South East Essex Riding And Driving Club

Information wanted

Help required in establishing when this club was formed. It was certainly in existence in 1953, but how much earlier did it start ?  Events were originally held at Runnymede Paddocks, but are now at Woodside Park.  Can anyone out there help Mo Perkins in establishing the start date. If so, please leave a comment on this page or leave a message at Benfleet library.

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  • G’day Mark, greetings from Adelaide, down-under. As a 10/11 year old I was friendly with a chap by the name of Bill Shaw. He had stables on the corner of Manor Road and Church Road, Thundersley. His paddock(field) is now occupied by a block of flats and a news-agents shop. Bill kept 4 horses but had many visitors that needed breaking in to saddle or harness. I got dumped more times than I care to remember but loved every minute with him. He made his money by selling manure and other odd jobs. Wheeling and dealing if you like. He met up with the yearly visit of the pikies/gypsies for a bit of horse trading etc.  We often showed his larger horses in gigs and occasionally, I would show a pony and flat trap, not that I won any prizes. Damned pony refused to back up. As to how long the club had been going, I have no idea but I loved the Sunday drives when we would meet at The Woodman’s Arms and set off in convoy of up to 20 rigs, everything from a pony and trap, high stepping Hackney pairs to a four in hand stage coach. Traffic was, of course, a lot lighter than it is today and most drivers were very courteous towards the horses.

    There were of course, many horse shows and gymkana’s. Great fun for young and old. These days, I see many young girls getting involved with our local riding clubs but boys are more interested in mini bikes and ruin our country parks.

    The last time I rode was 4 years ago on the BLACK beaches of Bali. First time on a horse for about 30 years but still managed a nice canter without damaging my 72 year old body.  

    By Doug Mansfield (18/02/2016)

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