October 8, 2022: Equine Car Boot Sale

Saturday 8 October 2022
10 am – 12.30pm

No space in your tack room for any more rugs? Don’t know what to do with those boots/numnahs you no longer use? Find a new home for all those unwanted things gathering dust in your tack room and bring them to our Autumn Car Boot Sale.

Sellers set up from 9.30am, doors open to buyers from 10.00am. Finish at 12.30pm.

  • Sellers £10.00 per car
  • Buyers – entry free, donations appreciated
  • Raffle and refreshments available

Ever wanted to try a mechanical horse? Well you can! ‘Have a go’ short session on Perry the mechanical horse for just £5.

Proceeds from this event will be split between The British Horse Society & The Cavalier Centre RDA in support of Shropshire riders

Book a table and find out more here: https://www.bhs.org.uk/events/local-events/autumn-equine-car-boot-sale/

Congratulations – RDA National 2022 results


We’d hoped to share some photos of our riders at the RDA National Championships… but haven’t found them easy to get hold of. However, we do want to celebrate our riders great result.

Alison Moore and Star came 2nd in show jumping (level 3)

Brad Wale with Theo came 3rd in Dressage Freestyle (grade 1) walk and trot and also
5th in Dressage (grade 6) walk and trot.

Georgia Halliwell-Paget and Heston came 5th in Walk and Trot Dressage (grade 1-6) as well as 5th in the Countryside Challenge for Independent Riders!

Many, many congratulations to them all – and we’ll post photos as soon as we get them!

Can you put the fun into fundraising?

Like any charity, the Cavalier Centre depends on the support of individuals, companies, foundations and families to keep it going. Along with our volunteers who take part in all the horse and pony-related activity, we have people who do maintenance, groundskeeping and more.

Right now, we’re looking for fun and enthusiastic people who would be willing to work on fundraising and profile-building events and activities. These would include things like creating fun social events – from cake baking to concerts and just about everything in between!

Other things to do would include championing the Centre at local events and shows, dropping off and collecting donation tins, as well as seeking support from local businesses for raffles, prizes and so on.

We’d also love it if you’d be able to support us with events – whether that’s attending to help out, or getting creative in support of the centre, for example, making and selling crafts, growing plants, arranging sponsored walks, dog shows, or even jumping out of a plane for money!

Whatever your skills or experience, if you would like to join a fun events and fundraising team, we’d love to hear from you. Just contact Rachel, the centre manager by email ([email protected])

Water, water everywhere!

To reduce our impact on the planet and make better use of the resources we have on site we plan to use water from the land to feed the field troughs. Water is currently collected from French drains in the fields and piped away. Our plan is to pump the collected water to the troughs and rely only on mains water if our own supply runs dry.  

This work involves digging trenches and laying pipework which we hope to have completed by the end of the summer. We’re always looking for ways to be more environmentally friendly.

We’re Community Allies of Much Wenlock’s Plastic Free Communities campaign which is organised by Surfers Against Sewage and a Refill site where water bottles can be filled for free. We’ve also worked with our friends at Shrewsbury Cup who sourced reusable plastic cups to replace single use disposable cups used for events etc.

 

New small barn breaking ground

 

 

We’re really thrilled that, after all the hard work securing funding, work has begun on our new building project!

We’re creating a small barn, attached to the main arena, for groundwork and one-to-one / small group activities, along with a new carriage and tractor storage space. Once completed, the existing carriage room will become the tack room. Now the work is underway, we hope to be finished by the end of the summer. Unfortunately, there will be some disruption, but we will do our very best to keep it to a minimum.

We’ll keep you updated on progress via email, our social media accounts and the website.

July 14, 2022: Anatomy of the Head – talk with Gillian Higgins

We’re excited to welcome Shropshire British Horse Society to the Cavalier Centre for a fascinating and information-packed evening on July 14th. 

Gillian Higgins will be using her signature paintings on horses, drawings, intricate anatomy models and dissection photographs and videos to illustrate her talk – Anatomy of the Head: related to health, performance, bridle fit and design. The evening will give you a clear understanding of what lies under your horse’s skin and to help you see your horse from a new perspective.

This evening lecture is perfect for riders, coaches, horse owners and bridle fitters. Covering the hyoid apparatus, temporomandibular joint and tongue as well as bones, nerves, muscles and teeth, it will demonstrate how understanding more about the anatomy of the head enables us to fit a bridle and handle the head more sensitively with the comfort and performance of the horse in mind.

The evening will count as 3 CPD points for Accredited Professional Coaches.

Tickets cost
£20 in advance
£25 on the door if available

 

Find out more and book tickets here: Anatomy of the Head

Taking STEPS along the way

 

Photographs from the first STEPS Celebration and Coffee Morning

“I’ve started to get my confidence back and realise that people do like me and I can get over my fears.” Those are the words of James, a participant in the STEPS programme at the Cavalier Centre.

And he’s not alone in finding STEPS transformative. His fellow participant Sarah adds: “I’m currently four and a half months sober (the longest I’ve ever managed) and the STEPS programme has been a huge part of making my journey bearable.”

These are the unprompted testimonials from two of the latest cohort of participants in the newly launched STEPS programme. Funded by the National Lottery, this transformative eight-week course, uses horses and ponies, along with classroom-based activities, to build confidence and life skills in those who are wanting to get back on their feet after some kind of setback.

Lynette Fryer, the programme’s coordinator, works with the people on the course to explore areas around self-awareness, equine behaviours, personal wellbeing and horse care. And alongside the classroom learning (and greatly loved by the people taking part) is the work they do with the horses at the Centre. They learn to lead horses and ponies, to groom them, and tack them up ready for riding.

This all leads to a final celebration event when they can have a professional riding lesson if they want. The smiles on that last day are electrifying and contagious. And the sense of achievement they feel is profound.

Lynette says: “It’s amazing to watch the people taking part in STEPS learn and grow over their time here. When they first arrive, they are often nervous and a bit withdrawn. But gradually they learn to trust and begin to realise they have lots of offer and can gain new skills, and it’s then that their confidence grows.”

The STEPS programme grew out of another Cavalier Centre initiative that worked with people who had been out of work for an extended period of time. It was developed to help people’s general wellbeing, as well as their confidence. Experience has shown that working with horses in this structured way helps with mental health and personal development, builds calmness and self-awareness, develops resilience and self-care along with reducing anxiety and stress.

“Everyone who’s involved in delivering the STEPS programme is humbled by the participants’ feedback. We know there is something about working with horses that’s hard to describe,” says Lynette.

“There’s something intangible that happens when humans and horses meet. There’s a mutual understanding that’s unspoken, but often can help someone understand that they’re valuable and have something to give. Horses seem to bring out the confidence and humanity in someone who may feel very vulnerable.”

The programme takes eight-weeks to complete and comprises 2.5 hours sessions and is funded by the National Lottery’s Big Community Fund. To find out more, drop Lynette an email at [email protected]

We’ve changed the names of the participants to protect their identity.

Volunteers Week: Community, comradeship and calm

by Richard, one of our volunteers.

After a while, you get used to things. Almost take them for granted. It’s not that you don’t appreciate them, it’s more that they become part and parcel of your everyday life.

For example, I don’t have quite the same level of surprise at rounding the corner on the lane and finding a beautiful purpose-built arena and equestrian facility. And I’m not quite as apprehensive as I was the first time I came to volunteer. And over time, I’ve realised that the group of volunteers that I worked with on my first day, are actually a close-knit community that I now belong to.

Truth be told, these small changes, taken on their own, don’t really mean much. But cumulatively, they are the reasons why the Cavalier Centre has become a central part of my life, and the place where I’ve found community, comradeship and calm.

A friend told me about the Centre after I moved to Shropshire, having returned from living in Canada for 10 years. Because I work from home, I wanted to find a place to meet people, as well as doing something, for want of a better word, “worthwhile.” So, I applied, gave my two references and had my volunteer induction. And then, in what’s become rather typical for me, I jumped in with both feet.

I haven’t regretted it.

Having started by volunteering on a Tuesday afternoon, which involved getting the horses and ponies ready for the RDA sessions, I also got trained on how to lead a horse and rider, so have been doing that too. I’ve got to know the team, the coaches, the other volunteers and the equine team members. And because I have a background in marketing and communications, I’ve also helped out with the website, social media and graphic design.

It’s been inspiring to watch the participants in action. The riders overcome all kinds of obstacles to enjoy their time with the horses. And the incredible programs like STEPS or At Home With Horses are amazing to see in action. They are truly life-changing in what they do.

I’m not writing all this to brag. Far from it. It’s really just to put into words how volunteering at the Centre has been a fulfilling experience. It’s humbling to watch how the horses and humans interact.

And how they bring people together in a wider community.

So if you’re wondering whether to volunteer, I’d say: “go for it!” You will learn and do more than you thought possible. You’ll meet all kinds of people with all kinds of stories. You’ll be supported and trained and kept safe.

And, most of all, you’ll be appreciated, valued and loved.

 

Welcoming our new Volunteer & Participant Coordinator

We’re very happy that Jane Johnson has joined us as our new Volunteer and Participant Coordinator.

Jane started riding at four years old and volunteered at a local riding stable as a teenager and she’s very much enjoying being around horses again after a gap of several years.

She’s a qualified secondary school geography teacher and has two decades in the education sector: 10 years working for the Field Studies Council teaching geography fieldwork and 10 years in schools as a geography teacher. Directly before joining the Cavalier Centre she spent a year and a half as a civil servant within the Department for Work and Pensions.

Jane says: “I’m really looking forward to getting to know all the great people at the Cavalier Centre – both volunteers and participants, as well as the horses and ponies. It’s such a big change from being in a government office to working in a beautiful rural setting and a real privilege to be involved in the work of the Centre.

Welcome Jane – we’re really happy you’re here!

Success at the RDA Regionals, May 2022

At 4:00am on Sunday morning, as the mist had barely risen over the fields at the Cavalier Centre, the team were springing into action to get the horses loaded in the trucks for their journey to Warwickshire and the RDA Regional Championships.

Sion, Star, Theo and Mac were the equine stars of the show, and they were ably supported by a wonderful team of volunteers (who also didn’t mind the early start).

After an incident-free journey, and plenty of coffee, everyone arrived safely and preparations began. Thanks to the great work of Jess and the team, the horses had been washed, brushed and braided and looked like superstars as they, and their riders, began the competition.

First up was dressage, and we were thrilled to watch our competitors do exceptionally well. Each of them showed off their skills and determination and all they had learned over the previous weeks in their lessons and practice at the Centre. The hard work certainly paid off as two of the riders qualified for the Nationals.

Next up was the ever-popular Countryside Challenge, and again our riders rose to the occasion. Some of them had never ridden in a competition before – and it was a first for Mac too. The results were very strong from all of our riders and they earned lots of rosettes too. The full results are at the bottom of this page.

And lastly, there was the showjumping  where we also saw great success!

At 2:00pm, hot, smiling and happy, our participants, coaches, team and volunteers got to celebrate with the prize-giving. Each time a Cavalier Centre rider’s name was called, there was lots of applause and cheering. We had so to celebrate!

Thank you to all our riders for taking part – Brad Wale, Alison Moore, Lilia Toole, Georgia Halliwell-Paget, Florence Giles, Olivia Taylor, Manny Best, Robert Storer, Di Field and Jacqueline Doughton. Congratulations to you all!

And, of course, a huge thank you to our team of coaches, staff and volunteers – Annabel, Louisa, Lisa, Zara, Di, Sally, Jane, Marion, and Richard

You can read Annabel’s personal reflections on the day below this picture as well as see the results and a full picture gallery.


A personal reflection from Annabel

 

Sitting down after a very busy weekend I am a very proud and happy coach. Friday and Saturday involved some extra training sessions and the preparation of the horses and transport for the big day on Sunday.

Sunday was an early start, I arrived at the Centre at 4.00am to get the horses in and plaited before we all headed off to Lowlands Equestrian Centre at 6.30am. With the aid of an excellent team of staff and volunteers we arrived and set up camp and got all the horses cleaned and warmed-up for the days competition. The team worked so hard to ensure that all the ponies looked sparkling and were in the right place at the right time, all the participants were a delight to be around, showing great patience when some classes ran behind and a fabulous attitude to competition as a whole, following instructions and listening to the coaches.

The ponies were impeccable, the hours Jess spent on the Saturday washing and polishing really showed, and the turn out of horses and riders was praised by the organiser of the show. They also did not put a hoof out of place all day, with Sion and Mac stepping in last minute to allow Georgia and Florence to compete as Heston gave himself the weekend off.

I am so very proud to be part of The Cavalier Centre Team.


RDA REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS – MAY 22, 2022
Lowlands Farm, Warwick

 

Dressage

 

  • Brad Wale and Theo– 2nd and qualified Grade 1-6 Walk & Trot
  • Lilia Toole and Star – 1st and qualified – Grade 7 Walk and Trot
  • Georgia Halliwell-Paget and Sion – 1st and qualified Grade 1-6 Walk & Trot
  • Florence Giles and Mac – 1st and qualified Intro to Dressag
  • Di Field and Sion – 2nd and qualified Grade 7 Walk and Trot Dressagee led walk only
  • Olivia Taylor and Star – 1st Grade 1-6 walk only dressage
  • Jaqueline Doughton and Sion – 1st and Qualified Grade 1 Dressage

Countryside Challenge

 

  • Georgia Halliwell-Paget and Sion – 2nd and qualified 
  • Florence Giles and Mac – 2nd and qualified
  • Robert Storer and Mac – 3rd

Showjumping

 

  • Alison Moore and Star – 1st and Qualified
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