Show ground move 2013
The end of October 2012 Ripley Riders club ground was forced to be put up for sale by the land owners, the club had been held there for 63 years, RRC was also suffering by this point with long standing committee members wanting to retire from the committee, it was feared that RRC would fold and rumours got around quick that the club would be no more.
The existing committee members had only a matter of months to gather around a new committee and find the club a new, viable ground, an extraordinary general meeting was held in january 2013 explaining the situation and pleading for help, due to the generosity of the people and determination, by 30th jan we had secured Riddings park, and by the end of Feb we had gained enough committee members to secure a future for the club.
On May 5th we held our first show on the new ground, it was a great success and gained much praise.
The open show on 21st July was very well attended, with quality horses and ponies competing for generous prize money, the new committee had truly pulled it off by this point and the club really took off on the new showground from there on out.
it is with great thanks to Amber Valley Borough Council and the hard work of our new committee that we have made RRC such a success when faced with such bleakness.
But mainly thankyou to the members, who make this club.
Here’s to many more years of Ripley Riders.
The formation of RRC
In 1947 four girls who all attended Swanwick Hall Grammar School wanted the fun of a club for riding out together, small gymkhanas and Pony Club tests.
But two years after the second world war had ended there was no fuel to spare for horse boxes or to tow trailers even if you owned such a thing. If you had ponies and wanted to go somewhere you hacked there. Clubs which were formed and run by local Hunts were just starting to get going again like the hunts themselves which had struggled throughout the war. However the Earl of Harrington’s Hunt (Mid Derbyshire area) had been disbanded due to the death of the Earl and closure of the kennels. The area was divided between the South Notts Hunt (east) Meynall (south) and Barlow (north) but rallies at these venues were all too far away for children from the Ripley area to hack to.
Ann Palfree aged 15 with her pony Flicka, Enid Gaunt aged 15 with her pony Connie and Judith Strange aged 13 with her pony Punch all lived in Ripley; Margaret Elliott aged 12, with her pony Stella lived in Marehay. They decided the only solution was to form their own club. None of the parents were particularly interested but the girls were told that that if they could run the club themselves they could have a go.
These four girls held the inaugural meeting of their club in the autumn of 1947 at Edith Gaunt’s house at the bottom of Lowes Hill. It was decided that as they couldn’t be a Pony Club they would be a Riding Club so Ripley Riding Club was formed. The first subscription was set at five shillings per annum (25p to you lot). Meetings were held in the Swanwick Hall school library over the winter of 1947. Willing helpers were pressed into service. (Nothing changes then! webmaster) Ted Hill, the Ripley farrier who had a forge at the top of Alfred Street, and his apprentice Bob Allsopp were “enthusiastic” and co-opted to set tests. Ted Hill knew Mr Steeples of Asherfields Farm and secured his permission for gymkhanas to be held there and the first took place in the summer of 1948.
New members soon joined including John Barlow from Denby, his cousin Carl Ahlfors from Lower Kilburn, Ray Brentnall from Hammersmith, Margaret Wood from Loscoe and Pete Murfin from Codnor. No official rosettes were awarded as they were still unavailable so the girls made them from ribbon themselves.
In 1949 the club hacked to Moor Green to a meet of the South Notts Hunt. It was a great adventure for them all and they had a wonderful time. They had to leave home at 6am in the dark to get there for 10.30 and didn’t get back home until 7pm when it was getting dark again.
In 1950 Ann and Enid both left to go to university. Margaret Wood’s father set her up with a small riding school at Loscoe where some of the tests and gymkhanas started to be held.
When the BHS decided that all Riding Clubs would have to be affiliated this posed a big problem for Ripley Riding Club since the fees for affiliation were completely out of reach for a club run by and for a group of kids. The only solution was to change the name and that’s how Ripley Riding Club became Ripley Riders Club.
The original founders dropped away as careers and families took over their time but somehow Ripley Riders always found new people with time and commitment to carry it on. By the 1970s shows were being held at Bryan’s Farm at Riddings and had become much more professional with showing, jumping and handy pony all well established, before moving to the current showground which is still in use today.
Thanks to Margaret Wragg (Elliott) and Pat Feroze for their help and photos.