusive and has always endeavered to ensure there are no barriers to anyone who wants horses in their lives, as such she continues to support the RDA and children and adults with disabilities. I will finish here by saying what a truly inspirational person Steph is. She is also humble and many of her achievements have gone unrecognised. Especially in those early days. I have no doubt that the Saddle Club runs like clockwork now and is an extremely successful business, but back when it all started it was a very different story. It is only when you look back that the true scale of Steph’s achievement is evident. That said, community, friendship, inclusivity, and a love of horses has been the golden thread that has alwaysrun through it, and that is down to Steph.     Joanna Wood, former groom at RAC Saddle Club Currently equine manager, Mounted Section, Gloucestershire Constabulary  I first arrived at the RAC Saddle Club, Bovington, in 2003 when I was looking for some structured training for my riding whilst doing some part-time work for a local equine dealer. After my first couple of lessons with Steph she offered me the chance to join her team on the yard. After 7 years of fun and friendship I now look back on my time and opportunities I was given at Bovington as being the best foundation for the career I have now – managing the Mounted Section for Gloucestershire for the last 6 years and resource manager for Hartpury College for 5 years before that. Steph worked tirelessly on developing relationships with clients and liveries to ensure we had some lovely horses to ride to train towards industry exams (up to BHS Stage 4) and also gain experience within the competition circuit (up to Novice level). On reflection these were some super smart horses! Steph’s management of the relationships between livery owners and training staff meant that the horses’ progression and welfare were top priority at all times. Having not owned my own horse before, this was an incredible opportunity and one I will be eternally grateful for. Steph also arranged regular top-class tuition from external instructors as well as almost daily inputs from her own experienced teaching. We rode newly-backed horses to novice eventers to Cavalry horses to hunting and ROR under her guidance – what an experience! Teaching wise, it was always a fair distribution of Pony Club, private lessons, group lessons, troop leaders and liveries, and Steph empowered us to develop whatever riders we had in our sessions and was always on hand for advice. In some respects Steph helped us help her build the reputation of the club and that is something we were all very proud of. She was always a sucker for the underdog and her kindness and determination to make everyone feel part of the club still goes on to this day. But I for one would not be where I am today without the opportunities, experiences and horses Steph and the Club made available to me and I really appreciate the trust and empowerment that came with it. To this day I always find myself telling stories of my time at Bovington, the horses (especially Avalon) and using them as case studies and examples to train my own tam today. Steph was a great mentor to me both personally and professionally during my time at Bovington and for years to come. The Saddle Club is a very special place and is very unique within the industry. I do hope it continues to provide others with the same opportunities I had… invaluable!   [...] Read more...
9th January 2024Latest News / New EventWhether you are looking for intensive training, some relaxed fun filled horse days to make new friends or enjoy your own holiday, our camps are perfect with our excellent facilities and amazing coaches. Further information and cost of the camps are on the Equo website links below: Please remember we are limited on additional stables for riders bringing their own horses so make sure you book your space early. Last year all camps were full with a waitlist.   Adult Camp 1 – Friday, 14 to Sunday, 16 June CLICK HERE to book and further camp details including cost. Adult Camp 2 – Friday, 12 to Sunday 14 July CLICK HERE to book and further camp details including cost. Eventers Camp – Monday 5 to Thursday 8 August CLICK HERE to book and further camp details including cost. Bovington Academy Camp – Sunday 11 to Wednesday 14 August CLICK HERE to book and further camp details including cost.   Any queries please email kristal@racsaddleclub.co.uk   [...] Read more...
8th January 2024Latest News / New EventThe Royal Armoured Corps (RAC) Saddle Club 2024 Eventing Season Dates have been confirmed. Please add them to your diary. We are excited for the season ahead and have already started organising the BE in April. Visit our website and you can subscribe to our events calendar – https://www.racsaddleclub.co.uk/events/ If you are interested in joining our team of volunteers for these events please click the link below for more information and to sign up or email office@racsaddleclub.co.uk. https://forms.gle/hQb8zXPHqdcRQP9c6 If you would like to enquire about our different sponsorship packages and having a trade stand at our events please email Kristal at office@racsaddleclub.co.uk [...] Read more...
5th January 2024Latest News / New EventWe are busy preparing for our eventing season and would like to invite trade stands to join us. The dates are: Saturday, 20 April 2024 – British Eventing – Bovington BE Sunday, 21 April 2024 – British Eventing – Bovington BE Sunday, 5 May 2024 – Eventer Challenge – SJ & XC Sunday, 26 May 2024 – Bovington One Day Event Sunday, 15 September 2024 – Bovington Hunter Trial Sunday, 29 September 2024 – Eventer Challenge Saturday, 19 October 2024 – British Eventing Bovington BE Sunday, 20 October 2024 – British Eventing – Bovington BE The cost is £50 per day for food trade stands and £25 per day for non-food trade stands. If you would like to find out more information please email office@racsaddleclub.co.uk To confirm you booking you will need to supply us with the following and pay (payment details are on the application form): completed trade stand application form risk assessment a copy of your public liability insurance We also have different sponsorship packages available and these do include having a trade stand at our events free. For further information on our sponsorship packages please click here. [...] Read more...
30th December 2023Latest News / WellbeingDORSET HORSE RIDING INSTRUCTOR AWARDED THE BRITISH EMPIRE MEDAL (BEM) FOR OUTSTANDING PUBLIC SERVICE TO YOUNG PEOPLE Stephanie Buchanan, yard manager and head riding coach at the RAC Saddle Club Bovington in Dorset, has been awarded The British Empire Medal (BEM) for her outstanding work with young people and her contribution to society. The BEM is a national honour bestowed by His Majesty The King in recognition of outstanding public service to people who make a real difference to local communities. Says Stephanie: “It’s a huge honour be awarded a BEM, and I was quite taken back when I heard the news. I’m just doing my job… I’m really lucky that I am in a position to help so many young people by introducing them to the incredible horses and ponies we have here at the Saddle Club. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without a great team of staff and liveries behind me many of whom volunteer hours of their time.” Stephanie, who lives in Swanage, began teaching at the RAC Saddle Club in 1990 and over the years has built a sterling reputation for producing young riders and mentoring many children through difficult times in their life (please see case studies and testimonials below). In addition to the club providing riding lessons, livery and industry qualifications for both military personnel and civilians, Stephanie has worked tirelessly to fund raise over £150k in order to invest in new facilities. In 2000 it became a venue for British Eventing and it regularly hosts unaffiliated show jump and dressage competitions. The centre has provided Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) facilities and ponies for many years and Stephanie introduced the British Horse Society (BHS) Changing Lives Through Horses (CLTH) programme in 2019 to help local children who, for various reasons, need additional support, are disengaged, or disadvantaged, or at risk of being excluded from education. Since its introduction 120 children have been given the opportunity to meet ponies, learn how to look after them and ride if they wish to do so. In 2022 Stephanie was awarded Coach of the Year for her work with CLTH for the BHS and in 2022 she was named one of the UK’s top three coaches nominated for a Change a Life award supported by Sport England for her exceptional dedication to assisting personal growth and development. BHS freelance coach Sam Lewis, who has known Stephanie for nearly 20 years, said: “Stephanie has mentored hundreds of adults and children over the last couple of decades. Not only has she tirelessly thought of imaginative ways to raise money and rallied liveries to help her, but she also has spent hours, days and weeks of her own time sourcing ponies and horses for both the riding school and private clients. In many instances her actions have helped children who are struggling at an extremely difficult time in their life. Over the years some have lost family members, while others are struggling with disabilities or difficulties and simply can’t communicate with those around them. The horses have, with Steph’s guidance, played a key part in their recovery providing companionship, focus and structure, helping them to channel their behaviour, learn life skills and resilience.”   Dr Nicola Springs, livery and mother of two children taught by Steph said: “Steph has the ability to connect with young people and understand their difficulties, making a real difference to many young people’s lives. She is the heart and soul of The RAC Saddle Club. In the summer of 2019, my youngest daughter, Josie, was diagnosed with severe anorexia nervosa. She was a British gymnast at the time competing on the international circuit. She was deteriorating rapidly and we were advised that inpatient hospital treatment was the only option if her weight did not increase. I took her with me to Bovington one afternoon to help my oter daughter Maddy ride. Steph had recently had a sudden and tragic family bereavement. Despite this she approached Josie and took her to meet one of the ponies. She spent time with her and a special pony Rosie over the next few months and this was the key to Josie’s recovery. Without this support our lives would be very different today.”   Jo Wood, former student and groom at the RAC Saddle Club “I now look back on my time and opportunities I was given at Bovington as being the best foundation for the career I have now – managing the Mounted Section for Gloucestershire . Steph worked tirelessly on developing relationships with clients and liveries to ensure we had some lovely horses to ride for our training towards industry exams and to gain experience competing. Having not owned my own horse this was an incredible opportunity and one I will be eternally grateful for. We rode newly backed horses to Novice eventers to Cavalry horses to Hunting and ROR under her guidance and what an experience! Steph has always been a sucker for the underdog and her kindness and determination to make everyone feel part of the Club still goes on to this day. I for one would not be where I am today without the opportunities, experiences and horses Steph and the Club made available for me and the trust and empowerment that came with it. Steph was a great mentor to me both personally and professionally during my time at Bovington and for years to come. “   Vanessa Bye, former apprentice Steph taught me to ride over 30 years ago. At this time the RAC Saddle club consisted of 5 ponies and 5 Cavalry Blacks on loan from HCMR. Steph was the only instructor and I was slightly horrified that I was to ride an enormous Cavalry Black called Ocharina. Steph reassured me and said there was nothing to fear. Ocharina was indeed a gentle giant. However, I didn’t account for my complete lack of balance and seat in the saddle. I fell off at every corner, and Steph undeterred kept getting me back on. I was pretty disappointed at how rubbish I was and thought maybe riding isn’t for me after all. Steph would have none of it and said I just needed to have some sessions on the lunge. And that was the start of my riding career. She inspired me so much that by the time I had finished my A Levels, I knew I wanted to work with horses and was taken on at the Saddle Club as part of the YTS (an Apprenticeship today). In 1996 to go and work for the Household Cavalry in London. She taught me as a young 17 year old to believe in myself, and that hard work pays off and I carry that with me to this day. What a truly inspirational person Steph is.   Karl Jenkins, CLTH pupil and apprentice who left school aged 15 and was struggling with anxiety “Since being at the RAC Saddle Club I have had to put myself out there and talk to people that I don’t know and socialise with such amazing people! It has improved my confidence drastically and has focused my mind elsewhere as well as getting me out of the house and out of the sticky situation I was getting myself into. Steph and the equestrian community have given me such a sense of belonging. With being given the opportunity to work and learn with and about these amazing animals is wonderful. I truly feel as though I can now achieve things and complete tasks regardless. I feel brighter not just in my thoughts but as a person. RAC Saddle Club has given me a sense of belonging – it is like a second family.”   Says Stephanie Buchanan: “I started as a freelance coach at Bovington in November 1990. With only five ponies and 20 kids in the Pony Club I had to beg to use four army horses! Before long I was asked to run it as a going concern. There were only 15 stables compared to the 50-plus we have now and the main fields were not fenced and did not have running water. 1996 was the turning point as I was contracted by Kingston Maurwood College (KMC) to produce 30 BHS Stage 3 horses for them to use in their equine programme and this gave us the money we needed to begin investing in the Club’s facilities. Membership grew and we organised social events to build and paint jumps. In 1998 we raised £5k in local sponsorship and built our first proper cross country course. In 2000 we hosted our first BE event where I first met course designer Adrain Ditcham and who I have worked with ever since. The yard became a ‘where to train’ centre for BHS students up to Stage 4 in 2001 when we raised the sum of £68k and turned the front paddock into the all-weather arena suitable to run competitions year round. Later, as competitors had nowhere to park everyone rallied together to help me organise a festival to raise money to build a lorry park. We extended the arena around 2013 but tragedy struck not long after when we were shut down for two months with a Strangles outbreak. In the spring 2019 I was approached by the BHS to look at the CLTH programme and over the years we have put over 120 young people through the course helping to spread the word about the power of the horse. In 2021 we lost our cabin and office in a storm and raised funds by having an online auction. Liveries once again helped. One, Nicki Springs ran a half marathon and we raised money to build a club house and hub for our members . We also bought toilets and showers to attract other clubs and groups to come and use our club for camps. For many years I have been so proud of how Bovington produces young people to ride and care for their horses and we have had some amazing results and personal achievements along with a yard of happy horses but I never dreamed that 2023 with culminate in such an award. I’m overwhelmed.”   The RAC Saddle Club is a charity which offers discounted lessons and livery for military personnel while providing local civilian residents with the ability to enjoy riding lessons and industry qualifications. For more details on The CLtH programme see https://www.racsaddleclub.co.uk/changing-lives-through-horses/ For interviews with Stephanie Buchanan and images please contact PR Sam Lewis 07968 426941 or email office@racsaddleclub.co.uk [...] Read more...
27th December 2023Latest NewsWell done for passing your Troop Leaders Basic Equitation Spurs Course. Ct George – Blues and Royals 2Lt Evan – Royal Dragoon Guards 2Lt Oliver – Life Guards 2Lt Samuel – Royal Lancers They joined us in September for weekly lessons to learn how to ride with our coach Paul Warwick, BHSAI, before joining their Regiments in the new year. On December 14th they were assessed by Colonel Paddy Williams and we are pleased to announce that they all passed. The course is designed to give them the basic riding skills before they join their Regiments, a course pushing the soldier out of their comfort zone and trying something new. Training is enjoyable from start to finish, creating experiences and learning that will stay with you for life and developing your skills & courage. “I didn’t know much about horses and had never ridden before. Really enjoyed the course and got lots out of it” George – Blues & Royals “One of the highlights of my time at Bovington” Evan – Royal Dragoon Guards Well done boys and good luck!! [...] Read more...
27th December 2023Latest News / WellbeingWhat a fantastic Autumn Term we have had with the children taking part in the BHS Changing Lives Through Horses Programme. The change in the children from Award 1 to Award 6 is amazing and they will be back in the Spring Term to go up to Award 10. Some of these children had not even seen a horse before let alone be confident to lead one on their own and ride them. We are so proud of them all and thank you to our coaches and volunteers and the very special ponies and horses. For more information please email office@racsaddleclub.co.uk [...] Read more...
27th December 2023Latest News / WellbeingEvery week pupils from a local school come to RAC Saddle Club, Bovington to ride the ponies helped by amazing volunteers from the RDA. It is the highlight of their week and the school has been bringing their pupils here for 30 years. You can see how much joy it brings on their faces! “Swifts Class have been fortunate enough to go horse riding each week this term, it really has been joyous to watch the children enjoy their sessions so much. We are extremely grateful for the volunteers and staff at Bovington Saddle Club who have been so welcoming and committed to ensure the children engage and thrive in their lessons.” Katie Scammell – Teacher. [...] Read more...
23rd November 2023Latest NewsWhat a great experience Sgt Colloby, Cpl Cross and LCpl Taylor had during the Intelligence Corps Equestrian Association 3 Day Camp back in September. The camp was organised as a good opportunity to meet other Int Corps equestrians and gauge the level of riders as well as to train for Armed Forces competitions later in the year. This camp was essential for the development of Int Corps riders so that they could enter a team in to the AGRL next year in 2024 and develop the other riders so they can progress on to the Army and Armed Forces competition circuit next season. It is also a good opportunity for ICEA team cohesion. Sgt Colloby, Cpl Cross and LCpl Taylor told us… “Bovington RAC Saddle Club is a wonderful facility with everything we needed and the staff could not have been more accommodating and warm and friendly. We received instruction from Holly on day one, where the sideways rain was a challenge for both us and our horses, and Paul on days two and three, where luckily the weather was much more kind which allowed us to progress more easily. Both instructors were patient and knowledgeable and handled our differing abilities well so that we all managed to progress significantly throughout the three days. The dressage run through and test on the last day was a great experience for us, particularly for Sgt Colloby and Cpl Cross as we are both hoping to take part in Grass Roots next year. It was also a lovely touch to be provided our scores and rosettes at the end despite there only being three of us. We also got to experience a hack and see some of the surrounding area courtesy of Kristal and Sue which enabled us to apply the knowledge we’d gained in a more relaxed ride. All in all, we cannot fault our time at Bovington RAC Saddle Club and cannot thank the staff enough for providing a relaxed learning environment which helped us significantly progress over the duration of the course. We will keep an eye out for future courses. Thank you!” [...] Read more...
8th November 2023Latest NewsWe are getting a lot of enquiries lately about a change of rules on body protectors. The main bodies – British Eventing, British Riding Clubs and Pony Clubs have all agreed that from 1st January 2024, body protectors meeting the 2009 standard will no longer be permitted for use in their disciplines. Riders can of course continue to use BETA 2009 for general riding or in other activities where they do not specify a BP requirement. This will mean that the BETA 2018 label will be the only accepted standard by these disciplines. There is NO new standard coming in at this stage and no revisions are currently expected to the current standard. Are you planning to buy a new body protector? Or maybe the one you have has the 2009 label on it? As much as we believe that Santa wants all the riders to have the best possible safety equipment BETA always recommends that hats and body protectors should be fitted. If you want to buy those items for someone else a shopping voucher from a BETA-trained retailer might be a better idea.  Regarding hats here are the standards for 2023 which will be carried over to 2024.   [...] Read more...
3rd July 2023Latest News / WellbeingTwo local charities raised over £10,000 (£10,314) when they joined forces to raise money to support the wellbeing of young people in Dorset on Saturday in Swanage. Over 300 watched the innovative fashion show in aid of  #Willdoes and RAC Saddle Club at the Swanage’s Mowlem Theatre with local people and supporters volunteering to model outfits from local retailers including Jurassic Outdoor, Coast & Country, Tilly Whims, Esme’s Closet and Big Dreams. The crowd applauded as kids aged nine upwards modelled ski, snowboard and casual sports clothing, while some of the adults (which included local rugby first team players, event riders and coaches) rocked the stage wearing Miami Beach style outfits. “I was a bit nervous about being on stage under the spotlight but was so much fun being made up and performing with my mates, many of whom were friends of Will, plus of course it felt great to raise so much money for two great causes,” said Olivia Mallows, a local rider. Two local upcoming fashion students from Bournemouth Uni – Charlotte Gibbons and Petrus Admiral-Garbett also showcased punk clothing and show-stopping evening wear. Entertainment included a special contemporary dance performance by the amazing Bournemouth-based professional Jazz Armani Gritt who also performed with RAC Saddle Club manager Steph Buchanan and choreographed a dance routine performed by some of the youngest kids who attend the Saddle Club in Bovington for riding lessons. Stage effects and lighting were worthy of the West End courtesy of Lloyd Smith, a local sound engineer. After the show, spectators experienced the fabulous view of the bay in The Showbar Taproom and Bar, with music by DJ Angelo until midnight. There was also an auction and huge support from local celebrity Jonathan Ross who donated tickets to The Masked Singer. Lesley Paddy, #Willdoes Founder, Chair, Trustee and mother to Will who died aged 14 said: “It was one of the best events we’ve run to date. It was ethos of #WillDoes to see young people on stage, feeling nervous and a little out of their comfort zones but then facing their fears, walking on stage in front of 300-plus people and loving every minute of it.” RAC Saddle club is a registered charity that supports several charities including the Forces Children’s Trust, Riding for the Disabled, Help for Heroes (lessons for PTSD military personal), Changing Lives Through Horses, which support the needs of some of the local community members from all ages. #Willdoes is a charity that helps young people achieve wellbeing in Dorset.  They promote any charitable purpose (including the promotion of education, physical health, mental health and social inclusion) and contribute financially to charitable projects for the benefit of young people in Dorset and the surrounding areas. Introducing young people to sports and other activities to help them connect and engage socially, rather than retreat to more insular gaming and social media pastimes and to develop coping mechanisms to help manage anxiety and emotions, increase self-awareness, developing trust and relationships. Both #Willdoes and RAC Saddle club are prominent in the promotion and development of young people’s mental health. Thank you to Annie Harrison for all the amazing photos! [...] Read more...
27th June 2023Latest News / WellbeingThe RAC Saddle Club, a riding and BHS centre in Bovington, Dorset, was honoured to be picked to host a Lead-Up Youth Leadership Programme last week with BHS President Martin Clunes in attendance. The holistic programme strives to bridge the gap between marginalised communities and the rest of society helping young people to become assertive, empowered yet peaceful leaders who are better prepared to break the cycles of inequality, injustice, violence and poverty that continue to hold them back. 10 children, facing a variety of challenges, aged 12-16, from Wey Valley Academy, The Swanage School and Harbour School Dorset attended the programme which used natural horsemanship and a round pen to help the children connect with horses. “We are lucky enough to have our own round pen and used 10 of our incredible horses which helped the children to slow down their over-active minds to really listen to the horses. All the young people grew in confidence and became calmer,” said Steph Buchanan, Yard Manager of the RAC Saddle Club. The programme was run by Katie Cunningham, Founder of Lead Up International – Guatemala and Lead Up Trainer and Facilitator Claire Connaghan. Based in Ireland, and organised by BHS chief executive James Hick, CLTH Head Alison Blackmore, and CLTH business support manager Steph Geran. [...] Read more...
27th June 2023Latest News / New EventWe are excited to be hosting the Area 14 Show Jumping Qualifiers on Sunday 6 August 2023 for the Grassroots Regional Show Jumping Championships 2023. Class 1 PC80cm Class 2 PC70cm Class 3 PC70cm PLUS Teams & Individuals Entries open on Friday 30th June 2023. Organised by the South Dorset Hunt Branch of the Pony Club and The Royal Armoured Corps Saddle Club. Held the RAC Saddle Club, Bovington, BH20 6JG – What3words:///jogging.surface.forge Event Organisers Joint DC’s Claire Ferguson 07800 596645 and Janet Lickiss 07976 223470 Entries Secretary – Kristal Bowdler – office@racsaddleclub.co.uk SJ Course Builder and Judge – Stuart Collins ENTRIES A combination of Horse and Rider can only compete in one class. Entries online: www.equoevents.com Entries open on Friday 30th June and close on Monday 1st August 2023 As this an Area Competition, you must have been selected by your DC to enter. Entries should be made by your DC or Team Manager. Please note that when booking a team please enter as individuals and tick the box that you are part of a team and enter your team members and team name in the box. PLEASE CONTACT THE ORGANISER/SECRETARY BY EMAIL WHERE POSSIBLE – NO CALLS AFTER 8PM PLEASE Please note: DCs/Team Managers to submit changes to existing entries by 2nd August 2023 Times will be published on www.ponyclubresults.co.uk on 4th August, 2023 CLICK HERE to download full schedule. [...] Read more...
26th June 2023Latest NewsFour riders from Bovington’s RAC Saddle Club all placed at a British Eventing one day event in West Wilts on May 10 & 11. All of them are coached by Steph Buchanan, yard manager of the RAC Saddle Club with four out of the five horses being produced by the riders with the help of Buchanan. Sam Lewis, also a coach at the RAC Saddle Club, placed 4th on her Irish sports horse finishing on her dressage score of 27.8 having worked considerably hard at rehabbing the horse which had a suspensory injury to both hind legs in 2021. Groom Molly Swain placed 5th in her section on a hunt horse, Socks, which she has brought on over the last six months. Millie Bloomfield, just 12 years old, placed 6th in her section on her pony Charlie who she has produced from a four-year old and is currently working on bringing on a second horse. Meanwhile, Abbie Rogers placed 2nd and 6th on her two horses, one of which was previously owned by Jo Rimmer and the other which she has produced and is now reluctantly up for sale. “Eventing is a difficult sport as you have to train at three different disciplines – dressage, show jumping and cross country – but it also means that our riders who cannot afford to buy ready-made produced horses which typically sell for in excess of £20k can succeed if they buy a young or inexperienced horse and put the work in which all these riders have done,” said Buchanan. Says Lewis: “Steph often supports us on her days off and always there encouraging us not to give up when things go wrong, which they often do in this sport. Vets were unsure whether my horse would jump again but she kept telling me to persevere and it’s really paid off. He’s not only sound but he’s winning rosettes and enjoying his job.” Buchanan has been recognised by the BHS last year and was awarded the BHS Changing Lives through Horses Coach Award. Stephanie was recognised for her exceptional dedication in helping local children with their personal growth and development who, for various reasons, need additional support, are disengaged, or disadvantaged, or at risk of being excluded from education. @britisheventing British Eventing Official #racsaddleclub #teambovington [...] Read more...
7th June 2023Latest NewsIt was lovely to welcome military riders to our ODE on Sunday 28 May 2023. “Thank you Lt. Col T Warburton and team for bolting on military sections onto this show for us. All the military riders had a fantastic and educational day.” said Pte Brian Leung (RLC) Congratulations to the following winners: Pte Joanna Dunn (RAMC, attached to REME) – winner of the 90 cm military Cpl Amy Crouch (AGC, attached to RA) – winner of the 60 cm military [...] Read more...
13th March 2023Latest News / New Event  UNAFFILIATED ONE DAY EVENT – SUNDAY 28 MAY 2023 Horse Events Unaffiliated Eventing Championships 2023 Qualifier  Championship held on the 23rd and 24th September at Dauntsey Park Horse Trials INCORPORATING PC AREA 14 EVENTER LEAGUE 2023 WESSEX CONNEMARA PERFORMANCE DAY ARMY EQUITATION ONE DAY EVENT CLICK HERE for schedule and to enter. Entries open on 3 April. [...] Read more...
13th March 2023Latest News / New EventCLICK HERE for full schedule and to enter. A lack of undulating terrain makes Bovington’s course a good one to start the season for those worried about fitness. Both William Fox Pitt and Mary King last year remarked on the variety of fences with the track providing a great education for horses and riders. Expect water, banks, drops, ditches, corners and skinnies with typically an easy run around flat well-maintained paddocks. Although last year’s Novice was more testing with a tricky combination from designer Adrian Ditcham, who will once again design the course, Bovington has a solid reputation for being ideal for those starting out in eventing or moving up a level. Both Pitt and King commented positively on the ground, that it was efficiently run and on alterations which improved flow. Show jumping is on a surface (recently renovated) with a good flat grass surface on playing fields. Parking mainly on grass. If you are interested in volunteering at our event please CLICK HERE for more information and to sign up.  We are looking for fence judges, stewards, arena party, dressage writers and scorers. Thank you to our event sponsors:- Fetlocks Supported Housing https://fetlockshousing.co.uk/ and Malcolm Barnes Dorset Haylage http://www.dorsethaylage.co.uk/ Damory Equine Vets MUM’s Office Saracen Horse Feeds Dorset Equine Veterinary Services HarryHall.com If you are interested in sponsoring please email kristal@racsaddleclub.co.uk British Eventing #britisheventing #eventinglife #eventing #eventinghorse #Dorset #racsaddleclub DorsetPhotoEvent Busy Birds Golden Gate Coffee Warmwell Saddlery [...] Read more...
9th March 2023Latest News / WellbeingOn Tuesday, 7 March 2023, ITV Meridian joined us for one of our weekly BHS Changing Lives Through Horses sessions (CLTH). ITV contacted the BHS and us as they wanted to run a story about CLTH and show the benefits it has with young people and their wellbeing and mental health. Even the interviewer, Richard, got the chance to ride one of our horses and witness the benefits first hand. It was great to be asked to be involved in this story and to share with everyone the success of the CLTH programme. [...] Read more...
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7th February 2023Latest NewsFrom zero to hero Six troop leaders learn to ride in just 3 months… with only one lesson a week The RAC Saddle Club has a long history of teaching children and adults how to ride on its well-trained ponies and horses. So when a group of troop leaders needed to learn how to walk, trot and canter– and navigate their way round a small show jump course – they were up for the challenge. And luckily so were the six young second lieutenant officers from various Calvary regiments. The course – which ran from November to February was aimed at young officers who have no former equestrian experience – involved weekly lessons in basic stable management and riding. Instructor Paul Warwick said, The troop leaders showed true dedication and courage, mastering balance to stay mounted in walk, trot and canter with and without stirrups. Last week, Col Paddy Williams MC of Bovington Garrison visited the yard to inspect and judge the most proficient rider out of the six officers. The Saddle Club was very proud of what they had all achieved and to showcase what the RAC Saddle Club has been offering the garrison for over 30 years. “We have already started the next troop leaders course,” said yard manager Steph Buchanan. “With the right horse and instructor, it’s incredible what can be achieved in such a short time, providing the beginner has courage and dedication. A good sense of humour is another essential!” [...] Read more...
31st January 2023Latest News / New EventPut your glad rags on and join us for a fashion show like no other, in aid of two local charities, #Willdoes and RAC Saddle Club on Saturday 20 May at the Mowlem in Swanage. A fabulous fusion of local community businesses, charities and models of all ages coming together to bring you an evening of fashion and fun. Featuring outfits and new summer trends from local retailers; Jurassic Outdoor, Coast & Country, Tilly Whims, Esme’s Closet and Big Dreams.  There is something for everyone. You are in for a treat with a special dance performance by the amazing Jazz Armani Gritt, a fusion of classical jazz and contemporary techniques to form the style of Lyrical Jazz.  It doesn’t stop there, after the show experience the fabulous view of the bay and join us in the Showbar, with music by DJ Angelo until midnight.  The evening promises to be entertaining and fun! Both #Willdoes and RAC Saddle club are prominent in the promotion and development of young people’s mental health. RAC Saddle club is a registered charity that supports several charities including the Forces Children’s Trust, Riding for the disabled, Help for Heroes (lessons for PTSD military personal), Changing Lives Through Horses, which support the needs of some of the local community members from all ages. The #Willdoes charity is dedicated to the memory of William Paddy, a sporty charismatic young man with a cheeky smile who grew up in Swanage, Dorset and enjoyed snowboarding, rugby and horse riding. Sadly, his life ended early at the age of 14 but his energy lives on through his charity, #Willdoes. The charity proudly supports community projects and individuals to help young people who may be finding life tough. The evening is in aid of both charities to help them to continue to provide the amazing support with mental health. CLICK HERE to buy your tickets. [...] Read more...
17th January 2023Latest News / New EventWhether you are looking for intensive training, some relaxed fun filled horse days to make new friends or enjoy your own private group holiday, our camps are perfect with our excellent facilities and amazing coaches. FOR RIDERS AGED 12 TO 25 (Aged 12 to 14 non residential) During Eventers Camp we also have visiting coaches come in to teach you. In the past camps we have had pro riders Jo Rimmer, Joe Roome, Christopher Wincer, Line Andreson, Aaron Miller and Nadine Carcary. This camp is for riders aged 12 to 25 with their own horse/pony who are currently eventing or just starting to event from 80cm to Novice. Due to the wide age range children from Age 12 to 14 are non residential but are encouraged to stay for meals and fun games in the evening. Our normal schedule is to arrive by 8am on the Monday and there will be approx three lessons a day in different disciplines like cross country, flat work, grids, show jumping course, arena XC and hacking. On the final day there will be a mini fun competition. We have portable stables for your horse/pony to stay overnight and riders can camp on site in your lorries, in a tent or we do have a large portacabin which will be shared with others (beds not provided and single sex). Meals are included and we have a lovely wooden log cabin for eating and socialising. There will be fun games organised for the evenings and we normally take the children on a trip to Dorset Adventure Park one evening. To sign up CLICK HERE and complete the  form and we will contact you regarding payment of deposit to secure your place. Any queries please email kristal@racsaddleclub.co.uk [...] Read more...
4th January 2023Latest NewsWe have sponsorship opportunities for local businesses at our Events & Competitions, on our website and on social media.   The Royal Armoured Corps (RAC) Saddle Club is an outstanding British Horse Society approved centre, British Eventing competition venue, livery and pony club yard based in Bovington, Dorset.   More than that, we are a registered charity supporting the armed forces and veterans, as well the wider community by providing equitation facilities for all, and by supporting programmes such as Riding for the Disabled and Changing Lives through Horses. JOIN OUR CURRENT SPONSORS     We have different packages available starting at £250 a year.   For more information please click the link below or email kristal@racsaddleclub.co.uk   https://www.racsaddleclub.co.uk/sponsorship/ [...] Read more...
13th December 2022Latest News / New Event / UncategorisedBelow are our dates for our Summer Camps 2023: Friday, 16 June 2023 to Sunday, 18 June 2023 Adult Camp (arrive from 4pm Friday) Click Here for more information. Friday, 7 July to Sunday, 9 July 2023 Adult Camp (arrive from 4pm Friday) Click Here for more information. Monday, 31 July to Thursday, 3 August 2023 Eventers Camp (Age 12 to 25) – Riders competing 80cm + Residential for children aged 14 + only Open to non-RAC members on their own horses/ponies Click Here for more information. Monday, 7 August to Thursday, 10 August 2023 Junior Academy Camp – Riders jumping 60cm to 90cm Open to non-RAC members on their own horses/ponies Click Here for more information. Sunday, 13 August to Tuesday, 15 August 2023 RAC Pony Club Members Only – Residential Camp Intermediates jumping 70cm to 85cm Click Here for more information. Wednesday, 16 August to Thursday, 17 August 2023 RAC Minis Pony Club Members Only –  Non-Residential Camp (Aged 6 to 8 approx.) WTC, Poles or Jumping 40cm to 50cm Click Here for more information. Friday, 18 August to Sunday, 20 August 2023 Adult Camp (arrive from 4pm Friday) Click Here for more information. Monday, 21 August to Wednesday, 23 August 2023 RAC Pony Club Members Only – Residential Junior Camp (Aged 9+) Jumping 60cm to 75cm Click Here for more information. [...] Read more...
24th November 2022Latest NewsThousands of pounds was raised last Saturday, 19 November, for local charities, including #WillDoes, at the popular ‘Strictly-style’ fundraiser event, Business Comes Dancing, organised by Pavilion Dance South West. Eight contestants from local businesses, including our Steph Buchanan, were partnered with professional dancers to learn a routine in just eight weeks with competitors challenged to perform a specific dance style which included Latin to Charleston and Tango to Musical Theatre. After just eight hours of coaching, contestants then had to perform in front of a live audience and panel of judges at a black-tie gala dinner at the Highcliff Marriott Hotel. Steph Buchanan, trustee, of #WillDoes and Hennie Weld, a #Willdoes committee member, took time out of the busy work schedules to put themselves forward to dance on stage and learn gruelling routines. While Hennie performed a fabulous Charleston with Ruby Adam, Steph and her professional partner, Jazz Gritt, placed third with a fun Jazz routine from Tick Tick boom. Says Steph: “I loved the whole process despite being completely unfit and I’m thoroughly hooked on dancing now. The whole experience from working with Jazz, to being backstage and on stage was both incredible and terrifying. I am so impressed with the amazing organisation and support from Cheryl and her team at Pavilion Dance. “I can really see the power of dance and how it can help improve both your fitness and mental health and confidence. “I am going to keep dancing and will help promote and support what Pavilion Dance does from charity events to dance classes for people with Parkinson’s Disease. “As a charity, #Willdoes would love to work with Pavilion Dance and help young people benefit from their inspirational workshops in Bournemouth.” #Willdoes had three tables of supporters from the charity and the RAC Saddle Club where Steph works as a head riding coach and manager.  www.pdsw.org.uk www.willdoes.co.uk CLICK HERE to watch Steph’s performance on Facebook.   [...] Read more...
9th November 2022Uncategorised / WellbeingSteph has won a prestigious award and is shortlisted for another nationwide coaching accolade for her work supporting young people. Stephanie Buchanan, manager and chief coach at the RAC Saddle Club in Bovington, was presented with the BHS Changes Lives through Horses Coach Awards on Thursday 3 November, in a ceremony attended by BHS President Martin Clunes OBE. The BHS Annual Awards programme celebrates the individuals and organisations who have gone the extra mile making a huge impact on behalf of the equine charity and the equestrian world. Stephanie was recognised for her exceptional dedication to her participants’ personal growth and development after she integrated the CLtH scheme at Bovington to help local children who, for various reasons, need additional support, are disengaged, or disadvantaged, or at risk of being excluded from education. Stephanie became drawn to the BHS scheme following the death of her 14-year-old nephew Will. “After his death in 2019, I helped my sister, Les, establish a charity, #Willdoes, a year later. The charity helps raise money to fund initiatives that help young people and we have raised an incredible amount of money. However, when I saw the BHS scheme I knew that I could do even more and help young people by introducing them to the ponies and horses we have on our yard. Horses have an incredible capacity to heal and inspire and many of the children we work with have never touched a horse before but by spending time and communicating with them they become more open to the people around them and recognise that they can overcome hurdles which sometimes seem unsurmountable. “I’m honoured to receive the award but to be honest, it’s the horses and my volunteers Ella, Sacha, Melody, Maggie, Lisa, Victoria, Paul and Ellie who have done most of the work.” Stephanie is also a finalist for the prestigious 25th annual Change of Life Award, supported by Sport England, with the winner due to be announced on December 6 at the Queens Hotel, Leeds. The awards recognise the hard work and commitment coaches across all sports contribute from delivering top level coaching to supporting individuals both physically and mentally. UK Coaching’s CEO Mark Gannon said there had been over 350 nominations. “This year the bar has been raised once again, and whilst we are fully aware of the power of coaching, our brilliant coaching workforce continues to surprise us and change lives and communities.” Good Luck, Steph! [...] Read more...
3rd November 2022Latest News / New EventWITH INTERNATIONAL EVENT RIDERS JO RIMMER & JOE ROOME  SUNDAY 20 NOVEMBER 2022  SUNDAY 11 DECEMBER 2022  SUNDAY 22 JANUARY 2023  SUNDAY 26 FEBRUARY 2023  £60 FOR TWO HOUR LESSON  ONE HOUR IN EACH DISCIPLINE WITH EACH COACH  MAX OF 4 IN A GROUP  HEIGHT 80,90,100CM & NOVICE CLICK HERE TO BOOK NOW ON EQUO If Sessions fill up, extras sessions will be added, so please use the waiting list function. Under no circumstances will clinics be refunded due to cancellation by competitors. Refunds at the discretion of the organisers less a £5 admin fee. [...] Read more...
28th October 2022Latest News / WellbeingCongratulations to Stephanie Buchanan (Yard Manager & Senior Coach) for being nominated and is one of the finalists announced for the Change a Life Award (Supported by Sport England) Supported by Sport England this award recognises a coach who has empowered and inspired an individual from a diverse community through #GreatCoaching. Steph has been recognised for her work coaching pupils struggling in mainstream education through the BHS Changing Lives Through Horses programme. Her attentive teaching style actively encourages feedback, builds trust, develops confidence and nurtures a love of learning. Her tireless work has given purpose to many young people and reduced their isolation, providing them with a sense of belonging. CLICK HERE to read more. #equestriancoach #ukcoachingawards #sportengland #britishhorsesociety [...] Read more...