FROM more than 650 nominations, and after an intensive judging process, the winners of the SEIB Yard of the Year Awards, in association with H&H, have been confirmed.
Titles were handed out for the best Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) centre, the best small and large riding schools and the top DIY and full livery yards, at a ceremony at Eton College on 6 July.
This is the first year the awards were run with the support of H&H. Editor-in-chief Sarah Jenkins said: “Over the past few years we have reported the challenges facing riding schools, competition centres and livery yards – exacerbated by the pandemic. Those who run and work at these centres put blood, sweat and tears into doing so, but never more so than since 2020. For those reasons I was happy to be involved in this year’s awards, to help celebrate and recognise those who have gone above and beyond, in particularly difficult times, to do the best for those riders who benefit from their expertise.
“The number and calibre of entries was high, and it was heart-warming to see the appreciation and support behind every nomination, to read some incredible stories of triumph against the odds, and to learn just how much of a difference all of those yards shortlisted are making. Their teams should be hugely proud of the job they are doing and the service they are providing – their clients and participants clearly think a great deal of them.”
The RDA centre of the year was Erme Valley, with Penniwells RDA highly commended.
“It is fantastic, much appreciated support,” said Erme Valley founder Peggy Douglas. “Everyone on our team knows they are part of the award – staff, volunteers and participants. It is because of them we have received this award.”
Mill Farm won the DIY livery yard, with Whincover Farm Livery Stables highly commended. Julia Banwell, who owns the yard with her husband Robert, said: “Our lovely liveries nominated us and they all wanted to be in our video submission for the awards. They put forward what the yard means to them. It is really nice to be recognised for the effort we all put in.”
Country Treks Equestrian Centre won the small riding school title, with Stonelea Riding School highly commended. Country Treks owner Stephanie Eddies-Davies said: “This is just magic! We have been running for 34 years and to get this recognition is such a boost for us and our staff and customers. It feels like we are finally reaping the benefits of the blood, sweat and tears we have put in over the years.”
Mount Mascal Stables won the large riding school title, with Summerfield Stables, Horses in the Community, highly commended.
Mount Mascal owner Alison Window said: “The Mount Mascal Stables team – human and horse — are our true heros and make it all possible. Thanks also to our lovely clients for their nominations and to SEIB for the award.”
The full livery yard award went to Mark Walters and Nicholas Lawson of Corvedale Equestrian (pictured), with OSH Dressage highly commended. Mr Walters said: “It was a genuine surprise to have been nominated by our wonderful liveries, they kept it very quiet! Our focus is on providing a non-judgmental, supportive environment where we coach, guide and help our clients.”
The new competition venue of the year title went to Colraine Equestrian Centre, with Chard and Netherton equestrian centres highly commended. Colraine general manager Helena Ellery said: “This means everything to us. Both Becky [King, of Colraine] and I have young children and we give up our family time each weekend to be there so to achieve this recognition is amazing. This award shows that we are going in the right direction.”
SEIB marketing manager Nicolina MacKenzie said: “What a celebration of excellence we have had. So many grateful customers, owners and riders have put time and thought into their nominations for the yards they love. To celebrate with and speak to our winners is so encouraging and long may they continue their hard work and the fabulous services they offer.”
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