Western riders mosey on down to North Wales


Rachel Nash

HORSE riding enthusiasts in Denbighshire can now enjoy a taste of the wild west with the opening of a specialist Western riding group based in Clawddnewydd.
Dragon Western Riding Club aims to bring together western riding enthusiasts from the area. Founded by Tim Keeley and his wife Janette, along with Karen Roberts – who has experience of the biggest Western Riding Club in the South East of England and who is the driving force behind this new venture – the club aims to allow members to improve their riding skills whilst enjoying the friendship and support of other Western riders.
The riding club is based at Tim and Janette’s Appaloosa and Quarter Horse breeding and showing facility, Constant Appaloosa, in Bryn Moel, Clawddnewydd.
“I’ve been thinking about starting a club for quite a while now as there’s a real need in the area,” said Tim.
“Many of my clients live in quite remote locations with no facilities, or are based at livery yards where they are the only Western rider. I wanted to provide a place where they could ride, whatever the weather, and receive quality coaching in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere.”
Western riding is a style of horseback riding that evolved from the ranching and warfare traditions brought to the Americas by the Spanish Conquistadors, which evolved to meet the working needs of the cowboy in the American West.
“We'd love to welcome as many riders with their horses as well as anyone who wants to come along without a horse," said Tim, who is a WES and UKCC coach and trainer.
“I also think it’s important to provide an environment where like minded people have the opportunity to chat and provide support for each other. Although the club will be catering for Western riders, I also want to reach out and encourage non-Western riders to try our sport, enjoy it and come back wanting to learn more.”
Tim and Janette plan to hold regular club days, clinics and shows at their premises and club members will be able to take advantage of the facilities at the centre that include an indoor 40 metre arena and an outdoor 60 metre arena, where Tim will be on hand to coach and encourage riders and their horses.
“Club days will be an affordable and enjoyable way of learning more about Western riding and a great social opportunity to meet with other western riding enthusiasts," said Tim, who also trains horses and is a visiting university lecturer in equine applied learning behaviour.
Janette is a human and equine chiropractor and both her and Tim have several UK and European titles to their name in Halter, Pleasure, Trail, Showmanship, Horsemanship and Heritage.
The club launch day took place last Saturday and was attended by around 20 riders and spectators.
“We had a wide spread of riders from those who have only just started western riding to those who have been doing it for years,” said co-founder Karen Roberts, who lives in Denbigh. 
Elaine Walker, a musician and singer who has been western riding for many years, said: “Until now Western riders in North Wales have had long journeys for most of their training or social events – it's great to have good facilities and the community of
a club to bring us all together locally."
For further information contact Tim Keeley on 01824 750463.

See full story in the Free Press

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