Welcome to the VWH Riding Club

We are a long established friendly club with members from all around the Cirencester, Malmesbury and Swindon area.

As a club we cater for all levels of rider, from those who just want to have fun with their horse, new combinations starting their training, through to people competing their horses at any level.


We are affiliated to British Riding Clubs, within Area 9, which enables members to compete in qualifiers of all equestrian disciplines and the chance to qualify for national championships at all levels.


We hold regular clinics, residential camps and training days with a variety of instructors to suit all abilities and welcome new members to come and join the fun!

How to join us:

If you would like to join our club, please download the membership form here:

VWH Membership Form 2015

Latest News

Summer Qualifiers

Club entries are now being taken for the Area 9 Horse Trials, Summer show jumping and Summer dressage qualifiers - full details are on our teams page 

If you fancy competing for the club in any of these disciplines please do get in touch.

We also need fences judges for the Horse Trials on Sunday 28th June. If you are unable to compete but willing to help out for the day it would be much appreciated - for every team we enter we have to provide a helper for the day so based on last year we shall need four helpers on the day! Please contact Pip Thornton if you are able to help.

Championship Success

Well done to Jude Matthews and Benji who finished 5th with 70% in the Elementary Class of the Intermediate Winter Dressage Championships on Saturday 2nd May at Bury Farm. 

Area 9 Combined Training 

Two VWH teams attended the Area 9 Combined training competition at Rabson Manor kindly hosted by Wessex Gold. With some new members making their debut and some regular VWH members taking new horses, young horses or stepping up a level for the first time it was a mixed but very much enjoyable day with everyone coming home feeling positive having had a good day even if on paper it may not have seemed that way :-). Congratulations to Fiona Russell-Brown who has qualified as an individual for the Championships in the 75cm Prelim section.

New Trainer

Polly Williamson won six gold medals as Junior and young Rider European Championships (as Polly Lyon riding Highland Road and Folly's Last) as well as numerous other wins at International competitions, including placings at both Badminton and Burghley. Polly understands the pressures in preparing well for competitions at all levels. She is a well respected trainer from Pony/Riding Club to International level and this experience and natural empathy underpins her coaching.

2015 Clinic dates

New clinic dates for Cassie Price, Sam Ramatalla, Anne-Marie Taylor and Polly Willaimson and who to contact to book can be found on the clinics page

Spring Camp

Ten members and eleven horses became residents at Stockland Lovell camp this spring with instructor Anne-Marie Taylor for four fabulous days of thrills and spills and sunshine. The ground was perfect which meant we could get out on the newly updated cross country course whilst the arenas were over flowing with brand new fences and the food was as amazing as ever. With something for every-one and lessons geared to all levels it was great to see so many horses and riders improving in such a short space of time. Anne-Marie also provided lots of mini master classes and actually she rode at least half of the horses at camp!

I am pleased to report Sue is mending well after her crashing fall but a fabulous team spirit amongst the campers meant that her pony and dogs were devilishly spoilt in her absence and safely delivered home whilst Sue remained in the Musgrove Hospital and we look forwards to seeing her back on board once mended :-). A huge thank you to Jude for organising yet another successful camp for us all to enjoy.

Area 9 FOH Eventers Challenge

It was a first time for many of us competing in the Eventers challenge at the new all weather venue at Wickstead Equestrian Centre, so there were a few nerves but lots of words ofencouragement from team mates and club supporters. For those of you who have not been there, the showjumping and cross country are in a huge arena with a variety of xc jumps on a loop outside the main arena which is certainly different.

Everyone arrived in time to watch the course before we were able to walk it. It was certainly causing a fair few problems, this made us all the more determined to give it our best shot.

Penny was first to go with her experienced mare Lumiere, and she put in a copybook round with a very stylish double clear to finish a creditable 4th. Angela was excited to be back competing her lovely mare Lexie, after some time off. They were unlucky to roll a couple of poles in the sj but set off in a determined manner for the xc only for Lexie to jump up the steps but she was not so keen to go down again.

Cathy jumped a very stylish show jumping round and set off at a good hunting canter only to be unlucky at the trekener, where Just B was not keen to go any further. Porta Dela jumped a lovely showjumping round despite rolling one pole where we were just a little onward bound. He coped well with all the bogey fences but could not quite understand what he was being asked to do when pointed at a brush fence heading out of the main arena resulting in a cheeky run out.

All in all there was some disappointment but lots of good bits and plenty to work on. The day finished with the traditional team picnic and very tasty bacon butties in Penny's lorry, where we had a perfect view of the arena. I thoroughly enjoyed managing the team and know we will be back again next year to have another go!

Area 9 Winter Intermediate Show Jumping

On Saturday 14th March Jude Matthews (Benji), Pip Thornton (Heston), Sharon Robbins (Ronald) and Lynda King (Storm) contested the Winter Intermediate Area SJ at Summerhouse EC, organised by Frampton Family RC. Unfortunately the day didn't get off to the best of starts, with a slight administrative error meaning Jude had to ride H/C - we'll know for next time that horses cannot be vaccinated in the week leading up to a RC competition! Nevertheless, all of the horses jumped well, with 3 clears in the first round from Sharon, Jude and Lynda. A super jump off turn to the last fence from Pip, good rounds from Jude and Sharon, especially impressive given Sharon had barely jumped Ronald before the competition, and a clear from Lynda led to the team finishing a very credible 5th, despite not being able to count Jude's score, with Lynda finishing individual 2nd."

Area 9 Winter Intermediate Dressage

On Sunday 1st march two VWH teams braved the weather to compete for us. The VWH Lions Jude, Lynda, Mariana and Jo finished 6th and the VWH Tigers Fiona, Lynda, Anne and Sarah finished 11th with individual 2nd of for Jude (and a nationals individual qualification) 4th for Lynda and 8th for Mariana. Some pretty impressive test riding considering the horizontal hail and gales! 

BRC Area 9 Winter Dressage Competition  

On Sunday 9th November the VWH hosted the BRC Area 9 winter dressage qualifier at Summerhouse Equestrian Centre.

A huge thank you to everyone who gave up their time to help us run this event in order to help raise club funds to be used to subsidise clinics again for next year. The sun came out and a super day was had by all and ran like clock work! Thank you to everyone no matter how small your part in making the day such a success.

In addition to running the event we also entered two teams. With Patricia Haskins winning her section, Lynda King finishing 3rd and Jo Thornton 7th with the Tigers team (Patrica, Lynda, Sarah and Georgie) finishing 4th.

Well done to all! 

Autumn Camp

Ten members and their horses, thanks to Jude Matthews brilliant organisation headed to Stockland Lovell Equestrian Centre near Bridgewater for our annual autumn camp on Saturday 27th September through to Wednesday 1st October. Blessed with fantastic weather, amazing facilities, good going on the cross country, great food, plenty of wine and a fantastic new trainer a great time was had by all.
Joe MacDonald from Foxley Equestrian was our trainer for the duration and in addition to our usual format of dressage, show jumping and cross country we also found time for a speed jumping class, some horse swopping and a spot of loose jumping.

Lincoln National Championships 2014

This year our Novice Show Jumping team successfully qualified for the National Championships at Lincolnshire Show Ground on Saturday 6th September alongside Jude Matthews who qualified as an individual in Open Dressage and the Open Riding Test.
The weather held, Jude Matthews and Fiona Symes kindly travelled up early on the Friday to volunteer with event preparation whilst Sharon Robbins, Scarlett Crew and Vanessa Bennett all got up early to travel on the Saturday.
A very successful day was had by all with Vanessa and Scarlett both having clear rounds, whilst Fiona and Sharon sadly rolled a few poles however they finished on a very credible team score over a very tricky course that consistently caused problems all day!
Jude and Benji also produced two brilliant tests to finish 5th in the Open Dressage and 12th in the Riding Test.
A fabulous time was had by all - roll on the winter qualifiers....

Blenheim Eventers Challenge 2014

Once again the VWH Riding Club was lucky enough to secure an entry for the Riding Clubs Eventers Team Challenge on Thursday 11th September in the Blaydon Arena. Pip Thornton on Heston, Jude Matthews on Benji, Scarlett crew on Humphrey and Lynda King on Ronnie represented the club.
Our thanks go to Joe McDonald and Cassie Price for pre-event training, course walks and warming in however the tricky course resulted in us all rolling some poles, Jude and Benji were our best result with only 4 faults and Lynda scored our best style mark despite rolling two poles. 
With very few clears being achieved all day and numerous eliminations being caused by a tricky cross country combination every-one was thrilled to complete with only show jumping faults and then settled down to a super pic-nic and a spot of shopping.  

BRC National Horse Trials Championships

Pip Thornton, Fiona Symes, Marianna Gaussen & Jude Matthews headed off to Swalcliffe for the BRC National Horse Trials Champs at the start of August.  The weather was variable (to say the least!) but a great time was had by all, and rain certainly didn't stop play!!

At the end of day 1 (dressage and showjumping), the VWH team were lying in a very credible 2nd place, with only 0.5 of a penalty between them and the winners.  Marianna and Jude were also both leading their sections.
With all to play for, day 2 was a little more stressful!  The weather was much improved and the sun made a very welcome appearance.  Jude was first to go out on the roads and tracks, and jumped a lovely clear with just a couple of time penalties on the XC.  Marianna quickly followed, and jumped a super clear too, but with a diversion on course as Baxter decided he fancied a trip back towards the stables!  Marianna did a super job to get him back to track and they completed clear, albeit with some time penalities too.   Pip was next, and Heston stormed round for our third clear, and also picked up a small number of time penalties.  Fiona Symes was last and Penny made it all look very easy and cruised round inside the time.
There then was a long wait for results (and plenty of time for the obligatory picnic!)...
The team finished a very credible 12th, coming 8th in the 'all four scores to count' competition with Jude finished individually 4th.
Lynda King also represented the club at BE100 plus level, and had a very credible score in the dressage to leave her in contention headed onto the XC.  Unfortunately, her horse pulled a shoe off at the start of Phase A, and then again coming back into the 10 minute box.  Despite a speedy putting back on of the shoe, Chiron wasn't totally sound and Lynda made the decision to pull him before the XC phase.   Whilst a massive disappointment for Lynda, they look a pair to be reckoned with for next year....  watch out BRC!
A great time had by all, and big thanks to Jo Thornton for being our BRC 'helper' for the day so that we could all compete.

Summer Area 9 Show Jumping

This event was once again hosted by Severn Vale Riding Club at Leyland Court on Sunday 13th July.
Once again another fabulous day out for the VWH with picnic to match.
Our Novice team - Vanessa Bennett, Sharon Robbins, Annitta Engel and Fiona Symes all rode brilliantly to win and qualify for the National Championships, with individual 3rd for Vanessa and 5th for Fiona Symes.
Our Style Jumping team - Jennie Needham, Rachel Moroto, Fiona Symes and Annitta all then rode beautifully to win, with individual 2nd for both Fiona and Annitta, 3rd for Jenny and 4th for Rachel so we will now have two teams to compete in championship classes in September.
Well done to all and best of luck at the championships :-) 

Summer Area 9 Novice and Open Dressage  

This event was once again held at Rabson Manor, near Wroughton, kindly organised by Swindon Riding Club on Sunday 29th June.
The weather was far kinder this year and the picnic was set up by 10am and team members grazed and celebrated in the sunshine throughout the day.
Our Prelim team - Vanessa Butler, Fiona Russell-Brown, Marianna Gaussen and Scarlett Crew finished 6th with Individual 2nd for Marianna.
Our Riding test team - Pip Thornton, Fiona Russell-Brown, Vanessa Butler and Jude Matthews finished 2nd with Individual 5th for both Vanessa and Pip and a 1st for Jude which gained Jude a Championship qualification.
Our Open team - Pip Thornton, Jude Matthews, Anne Johnstrup and Angela Clark finished 7th with another win and Championship qualification for Jude, 6th Individual for Pip and both Angela and Anne who were on new horses put in a great performance.
Our Pair - Pip Thornton and Scarlett Crew finished a respectable 3rd after a limited practice but will be back for next year for another go.

Area 9 Horse Trials Qualifier

Sunday 22nd June at West Wilts Equestrian Centre, Melksham
Congratulations to both our BRC 90 Tigers Team Pip Thornton on Heston, Penny Hall on Lumiere, Jude Matthews on Benji and Fiona Symes on Penny and to Mariana Gaussen on Baxster who Won this competition as a team and individual respectively and have qualified for the National Championships in August at Swailcliffe.   
Our BRC 80 team Vanessa Butler on Amber, Annitta Engel on John, Bev Mullins on Clyffe and Georgina Pearce on Rufty also finished 4th and Lynda King finished 3rd in the BRC 100+.
A great day was had by all - An enormous thank you goes to Jo Thornton, Judith Wilson, Penny Hawson and Mrs King for giving up their days to volunteer and help at the event so that all our teams could compete!!


Summer Club Training Day

Tuesday 10th June at Rabson Manor we secured Richard Waygood as trainer for our summer training day. The day will consisted of two ridden sessions - show jumping and cross country with a classic VWH pic-nic lunch in-between and a great day was had by all. Fully booked well in advance 12 members spent a great day working on exercises to improve balance and approach to fences with improvement being seen and felt by all.

Area 9 Combined Training Qualifier
Sunday 20th April at Rabson Manor, Wroughton.
This event involved teams of four horses and riders, two members ride a prelim test and jump 75cm whilst two members ride a Novice test and jump 85cm with the best three scores to count. 
Despite the awful weather we had a very successful day at a brilliantly run competition thanks to Wessex Gold Riding Club with every-one going home with a rosette!! team 3rd and team 5th, alongside a number of individual placings and a National Championship qualification for Fiona Russell-Brown and Tom. Full report to follow.


Area 9 Festival of the Horse 'Eventers Challenge'

This years event was held at Larkhill on Sunday 2nd March.

The event involves individuals, pairs and teams competing over a course of show jumps immediately followed by a course of cross country fences.
We entered a novice team, a pair and one open individual in this event and a fabulous day was had by all!.
A massive thank you goes to Anne and Michael Johnstrup who very kindly gave up their entire day for a very long days fence judging due to the number of entries and the distance to travel. Without your generosity we couldn't have entered so many members - volunteers are ultimately what makes riding club happen so thank you again.
On the day the Novice team Pip Roberts, Jude Matthews, Penny Hall and Scarlett Crew had a great day missing out on a championship qualification by 0.6 penalties. However an individual 2nd for Penny see's her qualify as an individual. The pairs - Penny on her second horse and Fiona Symes WON the pairs for a second year running so will be off to the championships at the end of May. Sharon Robbins also finished 2nd individual the Open section and the top four are planning an area 9 team for the championships!
A great start to the year! 

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