21st Anniversary Event By Its Founder
When I first started CRC back in early l995, I never dreamed it would grow into a whole movement which would spawn many other movements and in turn lead to an understanding of Classical Riding, which hitherto was never much explored or discussed other than by the cognescenti. The fantastic thing was the impact - not just in the UK, but over time and thanks to the internet, Facebook and other social media, we were reaching out and influencing people from all over the world. Amongst our Members, we already had many international names - but the more the movement grew - the more the word spread across frontiers and continents.
This had to be incredibly satisfying. From a small acorn... can grow a mighty oak. Well, one of the reasons I am happy now to withdraw from running CRC as a Club with subscriptions to keep the work going, is because the main bulk of the work is done. Thanks to you the Members, the website we built, the articles written, CRC Dressage (which can now be done online), the proof from demos and lessons, the word has been set free. It is there for everyone who seeks it and it is time for everyone to be able to access it and to take the message forward wherever they live - whoever they are.
With all that in mind, I knew that the best way to draw to a close the subscription paying Club and launch it into a very special facility for Everyone to access worldwide - was to celebrate our efforts and all the time and energy invested, with a really spectacular Event. This took place on Saturday, July 30th at The College Equestrian Centre, Keysoe, Bedfordshire and what an Event it was!
I had run two previous very successful Demos for the Club, the first to celebrate our Tenth Anniversary, the second to celebrate our Fifteenth. To both events we hosted over 300 and more spectators and both were whole day events, just like this one, with a wealth of teaching and training to be enjoyed by all. In each case I had invited three to four other Trainers who believed in our motto Harmony in Horsemanship - even if our ways of going about things differed a little. Both were very well received.
For the 21st Event, I wanted something even closer to my heart. I was determined to invite those people whom I most admired in their ethos, experience and understanding of the horse. It was important to me that for this Special Demonstration, we should all be from different parts of the world but all share the same passion and understanding for classical riding. It was important to have experienced trainers who, like me, had travelled the world and made a difference.
It was almost heaven-sent; the only day the Equestrian Centre could offer us and the only free weekend that worked for me, also coincided with a time that was suitable for the four other trainers I had chosen. These were Colonel Christian Carde, Nuno Cavaco, Patrick Print and Uwe Spenlen. Extraordinary - especially the fact they were all coming from different directions!
From January to July, I worked on the content, the programme, the students, the horses, the PR and the advertising. I wrote articles galore in return for free advertising, our voluntary 'team' did a great job on Facebook, and so many of our Members far and wide, helped spread the word. The result? A packed house on Saturday, 30th July.... and the buzz! Nobody could have ordered that up. It just happened. The air was electric, the anticipation huge, the enjoyment plain to see on everyone's faces and the horses - well, they all just sparkled from start to finish. It was the most superb and joyful day!
It would be wrong for me to finish this article without thanking all those responsible for putting together the most amazing Surprise Presentation from the Members. As we began to draw to a close in the late afternoon of that very special Saturday, my programme was suddenly hi-jacked! I know our Admin team Angela and Abigail, our photographer Nathalie Todd, and my daughter Allegra were in on it all from the beginning - but I had no idea. Nevertheless, it was you the Members who made it all happen. Totally unsuspecting, I was treated to the most incredible tribute speech by my good friend Desi Dillingham MBE (who has done so much for British Dressage) which brought tears to my eyes... and then when the presents came forth - so many of you had contributed towards them... the emotion just could not be contained.
I was given the most beautiful painting of my four best schoolmaster horses over the last 30 years... Palomo Linares, Andorinha, Espada and Prazer ... by the incredible artist, Georgina Leigh. Not only this, but I was overcome to receive a massive 'This is Your Life' book (click here to view on Facebook) with personal comments from all who contributed, illustrated with photos from my life and featuring so many of my horses and all put together so skilfully as a personal thank you from the Club. Then came the flowers, and a huge bundle of goodies, all done up with the red and green colours of Portugal in an enormous parcel for Prazer.
There were two personal presents too. Nathalie Todd gave me a stunning photographic portrait of Prazer, while Anne Wilson and Lesley Skipper from Tracking-up gave me a stunning pastel portrait - again of Prazer. That stallion will never be forgotten and will go down in the annals. He has taught so many people the secrets of technique, he richly deserves it.
So now, for the rest of you - please read on to the next page, especially those who could not make the Day. Rider and trainer Claire Whitfield, whom I mentor, has written a very good account of the whole proceedings and by Christmas, I very much hope there will be a DVD out for the rest of you to order for your festive stocking. I think and hope you will find The CRC 21st Anniversary as fascinating as we had all expected it to be.
Again, thank you to all who helped me make it happen. And thank you to all the Members who believed in CRC and right from the beginning have given me so much support and love. Who could ask for more? Sylvia