Everything equestrian brings best of the West together at weekend’s fair
Join the Westcountry’s equine community for a weekend of shopping and amazing displays.
Celebrating everything equestrian since 1996, the Westcountry Equine Fair has excellent master classes in the indoor arena – from eventing to dressage; driving trials to side saddle plus some amazing competitive events.
The event is being held at Westpoint, Exeter, on Saturday, December 1 and Sunday, December 2 and promises to showcase some of the best in the West.
Tim Cheffings will be providing eventing master classes on Saturday. Tim started riding as a young child, with a love of cross-country blossoming out of regular hunting trips. After that, he took part in various activities with the Pony Club and then Riding Club where he found his passion for eventing – competing at affiliated level from the age of 16.
When asked to name his proudest moment, Tim said: “Qualifying and competing at Burghley in 2014 on my home-produced horse, Nero.”
Inspired by eventing legends Andrew Nicholson and Sir Mark Todd, Tim said he aims to be “consistently competitive at the highest level” and to be a member of the British team.
He added: “I’m in great admiration of the way these riders [Andrew Nicholson and Sir Mark Todd] have produced so many horses up through the grades and have gone on to great careers.”
And his advice to young riders? “Be 100% dedicated. Be prepared to start at the bottom, to work hard and to continue to work hard even when success starts to come your way.
“Also to accept and learn from the bad days and to make the absolute most of the good ones!”
Moving onto Sunday, Holsworthybased dressage rider and trainer, John Chubb, will provide what is promised to be two insightful master classes. The first, titled Dressage up to Medium Level, will feature John’s student and local European pony team rider, Holly Kerslake.
John’s second display will focus on the topic of Advanced Dressage – Showcasing Movements up to Grand Prix.
Having enjoyed schooling and dressage at Pony Club, John started competing in affiliated-level dressage at 16 years old, taking the reins on a variety of horses.
John started his career focusing on eventing but it soon became apparent that he much preferred the dressage element. “Aged 16, I was competing at a low level at the Cornish Dressage Festival and remember watching Adam Kemp in his top hat and tails competing in a Grand Prix, and thought how much I wanted to be in that position one day.”
Also asked to share his advice to young riders starting out in dressage, John said: “Having a trainer that trains and rides different horses and understands the riders’ issues to be able to give specific help where you need it. Everyone has a different way of learning so don’t be afraid to try different instructors.
“One of my favourite quotes is ‘in life you just need to keep turning up’. This is something I firmly believe in. You have to just keep turning up and competing – one day your time will come.”
As a showcase of a range of eques- trian disciplines, this year’s Westcountry Equine Fair will on Saturday host indoor carriage driving trials.
Indoor carriage driving combines the grace and harmony of dressage, the speed and accuracy through the cones, with the thrills and excitement of the obstacles. Rachel Moast and her team of volunteers will give a short display of each phase, showcasing the sport with a selection of the South West’s equine superstars.
Another side of equestrianism set to be highlighted is side saddle, when the Side Saddle Association (Areas 14, 16 and 8) join forces with the Southern Cleveland Bay Club to provide an elegant display.
Ladies traditionally rode aside to protect their modesty, but as time progressed the saddles and attire evolved to become much more practical and safe, with two pommels to hold riders securely.
Jo Strange, Cecilia Delville-Lindsay, Susan Lomax and Sue Gray have many years of side saddle experience between them, including amongst them panel judges for side saddle and Cleveland Bays and side saddle instructors. They will demonstrate the versatility of the breed and its various types and the elegance of the art of side saddle.
Competitive events will once again feature on this year’s programme, including the ever-popular Pony Club Horse and Hound show jumping competition. In this fast-paced competition, riders will jump a course followed by runners and their dogs.
The Pony Club teams confirmed to take part in the event, sponsored by Stags, are the Cotley Hunt; Eggesford, Taunton Vale Harriers and Tiverton Hunt on Saturday, with Four Burrow Hunt, Silverton Hunt, South Devon West and South Pool Pony Club taking to the arena on Sunday.
The unaffiliated quadrille competition will take place on Saturday with Blackdown Hills Riding Club, Brent Knoll Riding Club, Cannington Equestrian Centre, Cornwall Trec
‘In life you just need to keep turning up. I firmly believe in this’
Group, Dartmoor Hill Pony Display Team and East Devon Pony Club all set to put on colourful and entertaining displays to music.
In addition, a group of 15 young riders aged under 14 years old will take part in the junior showjumping competition on Sunday, sponsored by Redpost Equestrian.
The much-loved Breed and Heavy