Ilkeston and District Riding Club has undergone some dramatic changes as it prepares for the 2013 season.
Founded in 1969, the club has always prided itself on being the home of family, grass roots showing for equine enthusiasts in the Ilkeston area.
But with attendances and membership numbers having dropped in recent years and the threat of closure suddenly having faced the club, its members have stepped forward to give it a new lease of life and try to restore it to its former glory.
And now, with new branding as The New Ilkeston and District Riding Club and a shake-up of the committee, it is all set to host its first event of 2013 with an Open Show featuring Equestrian Life Qualifiers on Sunday, March 10.
Carol Morgan, new club chairman and judges secretary, said: “We could not be happier, or more grateful, for the support shown to the club.
“Without the generous donations of several local businesses such as KRM, Travis Perkins, Derbyshire Countryside Club and Austen Blakemore Photography, we’re not sure how we would have survived.
“But now we are all getting incredibly excited about the forthcoming Open on March 10 at which we hope to demonstrate our club is the place to be for family showing this season and beyond.”
The new committee has worked tirelessly, bringing in hundreds of pounds in sponsorship money, generous donations from local businesses and overhauling the image of the club.
That has resulted in it being inundated with requests for membership forms and enquiries about upcoming shows.
All horse lovers, however experienced, are invited to the Open Show, with club president Marie Rigley adding: “We are a family-orientated club and want to encourage new and old members alike to compete at a local level friendly show.
“The New Ilkeston and District Riding Club is an ideal place to compete, whether it be for those just starting out or the seasoned competitor.
“Either way, we look forward to welcoming people along and having an enjoyable and winning season together.”
The Open Show will host Equestrian Life Qualifiers and offers a top prize of £100 cash, a beautiful rosette and a professional photograph from Austen Blakemore Photography for ‘Supreme of Show’. Other prizes will also be on offer.
The club has also been invited to host qualifiers for the Lincolnshire Festival of the Horse and ‘The Showing Register’, whose final galas will also be held later in the year.
Charity rides, ‘hunt’ rides, themed events and an end of season presentation are also expected to follow.
Full details of the show schedule, show dates and more can be found by visiting www.sites.google.com/site/ilkestonanddistrictridingclub or by e-mailing the club secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org.