Eastwood seeks recognition for stable of Yorkshire Shire horses

DEB EASTWOOD is not simply a Shire horse enthusiast.

She admits that her interest in these gentle giants is bordering on the obsessive.

Her mission is to gain them more recognition as ridden horses and for the last few years she has been busy promoting the breed, encouraging show organisers to put on more classes for them, as well as competing herself.

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Deb bought her first Shire horse, Velvet, 13 years ago as a present for her husband, Colin.

They then kept her foal, Clover, and Deb started to ride her and began to do some dressage.

Gail Carmichael subsequently took over the ride and they have done well in competitions, including at this year’s National Shire Horse Show where an afternoon is now devoted to ridden classes for heavy horses.

Illness in the family plus Gail breaking a bone in her foot, after dismounting rather rapidly from Clover, meant they had to put competing on hold for the rest of the season.

But by then they had acquired another Shire horse.

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“The new kid on the block” as Deb describes her, is five-year-old Metheringham Upton Liberty, or Lily, as she is known at home.

“This mare has had her share of misfortunes in her short life and when we went to see her she was suffering from an abscess in one of her hind feet and had the strangest gait you could imagine,” said Deb.

“It was very obvious at walk but her trot and canter were beautiful.”

They could not resist taking her home and now Lily is turning out to be rather a star.

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Deb began to break her in in March this year and Lily took everything in her stride.

They decided to give her a couple of outings, with Deb riding, to see how she went.

Her first show was Woolley in July which she won and this was followed by Sykehouse, where she also won her class.

After some more practise, Deb and Lily went to Wisbech Shire Horse Show at Peterborough in October.

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“This is quite a big show with a lot going on around the ring but she went on to win the Ridden Heavy Horse class,” said Deb.

Her last outing for this year was the Future Stars Show at Wortley near Sheffield last month. She placed second in the ridden youngster (any breed over 14.2hh) and first in the Ridden Heavy Horse class.

“She’s going to have an easy winter now with a bit of schooling and a lot of hacking,” says Deb, who lives at West Hardwick near Nostell.

Her next appearance will be at the National Shire Horse Show in March along with Clover, who will be ridden by Ruth Walker from Ackworth.

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This show is the largest gathering of Shire horses in the country.

“I’m really pleased that a lot more shows are starting to put on classes for Shires now,” said Deb.

She hopes that in May, the Northern Racing College will be adding Shire horse classes to its show schedule.

Autumn grant is a boost for Society

THE Chancellor George Osborne’s announcement in his Autumn Statement this week, of a new £2m “paths for communities” grant scheme, has been welcomed by the British Horse Society.

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Under this scheme new paths will be created which carry rights for riders, walkers and cyclists.

“This is a hugely encouraging result after years of fighting for the rights of equestrians,” said Mark Weston, director of access, safety and welfare for the BHS.

“With riders currently enjoying access to only 22 per cent of all rights of way and carriage drivers faring even less well and with those percentages set to diminish significantly as walkers acquire new rights of way, this initiative marks an important turning point.”

The French National Horse Riding School, Le Cadre Noir de Saumur, is to makes its first visit to the UK in May.

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Famous for its complex horsemanship, the French riding School will be appearing at Earls Court in London from May 25 to 27.

Le Cadre Noir de Saumur dates back to 1825 when it provided training for the officers of the French cavalry and it gets its name from the black uniforms that are still used today.

Fifty horses and 22 riders will travel to London for the show where they will be accompanied by music from the European Symphony Orchestra.

Tickets have just gone on sale for the three performances.

To book call 0844 338 0000 or go to www.bookingsdirect.com.

Tireless Crosland earns national honour for her outstanding work

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JANN CROSLAND, who has been involved with British Riding Clubs for more than 30 years, received a special award for her work at a ceremony organised by the BHS.

Jann, who was nominated by the Holme Valley Riding Club, was presented with her award by BHS president, Martin Clunes, at the Saddler’s Hall in London.

Jann received the Leo Harris award which is given annually to the Riding Club member who has given outstanding voluntary service to the Riding Club movement over a period of years.

Jann was originally with Shibden Vale Riding Club, where she served as chairman and for the last 20 years she has been a committee stalwart and latterly chairman of Holme Valley Riding Club.

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A tireless worker for the club, she prepares newsletters, chairs meetings, manages the website, organises social and fund raising activities and arranges training sessions during the winter.

She also organises the Holme Valley teams for competitions and is their trainer. The BHS awards highlight the work that goes on, much of it behind the scenes, on behalf of Britain’s horses and riders.

“It was very difficult keeping it secret from Jann beforehand but we managed it,” said club secretary, Jude Lumb.

“We are very proud of her.”

The Riding for the Disabled Association has received a pre-Christmas boost in the form of a donation of £80,000 from the rural business, Countrywide.

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The charity, which celebrated its 40th anniversary last year, will use the money to help support over 500 RDA groups which are run throughout the country.

Countrywide’s chairman, John Hardman, said the RDA would continue as the company’s charity of the year next year. The money was raised at a variety of fund-raising events during the year.

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