Ebony’s Blog: Life at The Shelley Centre

Well hello readers, welcome to my aptly named ‘quiet room’ where I stand, all my circuits switched off, the curtains drawn and the door firmly closed.

I was woken up on the afternoon of July 28 for the much delayed annual general meeting of the Shelley Centre held here in the yard. You should have heard the chatter! For friends who hadn’t seen each other since our lockdown on March 16, there was much catching up to do. Social distancing prevailed of course. Everyone had to bring their own chair and print off (what on earth does that mean?) their own papers, but the sun shone and the premises looked fantastic.

I listened hard to the business too. This is when our chairman, Jan Derbyshire, presents awards to long-serving volunteers. Not many recipients were able to attend of course, but their names were mentioned. Patricia Bazeley White is pictured with her certificate for 30 years’ service. Wow, she’s been here longer than me!

Lyn told us about a new arrival on the equine team. He is called Snoopy and is a little piebald fellow, here to take over from Cindy who has gone to a new home. Snoopy and Buzz (his field mate) were at the AGM watching from the arena. Lyn said a big thank you to her team of able-bodied riders and maintenance people who have all kept the centre and the horses in tiptop condition these last silent months.

Our most upsetting news is the retirement of Margaret Fowler, vice chairman of the trustees and Jan Derbyshire’s right hand man in all things to do with running the centre. Most importantly for me, she is my special instructor on two days of the week and has taken care of my riders when I give them a work out. Hers will be a hard act to follow. Naturally she was presented with cards and gifts at the meeting, as my picture shows. Is Jan wiping her eye there? I know I am.

More hard decisions have had to be made about our re-opening in September. At present the premises will open on September 7, with the first week devoted to helpers only; there is much for them to learn about the new way of operating. Then, unless there are significant changes to the Covid-19 situation, only our riders who are able to mount and dismount by themselves will be able to return. The helpers will not be allowed to have that close contact required on the mounting ramp.

This is very stark news. As you can imagine, BABS and I are also out of the picture for the time being. However, the human team is keeping all fingers and toes crossed for better news and I’m told that the ponies are practising keeping their hooves crossed too. That must be a funny sight!

Keep smiling; the team is working on being able to offer more as soon as possible.

www.shelleyrda.com / 01473 824172

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