Affiliated to the British Horse Society – within Area 22, Scotland

Newsletter December 2023

Please read your latest newsletter here.

It’s that time of year again when we feel like battening down the hatches and the horses seem to have more “duvet” days than they do in the fields! However there is still plenty going on in SRC, with lessons and clinics taking place all winter and, of course, our Annual awards evening, AMM and social night.

This will take place at Madderty Village Hall on Monday 11th December starting at 7pm with the AMM, then the annual awards including the Performance Points, for which there are monetary voucher prizes for Mc Cash, as well as beautiful rosettes made by Andi Bruce and a trophy. The evening will continue with a delicious meal provided by Hazel Nuts Catering. Please go onto equoevents to choose your meal and book your place, it is always a fun night and a good chance to catch up with everyone pre-Christmas.

The pictures above are from a very successful Scottish Champs where Strathearn was well-represented and our members brought home lots of prizes, despite our tent blowing away!! See pic below.

Results: Dressage intro – 3rd Rachel Bruce, Shadow; P14 – 2nd Sarah Brand, Cloudy Mhor; 12th Racehl Bruce; P18 – 11th Mags Gough, Rhys. Team Prelim – 6th, Sarah Brand, Rachel Bruce, Alannah West. N 30 – 3rd, Fiona Kerr, Lady; 5th, Erika Hay, Kitkat. N 27 – 3rd, Sarah Brand; 9th Kenna Murdoch, SCH Stellan. N Team – 1st, Sarah, Kenna, Erika, Fiona. E43 – 3rd Kate McDiarmid, Ziggy; 6th, Shonagh Rbb, Tonto; 9th Julia Craig, Gracie. M61 – 2nd, Shonagh Robb.

Show Jumping – 70cm – 5th, Fiona Kerr; 10th Tammy Halsey, Spider. 70 team – 4th, Fiona, Tammy and Rachel. 80cm – 9th, Erika Hay. 90cm – 12th, Mags Gough.

Horse Trials 90cm – 3rd Sarah Brand; 12th Christina Zdanaviciene, Corton Lass. 90cm – 8th Mags Gough. 100cm – 2nd Julia Craig, Dora.

Very well done everyone.

While on the subject of competitions. There will be a new Scottish Riding Club Event Series for 2024. Points can be gained by competing in ODE or HT competitions throughout the year. There is also an arena eventing series which will be run at the new Aberdeenshire equestrian centre – Bogenraith. Keep an eye on the club fb page for more info, but there will also be a dedicated Scottish event series facebook page.

Pictured above are a few members cooling off following another successful Diana Zadja jump lesson at Netherton. We always say it but it is worth saying again that we are very lucky to have access to so many excellent coaches and we have a new one to add to our list – David Harland! Thanks to Fiona Shearer who is organising lessons with top showjumper David at Netherton. The first one was well-supported and the second one is due to take place on 29th November.

A trek session with Rhoda McVey was held at Braefield recently and we are holding a dressage to music clinic with Jo Wilkie at Netherton on 7th December. Andi Bruce is teaching at Gleneagles on 13th November too. No-one can say we don’t have a variety of lessons to offer!

We have four teams of three entered for the Strathallan Schools Team SJ on 26th November at Howe so good luck to everyone taking part. If you can’t do this one, we are hoping to field a few teams for Howe’s Christmas showjumping on 16th and 17th December. Get in touch with Sue if you are keen to participate in a bit of tinsel fun!

You may have seen some chat about a change of format regarding memberships which has been introduced by BRC with very little consultation with Clubs. Our committee has a few reservations about this change. We feel our club is more like a family than a corporate business and we like to think we know and care for all our members. The new way of becoming a member directly through BRC takes away any personal touch and potentially means people who we don’t know can join anytime from anywhere and respresent the club at competitions almost without our knowledge. Our chair, Shonagh has written a letter (below), which we would really appreciate you taking the time to read.

Members of Strathearn Riding Club, on behalf of the Committee, I ask you to read the following in an effort to explain what has been going on behind the scenes with your club in recent weeks.

Some of you may have already received an email from British Riding Clubs (BRC) Headquarters, instructing you to renew your club membership using their new online system. This has been implemented without any consultation/collaboration with the BRC affiliated clubs’ officials and representatives, and came as a shock to us all.  There was absolutely no information circulated to club officials explaining how the system was to work, prior to it’s launch this week, and it has been rail-roaded through by BRC HQ regardless.

Make yourself a cuppa, have a seat, and please consider the following, as this will affect you all.

We are asking our current membership to hold fire on this request from HQ at the moment – in any case, current members are not due to renew their memberships until 1st January 2024, as Strathearn Riding Club’s official membership period runs from 1st January to 31st December, as does most of the Area’s (if not country’s) affiliated clubs.

Our Club Secretary (Sue Gaden) and myself as Club Chair, participated in a two-hour Teams meeting on the evening of Tuesday 14th November, along with numerous other Area 22 club committee members and officials when the subject, amongst other things, was discussed at length.

To summarise, for those of you who perhaps haven’t had a chance to look at the BRC email yet, the new system will allow anybody from anywhere to complete and submit an online membership application or renewal, making payment direct to BRC HQ through the online platform “Stripe”. The individual’s membership would then run for a full year from the date of payment, and their membership would be instant.

What’s the problem with that I hear you say?

On the face of it this may sound like a great idea, however it brings some really major headaches on a club administrative level (not to mention that it will be more expensive to the member, with an additional £3 admin fee on top of the joining fee), as well as a few advantages to be fair.

Administrative problems –

-By accepting this enforced new system, it removes an individual club’s committee the option/ability to consider and either accept/decline new membership applications on various grounds. Literally anybody from anywhere could join our club instantly and without the club’s committee being aware. We would no longer have the opportunity to decline an individual eg. who had a history of animal welfare issues, or who was a known sex-offender (taking it to the extreme for illustrative purposes). You have no idea how many “cranks” try to join the club or to get access to our “members only” facebook page, for whatever dubious motives. The committee currently promptly filters these individuals out with a polite decline.

-The definitive Membership period would become extremely confused, muddled and difficult to manage, as individuals’ membership periods would all vary depending on the date they actually renewed or joined and made their online payments. In effect, the recognised club financial year would no longer be clearly defined as 1st January to 31st December.  This would be a major headache for our Treasurer, trying to balance the annual accounts. This could also potentially raise problems if the club were to apply for any training funding through the British Horse Society(BHS) or Horse Scotland, (as we did for the Rider Bio-mechanics Clinic a few years ago), which had to be done within specific time restrictions, if the club’s financial year differed from these organisations’ financial year.

– Organisers of club activities/competition Team Managers would have to check each individual’s current membership status prior to every single club activity/competition, to ensure that the individual’s membership was still live and that they were therefore covered by the BRC Corporate Insurance Policy. This would be imperative, so as to ensure they were covered by our Public Liability cover, and would be an extremely time-consuming and laborious process imposed on already very busy volunteers!

-There is absolutely no facility for persons who would rather pay their joining fee by cash/cheque.

-There is no alternative method of joining for persons who, for whatever reason, have no access or facility to go online.

-There is no facility for the club to continue to have Honourary members – eg. persons who may be elderly and no longer ride, but have a long-standing association with the club (founder members) and who pay no membership, or persons who perform an important role free of charge for the club (eg. conduct the annual audit of the club’s financial records), and in return pay no membership fee but enjoy all the benefits of being a member.

This is just the list which was immediately apparent on receipt of our email notifications! I am sure there will be other issues that will arise, if we proceed down this mandatory road.

Administrative advantages –

-The Membership Secretary will no longer have the time-consuming job of processing all renewal and new membership applications, and submitting them online to BRC HQ.

-Individuals will receive their membership numbers directly from BRC HQ, and will retain the same number for the duration of and for as long as their membership continues year on year.

– The Club Treasurer will no longer have the responsibility to pay the BRC Affiliation fees, made up of BRC Administration fees (by 31st of May each year) and the Corporate Insurance fees (by 31st January each year) as these will be deducted at the “point of sale” by BRC, when members make their online payments. BRC will deduct the total of their fees, then pay the balance of the club’s membership fee back into the club’s bank account.

It was discussed at length during the Teams meeting, what the advantages of being an Affiliated Club actually involved.

The main one from an administrative point of view, was the BRC Corporate Insurance cover, providing public liability cover for the committee, officials, volunteers and club members at riding club events.

From a members point of view, as well as the insurance cover, it would be the opportunity to compete in qualifying classes at competitions, and thereafter if qualification gained the opportunity to compete in BRC Championships, and to participate in other BRC activities, eg Area camps. 

The disadvantage of our club dis-affilaiting, would be the loss of the BRC Corporate Insurance cover. However, some clubs have sourced independent insurance cover when they dis-affiliated (during covid) and say it was very affordable. Horse Scotland are also to look into whether they could offer insurance cover.

The disadvantages for the members would be the loss of access to Area 22 qualifying events and the Championships, and to participating at Area 22 camps. However, prior to all this coming to light, our committee had already discussed running our own camp early next year.

It was unanimously voiced by all club representatives at the Teams meeting, that we should ignore BRC HQ’s instructions to use their new membership system. Clubs should carry on meantime with their current systems, and representation be made by the Area 22 rep on all club’s behalf to BRC HQ.

The point was also raised during the Teams meeting, that there used to be an active “BRC Scotland” committee (formed from representatives of clubs from Area 1 and Area 22 of BRC) with it’s own constitution and bank account (now closed). BRC Scotland is still “live” in the eyes of Horse Scotland, although it is not currently active. There has been recent discussions as to whether this is resurrected and a new committee is formed, whereby it exists as a  separate entity to the BHS (which also has it’s own constitution), or it is formally amalgamated with BHS.  If this committee was reformed, then BRC Scotland (Area’s 1 and 22) would have independent access to apply for and receive training funding etc from Horse Scotland and would also retain it’s voting rights.  If it is formally amalgamated and came under the banner of BHS, then it would have to apply for any funding grants through the BHS and be in a fight for this within a much larger pool of potential applicants, and we would also lose all voting rights. It was decided to resurrect the BRC Scotland committee.

Looking forward to seeing many of you at the AMM on 11th December. Please don’t forget to send in your performance points forms, and please note there have been a few changes this year to reward those who participate in Club activities. The rules and form can be downloaded from the website or the facebook page. Please just get them in by 9th December to be in with a shot of winning £100 of Mccash vouchers.

All that’s left for me to do is wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the SRC Committee.

Strathearn Riding Club



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