✉️ Contact WES
Running a society such as WES requires a lot of time and effort and as such we consider ourselves incredibly lucky to have attracted and retained a fantastic team of talented and passionate Council members.
The society operates explicitly for the benefit of its members and the Council therefore meets regularly to discuss important matters ranging from membership, shows, clinics, health and safety and of course our collective love of western riding.
I found the whole ethos behind riding ‘Western’ after a lifetime of riding the ‘English’ way totally enlightening, I simply could not get enough information to learn how to get a horse so relaxed and willing, without using all the contraptions and limitations I was used to.
When I joined WES and found people so helpful and friendly, instructors with so much knowledge I felt that this was a million miles away from the attitudes I had so wanted to leave behind. This in turn made riding a pleasure again.
I joined the council in 2011 because I wanted to give back something to a society that had given me so much enjoyment. I now have a family of like-minded people that so want to share, with as wide an audience as possible, the benefits of having a horse that is a partner, not a slave.
My passion for horses goes back as far as I can remember and I started riding at age 10 back in the late sixties. Bought my first horse at age 21. Fast forward to 2021 and after a successful hip replacement 3 years ago I now have a quarter horse and have taken up western riding (alongside other disciplines) hoping the lovely big saddle will keep me in place!
I have been asked to prepare a bit about me for the WES website! What can I say…. I found WES around 24 years ago now.
I had just bought my first pony, an unbacked Highland Gelding, and I was determined to train and back him myself. I had a friend helping me who was a traditional instructor and I remember thinking that there must be an easier way for the horse and human. It so happened I was doing a pet portrait for a lady and when we got talking she mentioned she was part of Area 11 and done Western riding.
She very kindly invited me up to watch the training day they had and I was hooked. Everyone was so lovely, friendly and the horses were so chilled!! I joined that day and the friends I made then I am still friendly with now. For that I will be forever grateful.
Since then horses have come and gone. I have had Quarter horses, Appaloosas Arabs but I keep coming back to my Native ponies and love the challenge of getting them light and responsive and my big aim is to get to the WES nationals with one of my Ponies.
Currently I have three Highland ponies and an Appaloosa x who is currently out on loan. To be honest they suit my lifestyle and my personality! Stubborn no doubt my husband would say!!
I am part of the WES trail ride award and despite losing my confidence badly (getting there now) I am gradually getting my confidence back hacking out. It will be a proud day when I get that buckle!!
After a while I was encouraged to do my instructors assessment and I was luckily enough to pass. I think the rule book was my bed time reading for weeks. When the Area rep retired I took over and have been Area 11 rep on and off for about 17 years.
Again I am stubborn and love the challenge. I love working with people and horses whether teaching, trail riding or just having our Area 11 play days and trying to encourage English riders to give it a go!
Trail patterns prove a great hit for encouraging new riders to give it a go and I am passionate about everyone coming to have fun and learn no matter what breed of horse they ride.
As well as Western I enjoy Tilting which is jousting but using a lance to take a ring off a hanging gallows. I often compete in my western saddle to do this. Again we ride one handed and steer one handed through the gallows with a lance in the opposite hand.
However as Area Rep Coordinator I really look forward to working with everyone and supporting people as much as I can. I can be contacted via email or by phone and if I am not in I will always get back to you.
I also enjoy low level dressage in order to keep any schooling fresh and the horses interested. It helps my confidence as well if I am out and about more often. So between my horses, my dogs (1 collie and 2 Bassett hounds) and my 4 grandchildren I am kept pretty busy.
I am looking forward to the challenge of my new post and If I cannot answer a question I will find out the answer! Best wishes
My western journey began in 2015 when I visited the White Stallion ranch in Tucson, Arizona. I had always ridden English and had horses on loan but when I first sat on an American Quarter Horse in a western saddle, that was it, I was sold! On my return to the UK I decided I wanted to buy my very own AQH and after putting a post out on Facebook went to look at a gorgeous buckskin named Tuffy who was for sale only a 45 minute drive away.
He was perfect and I truly believe it was meant to be so after him passing the vet check, he was mine. I was over the moon! Before I went to the ranch I had been having some western riding lessons and taken part in a couple of mini shows on the lovely Paloma, one of my instructor's horses, so I knew a little about the various disciplines. After getting Tuffy and becoming an AQHA member I started to go along to watch shows at Bodiam where I got chatting to some of the lovely people who ran our local WES group.
They were very welcoming and encouraging and told me I should join and take Tuffy to some of their events, which I did. It was only after attending a couple of events that Jo convinced me to become a county rep myself so I did!
Unfortunately, not long after that Covid struck so we couldn't put on many events but we were determined to try and keep member's spirits high so I introduced the lockdown challenge, which quite a few members took part in and it really gave everyone a reason to keep riding and training their horses even though there were no clinics or shows to go to.
Once the lockdowns had finally lifted it was full steam ahead and Jo and I planned lots of events for the coming year. It's great working with Jo as we are on the same wavelength and are both very dedicated and passionate about all things western and horses so we make a pretty good team. We also have fantastic supportive members in area 8 who's enthusiasm really motivates us and makes us happy to fulfill the role.
I have made a lot of good friends through WES and love being able to share my passion with like minded folk. I decided to take on the Health and Safety officer role after attending a first aid course for equestrian related injuries earlier this year as I understand the importance of trying to minimise the risk of accidents occurring in what is already a risky enough sport.
Anyway, that is a bit of my background. I now have a mare (a wannabe paint horse) who I have converted to Western from English and she has taken to it well, as most horses do! I am fully committed to my roles within the society and if any members have any suggestions or concerns regarding health and safety or would like me to try and organise a specific event within area 8 I am more than happy to help so please don't hesitate to drop me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Happy trails!
Horses have always been a huge part of my life; they have brought me so much enjoyment and purpose and I really couldn’t imagine my life without them. I studied at Bishop Burton College and left with a Business Management Degree and my BHSAI. I spent a lot of time gaining experience on different training yards in Scotland, England and Ireland before starting my own training/rehabilitation yard on my family farm in the North of Scotland. Of all the horses I have worked with, there was one horse that changed me and made me realise how little I knew about training horses!! He was the best teacher I could ever have had and I feel very fortunate to have met him. It was this change that drew me to the western world. I know live in South Lincolnshire with my husband and little girl (3.5 years) where I run a training/rehabilitation yard. I absolutely love my job; it really doesn’t feel like work when I get to spend my days with these amazing animals. I have a retired eventing mare and my wonderful Highland Forbes, who I now share with my little girl. We are looking forward to getting more involved in the Western Community and it is through this that led me to volunteer as WES Youth Officer. I want to help the young ones learn, appreciate these wonderful animals, and of course have lots of fun along the way.
Sarah Cameron and Jane Gibbs run the Wes Trail Award.
Sarah and Ziggy love endurance and pleasure rides. They have completed 1000 hours as apart of the Wes award and 1.900 miles in pony Express. Numerous awards in Endurance rides.
Jane Gibbs and Lilly have just started pleasure rides but Jane is no newbie to Endurance.
Jane and Angel ( her first horse) had numerous completions over the years with many graded rides at a high level.
Jane has also completed her 500 hours for her buckle.
The aim is to get as many people on their horses in a western saddle as possible out in the open countryside.
In the 1980s my daughter, Tina, started working for Bob Mayhew at the Avenue Riding Centre. After watching Bob working with his first horse, Tulip, my whole family became engrossed with the way the horses moved – the calm, quiet, demeanour about the whole concept of riding.
In 1985 I worked alongside Bob in putting together a presentation for the formation of a new horse-riding society – THE WESTERN EQUESTRIAN SOCIETY. Using the rulebook of the largest Western riding organisation in America, we adapted it to incorporate all horse breeds to the Western way.
Our aim, along with other like-minded friends, was to promote the teaching of Western riding to its highest level, with the aim of it being fully accepted in the UK. This, I believe, we, as a Society, have achieved, even to the point that it is great to find so many English dressage trainers using some of the Western methods of training.
Having edited the early magazines of the Society and being directly involved on council as membership secretary, I am now not so active in organising events, but I still follow the journey whenever I can.
Since 1961 I have been involved in the production and teaching side of printing from the hot metal days of newspapers to the transition to computerisation. Retiring in 2007 I still try to stay involved in the trade, if only to keep my mind active.
Never has a journey been more worthwhile than the experience of Western equitation.
As a 40-something guy, I grew up watching the westerns and idolising the likes of Clint Eastwood as he rode bravely at brake-neck speeds across the wide-open plains of America.
Moving forward as an adult, I became interested in the Western methods of horsemanship and riding in respect of the relationship, trust and bond that you build with a horse that enables you to perform to such a high level.
Right now, I am a novice rider with a beautiful paint horse that challenges me daily!
I am looking forward to assisting the committee in driving a WES web presence that educates, informs and inspires generations of western riders and horsemen (and women)
My name is Pauline Norton and I'm a Level 4 UKCC Equestrian Coach based in Kent. From pony mad schoolgirl to List 3 British Dressage Judge and British Reining Open Hi-Point Champion – I think I’ve tried most things during my equestrian career! I have worked closely with other member bodies of The British Equestrian Federation on coaching, safe-guarding and welfare and hope to use some of this experience to help WES present a professional face to the general equestrian community."