About Cherwell Valley Riding Club
In its modern incarnation, Cherwell Valley Riding Club is a well-supported, growing club that goes from strength to strength at a time when several other riding clubs have recently been shut down. We think this is down to two things – the dedication to the cause by Amanda Rawson, the club’s chairman, and her committee, who tirelessly organise many training events, social activities and the very popular open dressage series, and secondly, the relentless friendliness and cheerfulness of all its members in welcoming new faces and having fun with their horses and ponies. Everyone is encouraged to have a go and if people want to represent the club in competitions ranging from Interdressage to Quadrille, and the British Riding Club qualifying rounds in anything from show jumping, style jumping, dressage and eventing, they are encouraged to do so. We believe in success through inclusion.
In 2016 CVRC was nominated as one of the top 5 best Riding Clubs in the country for the Horse and Hound / NAF Five Star Awards. We didn’t win, losing out to one of our keenest rival riding clubs, Crown, but we were thrilled to get some national recognition.
CVRC is quite competitive but in a light-hearted way. We send teams to compete at Area 5 British Riding Club competitions and some of our teams and individuals have qualified for the BRC National Championships over the last few years. We have had some national success, particularly in dressage and style show jumping. We regularly send a quadrille team of 4 to the qualifying round and in 2017 we were very proud to come third overall at the final with our team of Valkyries.
We are justifiably proud of our training programme, which is becoming increasingly popular with members. We have a regular panel of excellent, fully qualified and experienced trainers, who cover different disciplines and we are always open to new ideas for things to do with our horses. Our committee works particularly hard to put on our open winter dressage series indoors at Moulton college, and the more relaxed summer dressage series that is ideal for our members to have their first experience of dressage or to take out young horses. We usually run a very popular annual jumping derby in summer at Onley Grounds that is open to all and is a lot of fun. All our training events are held at local venues in the Northampton / Daventry area and are at very competitive prices.
Prior to Covid-19 we have held an adult horse camp every year at Milton Keynes Equestrian Centre, and sometimes a beech camp at Mumby, Lincolnshire, near Skegness. Our members report that this is a highlight of the year and is always booked up well in advance. Camp is residential for adults (18+) and held in summer for 3 full days of training in all disciplines. In 2020 and 2021 it was not possible to hold a summer residential camp due to restrictions for Covid-19 so for 2021 we have run 4 successful day camps - a fun camp that was very popular, which included grids, le Trec, schooling to music, a musical drill ride and an adult gymkhana; a dressage camp, a show jumping camp and a biomechanics camp that looked at both horse and rider. Our camps are very popular and an excellent way to improve your abilities in a relaxed and happy atmosphere.
We also have a thriving junior section, whose members represent the club in various regional qualifying competitions. We welcome new junior members who want to experience all aspects of riding in a relaxed atmosphere. Subject to numbers, we usually hold one or two special junior day camps a year for our younger members.
We are very keen to encourage new members to join us and become part of this amazing riding club. New ideas for activities are very welcome. Anyone with enthusiasm and a can do attitude is welcome to join the committee, which meets regularly, to help with the running of the club.
A short history of Cherwell Valley Riding Club
The Club was formed in 1971 when a group of juniors and adults were having instruction sessions at Ivy House Farm, West Farndon. At that time, there were eight adult members and seven junior members. The first Open Show was held at Woodford Halse on 17th June 1972, with several gymkhana classes, handy hunter and dressage. Entry fees were 50p per class.
On 1st July 1972, there was an inspection by Mr. Scott of the B.H.S. Riding Club Committee following the application to become an Affiliated Club. In October 1972 with just eighteen adult members CVRC was affiliated. The founder members of the Club were Christine and David Dodwell (instructors), Dr. Sheldon (Chairman), Angela Wadland (Treasurer), Mrs Leroy Hope, Mrs Douglas and Mrs. Sheldon.
The first Club Hunter Trial Rally was on 5th January 1974 at Dennis Henson’s farm at Preston Capes, shortly after he had been elected to the Committee. Dressage competitions have always been featured as a Club activity, but began to attract large numbers from 1974. About this time, because of the pressure on the instructors, the membership list was closed and a waiting list maintained. Members who had not paid their membership were automatically removed from the list. The minutes from the Annual General meeting held on 15th October 1975 declared a membership of about one hundred.
The Club purchased a set of showjumps in 1974, which were still in use until 2014! Rowena Haigh was elected to the committee in 1973 and can still be seen in the scoring tent at CVRC events. At the AGM in 1979 Mrs. Dodwell reminded the members that the Club had originally been formed in order to provide instruction to riders who wished to improve their riding and their horses and that no other club in the BHS provided regular instruction. All these years later, it is still a guiding principal for CVRC.
David Dodwell, who served as Chairman until 1980, wrote 'The Horse Morse Code' which is a clear and simple description of the Classical Riding System that can be applied from Pony Club to International levels.
We are very fortunate to be part of such a long standing club that continues to go from strength to strength.