WE WERE THERE AT THE BIRTH – Roger Wells
Roger is the editor of the quarterly WES News, a publication sent to all members updating them with news, events, and all the WES News you love. Here he talks about the formation of WES, back in 1985….
1985 . . . I remember it well. After around 12 months of producing the A5 magazine ‘Western Rider’, launched as an attempt to educate Western Riding participants with any breed of horse to the true meaning of being at one with your horse, a number of readers showed interest in the formation of a new society.
For many months Bob Mayhew and I burned the midnight oil discussing how we should go about this mammoth task. Our deliberations led us to believe that in order to achieve our aims we had to put together a package that could be presented to interested parties. This package was to include a draft constitution, aims and rules.
Necessary so that all prospective members could understand our reasoning for forming a new organisation. The following factors were foremost in our minds when drafting this constitution.
We felt that it was important that a new society should not be run from one small area of the country.
To facilitate this we partitioned the UK into 12 areas (now 13) each organised by an area representative. (These area reps originally formed the council of the society which was later changed to the current management structure.)
We also proposed that each area could appoint volunteer county representatives to assist their area reps. Currently the society has 25 county reps.
To view our current constitution go to the Downloads page
The main reason for attempting to form the society was to improve the standard of training for both horses and riders in the art of Western Riding. For this to happen there was a need for a list of approved instructors to whom members could turn for advice.
In order to achieve an improved standard it was very important that progression should be the by-word. This resulted in the current structure of youth, novice rider/horse, amateur and open classes for each of the 6 performance categories. Recently added has been the Intermediate Amateur class.
For any recreational/sporting organisations to function rules are paramount . . . we felt that this was also the case with this new venture.
Without rules judges would have no standard to judge by.
The formation of draft rules for an all breed society was to prove our hardest task. Where did we start.
With the AQHA rule book considered to be THE standard in the US we decided to use this as a base and convert it to rules for all breeds,
Once we had all the points in draft form we booked a room at the Plough and Harrow near Malvern, Worcestershire, and invited anyone who was interested to hear what we had to say. Around 50 enthusiasts attended, some from as far afield as Bedfordshire, Essex, Hampshire, Leicestershire, Norfolk and Suffolk.
Attendees at this meeting sowed the seeds for the germination of our systems of approving judges and instructors – the first time this had been done for Western Riding in the UK.
The rest is history.
A truly motivated friendly society.
If you are interested in submitting news or stories or articles to WES News, you can contact Roger HERE