October marked the anniversary of my first year at Ebony Horse Club as Operations Manager.

What better way to mark the year than with our annual Championship Day.

This annual event shines a light on the achievements, talents and resilience of our young people in front of a wider audience of family and friends.

The day started with a riding demonstration involving members of all levels watched by an enthusiastic audience of around 50 people. The crowd were treated to a display which demonstrated the progress of our riders as they move up through the Club.

First off were our beginners, showing how they learn the basics, followed by our seniors showcasing their jumping skills. Our Riding Instructor, Isis, encouraged onlookers by asking whether they wanted to see our riders jump higher!

To illustrate that it’s not all about riding skills, a group of our intermediates performed a grooming demonstration ably assisted by our famous Shetland, Pedro.

After the demonstrations, young people, families and visitors gathered for an award ceremony in the barn, transformed with colourful bunting and pictures of our young people by volunteers from Royal Holloway’s riding club.

Our proud Patrons, Val Shawcross and Charlotte Steel, handed out the awards and congratulated our young people as their names were announced.

At the heart of our Championship Day we recognise and celebrate both the riding and personal achievements of our members, which is so important to raising aspirations as their sense of achievement goes a long way towards building confidence. We especially aim to recognise skills that are just as important in other areas of life, such as teamwork, reliability and communication.

Awards were handed out for Most Improved Rider, Rider with most Swagger, Super Star Young Volunteers and Most Committed.

We also recognised our dedicated team of volunteers who give so much of their time to support our team, young people and horses.

For me, it was very moving to watch members come forward to collect their awards as their pride, and all the families, was clear to see. I was approached by several parents during the day who told me how they had been moved to tears with pride and joy.

I now can’t wait until next year as we are already thinking of ways we can make our Championship Day bigger and better.

I would like to thank our young people, the team and our volunteers Anna, Julie, Kim and Steph, including the riding club from Royal Holloway, for all their help in making the Championship Day such a success.