I wanted to share with you key points from our Council meeting held on Sunday evening and a key decision I, with Council, have made.
National Camp - Pickering Grange what a success!
All, I hope you have seen the inspiring pictures and posts on Facebook and the WES website from those who attended the National Camp. Ann Hughes organised a great event with close to 30 members attending, 3 of those were youth members. Our thanks to Joe Midgley and Lee Rutter for their time and dedication to helping members improve their western riding and horsemanship skills.
The central geographic location worked for more people and was one of the main reasons for choosing the venue. That said, feedback on other aspects of the facilities was less positive and the consensus was “It worked for our training camp but would not work for our much larger National Show”.
The Camp was always designed as a pilot for the Nationals and whilst disappointing that it does not “tick all the boxes”, it is better to know now than in August.
I have led a review, with Council, of possible alternatives which can meet our needs and address some of the key points of feedback, principally: good riding surface for Western events, improved food, refreshments, and toilet/shower arrangements. Please remember the context is a National show. The camp worked for us but with more people, more horse time in the show rings on their surface, plus people traffic on-site Pickering Grange would not work for our National Show.
What this means for the 2023 National Show
Only 2 options met the combination of the riding surface plus facilities those were:
1. David & Sarah Deptford’s Horse Creek Farm
2. Oakridge Arena
- Oakridge is better geographically for more members, however, could not accommodate us on our dates, and the only other free dates clash with our Scottish Nationals
- Horse Creek Farm can accommodate our dates but, as we know, geographically is less good for many.
Looking at all the Pros & Cons, Council & I have decided for 2023, we will honour our traditional dates this year and our Nationals will be at Horse Creek Farm on the 2023 August Bank Holiday weekend.
In addition, we have decided that going forward the Nationals will be held at alternate venues and in 2024 it will be at Oakridge Arena, however we will move away from our traditional August Bank Holiday weekend in 2024.
The 2024 date is yet to be confirmed and we will work with our other Western Riding organisation friends (BR, AQHA-UK, UK PHA and others) to ensure we don’t not clash with other events.
I, and Council did not take this decision lightly and we needed to move quickly. We realise that it does not address the geographic feedback received in the previous years but looking ahead having flexibility to hold our premier event on a different date and in other suitable locations helps us move forward.
I hope you understand and will be to come and enjoy our National Show later this year.
Western Equestrian Society