holiday cottage
Oak Lodge
campsnewseventsbreedingtrainingliverycontact uslocation



News from Budleigh Salterton RidingSchool


Once again apologies for the long time it has taken me to write the next newsletter - with 50 horses, 3 young children and variousother other businesses and matters which seem to take over there never seems to be a minute to catch up and update everyone onthe day to day news at the riding school - so we have a couple of years to catch up on which I will do as concisely as possible in anewsletter!

  New Arrivals

Our beautiful ‘Heatherways Unforgettable Uschi’ (pronounced Oushii) was born on 11th June 2016 at 4.45am . Gypsys first foal at the age of 14 and what an amazing mummy. She was checked at 2.30am and showed no signs of labour and at 4.45am Uschi was out and ready to face the world. Up on her feet within 20 minutes of being born and trotting round her box within 45 minutes of being born. Sired by the famous Olympic gold medalist ‘Utopia’ and with Gypsy’s German breeding including top stallions such as Ulanka her prospects are good and wow has she got an amazing trot already! She is super confident and independent - but with a mum as gentle as Gypsy (Heatherways Gypsy Star) who in her younger years qualified for grass roots eventing and regional dressage finals at Novice and Elementary level with Rob - she is also a lovely gentle cuddly character. We get the feeling she does love being admired though as she prances through the yard each morning!!

Our amazing Spirit - who was reported on in our last newsletter - the orphaned foal from Chrissy’s mare Dagons Dancer (who competed nationally at PSG level dressage despite conformation which would prevent most horses even attempting dressage!) made it through against all odds and has been backed by David with Lydia as first rider. At 3 years old she is nearly 17 hands and also a wonderful trainable character like her mum. Unfortunately due to her bad start in life she is slightly suffering the after effects and has had to have an operation to remove floating bone from her hocks. However that went well and she will hopefully be up and running again next Spring.

  Other Home Bred Competition Horse News

Following on from last years successful qualification of Sunny and Prince with Rob and Chrissy in the Medium and Advanced medium regional championships in Wales, both home bred horses Heatherways Prince of Thunder (Prince!) with Chrissy and Heatherways Nemesis (Nemo) with David, reached the South West regional Dressage Championships at Medium and Advanced Medium level this year. With tough competition including competitors shortlisted for the Olympic squad we held our own at the regionals but with only the top two going through to Nationals could only dream of getting there!. Both horses have also qualified for the Advanced Medium winter regionals which will take place in March next year. Both Chrissy and David have had a couple of visits to Carl Hester which is a truly inspiring experience and he seems to be able with just a few words from the ground to get the horses at their best and us riding our best. His riding and teaching will always be an inspiration to us. We are now working both horses up to PSG level.


David has also brought his own youngster over from Spain. We await his great successes with his ‘Orlando’. Sadly Robs horse Heatherways Donnersonata (Sunny) has also had to have an operation so has been out of action all year. Again hopefully she will be up and running next year. Before her injury she was also competing at Advanced Medium level and doing really well so we hope she will be back there when fit next year.

Lilly has also come back from injury which she managed to get at her debut in the dressage test at the Badminton Grass Roots championships 2 years ago. Sadly time wise Rob has only had one chance to compete her this year - but her one outing was a great success achieving 10th place out of 40 at Bicton Horse Trials. Rob will have some catching up to do next year with his two rides!!

  Schools, Clubs, Activity Weeks

Our school groups have been doing really well over the past two years with both pupils from Exmouth and Isca Academy achievingprogressive riding tests up to level 3.

We enjoyed lots of school activity weeks in the past 2 years - with Exmouth, Isca, Kings school, Teignmouth , Axminster and SouthDartmoor and also day trips from colleges and scout groups from much further afield. All activity weeks this year were bathed insunshine and all the children - some of whom had never even ridden before - did amazingly well on their week with us. We alsoadded an adventure week for a couple of schools to include mountain biking, orienteering, riding, field day, team building and workingthe horses from the ground - this was a great success and will be continuing and rolling out to other schools next year.

We also hosted Otterton Primary school and St Peters Budleigh Primary school children. Theyenjoyed a fun packed day of grooming, riding, crafts, cookie making and watching the farrier atwork learning how ponies are shod.

We would like to thank all our volunteer helpers who have kept us going (and no doubt kepttheir fitness up!) during the last couple of years. From Spring next year we will be starting anofficial volunteers club - please ask if interested.

Courses and pony days throughout the year have been really busy and we have really enjoyedhaving the children and giving them a taste of what it is like to own a pony. We are hoping to runa few adult pony (well horse!) days next year - please let us know if you are interested in those and we will get some dates in thediary. We have also enjoyed several trips to Otterton for cream tea and pub rides.

Our annual two day ride was wonderful this year - quite a small group - but they enjoyed exploring new areas around Mutters Moorand Stowford which we don’t usually get to on our daily rides - and with sore bottoms, weary bodies, but happy smiles - tucked intobeer, food and an overnight stay at the Kings Arms in Otterton. We are hoping to run it again in September next year so get yourname down early if you would like to take part in this unique experience.

Camps were again a great success - greatly helped by the wonderful weather. Lessons, treasure hunts, our annual swim in the riverand show days - congratulations to all those who took part and won awards at the end of the week and to Eliza Hodges who won our‘Frosty’ Shield for overall help and improvement during the year - and especially for all her riding of the new ponies Rupert andRachel and her amazing enthusiasm for Rachel!!

  Sad News

Sadly last year we said goodbye to Indie - an amazing little pony who came to us all the way from Switzerland from a family who used to ride and help at the stables for years until they moved abroad. He was a speedy competition pony - up for anything and an brilliant jumping pony - there were many heartbroken children when he went but we have very happy memories of his time with us and hope he did too.

This year we have had to say goodbye to our beautiful Caramel who had a tumour. Retired from the Kings troop to Budleigh Riding School she was a lovely gentle character with bags of energy for both hacking and school work and never lost her enthusiasm for life right up until the end.

We said a very sad goodbye to Bob - our first Kings Troop retired horse - although he retired from riding school work over a year ago he will be as greatly missed by many people as he was by the soldiers when he first left the Kings Troop - he really was a legend -his funniest trick being to dip his whole head and neck in water troughs and drench everyone around him with a cheeky glint in his eye. He taught 3 year olds and 83 year olds to ride and really looked after all his riders well.

Also our cheeky little Jaws - one of the remaining originals and nephew of the first pony who was ever in the riding school when it started in 1985. He was the happiest, cheekiest pony we had - and you knew if he didn’t neigh at you every time you came on the yard that there was something wrong. If you could ride Jaws well we knew you would end up a top rider as he liked to teach people to really ride properly - not just give them the easy ride. With his bags of character he managed to get to the age of 23 still going strong. His cheeky, lovely face got him onto the front page of Horse and Hound magazine in his early years - and this year we decided to take him out to a local show with Jessie. He won almost every class he went in!

  New Horses

Over the past couple of years we have welcomed Monty, Rosie, Ellie, Hoggy and Rupert and Rachel. Monty is an experienced ex racehorse donated by an ex instructor! - he has successfully competed in our university competitions last year and used for experienced clients.

Rosie - a piebald cob full of energy - bought from a loan home where one of our helper volunteers had her on loan. She is used for all clients from novice up to experienced - so a great all rounder.

Ellie - bought from a local yard Ellie is a 9 year old and having undergone training on arrival with us is proving to be an absolute asset to the riding school and a lovely character with it. Hoggy - another Kings Troop retiree - again one with endless energy and enthusiasm and a wonderful character. Her real name at the Troop is Hog Roast or Doughnut - but as we still have the Kings Troop ‘Doughnut’ who Hoggy replaced when Doughnut retired to us - and couldnt bear to call her ‘Hogroast’ she is shortened to Hoggy and will have to remain with the traditional army hogged mane to live up to her name!

Rupert and Rachel - a pair of scurry ponies who used to pull a trap in competition. They have been re-trained to riding school work and are super little ponies - Rachel slightly more whizzy than Rupert and both now learning that poles need to be jumped rather than avoided (which is taking some persuading!!)

  Exeter University

A huge congratulations go to our university teams trained by Chrissy from 2015-16 - with all our home competitions won easily they then went on to win most of their away competitions - the First and Second teams went on to South West Regional Championships and both teams qualified for National Championships. After an eight hour journey to Bishop Burton College in Hull, where the Nationals were held, the firsts were reserve Champions and the Second team came fifth overall. A huge congratulations to Toni, Sophie, Cameron, Rachel (1sts) and Nia, Nicole, Carla and Tash (2nds).

With the season about to start we wish all 5 teams the best of luck for this year. The teams have been whittled down from over 50 applicants to just 5 teams of 4 people. Students attend trials at the riding school to decide the final teams. The first home competition at the riding school is on 25th November - with the rest of the dates next year before mid march - why not come and watch one of them? It is lovely to see the horses smart and plaited up performing dressage and show jumping and very interesting to see how different riders adapt to their horses. Competitors must ride a dressage test and jumping round having only had a 10 minute warm up to get used to a brand new horse - it is a very good test of skill to adapt to a new horse in a very short time.

You are welcome to come and watch - dates available from Chrissy

  Fame and a Dream Come True

Challenger has had a busy couple of years - firstly making Otterton resident Cheryl Hiles dream come true by being her transport to Otterton Church where she renewed her wedding vows with husband John who walked alongside from their house to the church.

He also had a visit from Len Goodman and Valerie Singleton when she re-lived childhood memories of holidays to Devon where she rode horses. He was the perfect gentleman and stood still for a long time while BBC film crews filmed a nervous Len standing as close as he dared to groom him and chat to Valerie about her riding memories!

  Up and Coming

Look out for information on our volunteers clubs and courses from Spring next year.

Our evening saddle clubs continue during term time - 12 week stable management and riding courses at discounted prices.

Take back the reins has been a big success over the past couple of years and we will continue to run these courses in the existing format and hope to introduce one or two new courses too.

Fitness Fridays - we are hoping to start up some informal fitness Fridays with the opportunity to run, bike or ride and have a coffee and warm up after in the oak lodge - a relaxed and sociable way to get fit - look out for information early in the new year when the fitness drives after Christmas excess are in full force!!

Mum and Toddler Groups - again a new one for next year - we are hoping to set up a mums and toddlers morning where mums can ride while their little ones are looked after and if they want can have some time grooming miniature shetlands, making cookies, crafts etc - all followed by a hot chocs and coffee and chat in the cosy oak lodge after of course!.

We have a couple of retired and semi retired horses which we are looking to loan - with a view of the horses staying at the riding school in their retirement - but having someone to look after them and put a little towards their keep / livery - these horses have come to the end of their riding school life but still have so much love to give - and some can still go out for gentle rides at walk / trot.

New facilities: - We have finally got our new round pen up and running. With help and funding from the British Equestrian Federation this round pen will enable us to offer more working with horses from the ground and therapeutic horse handling and riding plus is great for lunge lessons, beginner and private lessons. We will be getting the horses and ponies used to the ring in the next few weeks and are looking forward to many fun filled sessions using the round pen.

  The Oak Lodge

We have celebrated 21st’s, 30th’s, 40ths - 60ths and even 90ths in the oak lodge in the past couple of years plus weddings and funerals! We are also looking forward to hosting several Christmas get togethers in the coming weeks. The cafe is up and running on a daily basis 10am - 4pm Tuesday to Sunday - come and join us for a big breakfast or coffee and cake We will be getting the beautiful tree (with the traditional 2000 lights) up for Thursday 1st December where we will be having our annual Christmas Carrot evening - a get together for all clients and chance to chat to your instructors too. Tickets available from the office and cafe.




Tel: 01395 442035 email: info@devonriding.co.uk

Prices include VAT @ 20% - payment on booking please