Olympian joins Pony Club at celebration pageant at Caistor

Fundraising fun at Caistor Equestrian Centre EMN-161115-153635001
Fundraising fun at Caistor Equestrian Centre EMN-161115-153635001

Glittering gold and silver medals brought delight to the faces of children at Caistor Equestrian Centre.

Olympian Nicola Wilson, three-day event rider and silver medallist at London 2012, was the guest of honour when the centre held their Celebration of the Horse pageant.

It was a moving and emotional evening, where many people had tears in their eyes as the rousing music introduced horses from scenes covering the last 100 years.

Powering in with her huge hooves was Jo Webb’s Clydesdale, Isla, as the commentary revealed the important role the horse played in agricultural history.

This was followed on with ‘The horse in industry’.

Local to Caistor, the ironstone mines of Nettleton were still functioning until the 1960s and pit ponies played a very important part of that production.

The pit ponies were lead in by Jo Thompson all in traditional period costumes - horses and leaders.

‘The War Horse’ heroically marched into the arena and represented the Lincolnshire Yeomanry with their riders Nick Pennock and Stuart Oden-Walder.

Wearing fully authentic First World War costume, their mounts Chocky and Pippin proudly paraded them around in grandeur.

‘Cure-All’ - a historic local racehorse - represented “The Horse in Sport”. Cure-All walked over a week from the local village of Healing to the Grand National: won the Grand National then was walked home again!

Che Graves and Callum Watt were the jockey and trainer for the evening.

‘Horses in Daily Life’ were represented by a stunning carriage from Stone Farm.

Ladies riding astride (or cross-saddle as it was known and seen for the first time in the 1920s) was represented by Patricia Hudson on her own Scarlett Lady Lou.

It was also a chance to showcase the Pony Club, which was founded in 1929 to help the younger generation learn good riding skills and general horsemanship.

Caistor Equestrian Centre has its own Pony Club Centre, designed for children, who do not yet own a pony.

Rebecca Winn and Evie Kendrick exhibited a typical turnout of Pony Club children in the 1930s.

The audience was invited at the end of the opening ceremony to look around all the displays the children had put together.

The closing ceremony, demonstrated the role horses play in modern day society.

The first of the five themes - The Police Horse - saw Jo on Isla enter again demonstrating the versatility of her horse. Then, representing the hugely popular role of ‘The Horse in Sport’ from Racing, Eventing, Show Jumping, Polo and many more - was Doreen Wright on her horse Divine.

Doreen and Divine represented Dressage, a sport that has been hugely inspired by the last Olympic performance by Charlotte Dujardin in Rio.

The third display representing horses’ role in our present day was ‘The Horse in Therapy’.

Caistor Equestrian Centre provides lessons for more than 30 pupils with special needs: horse riding develops balance, muscle strength and stimulates a partnership between horse and rider.

The achievement to overcome fear, gain self-confidence and the independence of movement has proved a great benefit to many of the pupils.

‘Animal Welfare’ was the fourth role represented by the pageant and a pony called Fudge majestically trotted in, ridden by Amelia.

Fudge was a pony in a very desperate state, being put to sleep pending, before his rescue. Now Fudge trotted around looking very content and happy with his new life.

The finale was the entrance of Caistor Equestrian Centre’s Pony Club members, with all 32 children entering the arena on beautifully turned out ponies and horses.

The whole event was quite a spectacle and finished off with an account from Nicola Wilson of her initial days with ponies at her local Pony Club Branch and how through hard work, perseverance and commitment - riding the highs with the lows – she was picked for the GB Olympic Team in London.

The pageant successfully raised £2,101 Jill’s Wheels, where a specialist wheelchair has been purchased for Jill after a riding accident.

The wheel chair has made such a difference to the quality of Jill’s life.

Natalie Allsopp (Jill’s daughter) and her grandchildren, were presented with flowers for Nicola on behalf of Mr and Mrs Lintin, the owners of Caistor Equestrian Centre.