I just received a proof of the index for my book, If Wishes Were Horses, and thought that if anyone happens to be passing through the interwebs in search of Cringleford Riding School, Willow Cottage Riding School (near Swannington), Top Farm (near Weston Longville), the riding centre at the Red Barn at Stanford or Costessey Riding School, they’ll find their memory triggered by this little list:
Cricket, 10, 145, 222, 266
Derwen, 10, 144–6
Dusky, 7–8, 22, 45–8, 231, 265
Harry, 248–51, 254
Jasper, 10, 22, 143, 215
Kylie, 10, 222–6, 246
Mikalo, 10, 42, 209, 230, 237
Murphy, 222–6, 246
Noddy, 144, 211
Pegasus, 10, 128, 144, 215, 222, 238
Petita, 10, 42, 69, 215
Red, 10, 22, 145, 158, 209, 215, 266
Tav (Mactavish), 10–11, 32, 62–4, 70, 182–94, 196, 199, 221, 226–7, 238, 246, 249, 260, 262, 264–6, 299, 323–4
Tango, 47, 145
Tino, 10, 42, 230
Wispa, 222, 225–6
I used to go to Cringleford Riding School – the one just outside Norwich. I starting at the Ketteringham riding school, just a few miles away – went there for a few months when I was about 8, and then went to Cringleford for a year or so when I was 10. This was in the 70’s.
I remember a chestnut pony called Polly, and rode a grey called Pickles (there seemed to be a Pickles and a Polly at every riding school then), and a larger chestnut called Jasper. I don’t remember any of the others there.
Oops, I meant Keswick Riding Stables, not Ketteringham.
Pickles was still there in the eighties, when I was at Cringleford! A little grey. We were always told that he’d been a Prince Philip Cup gymkhana competitor in his youth. And Keswick are still going strong, I think.
I remember Willow Cottage riding school at Swannington. Margaret Whiting and her husband Brian ran it. Margaret owned Brandy and Polly and the riding school horses I remember were Lucy, Rusty, Blackberry, Tina, Gaelic and a big hogged white horse whose name escapes me at the moment. I bought my pony Shandy from there and moved her away as I wasn’t keen on the working livery (someone always wanted to ride her and I wanted to go to the Horsford and District Riding Club gymkhana)!
I worked at Cringleford from 1984 to 1998 and your book brought back so many memories of happy times. Sadly, Paula Sykes died this year on September 15th. Her funeral was yesterday and it was lovely -if a funeral can be described as such. I remember taking Jasper cubbing and having great fun trying to get him to jump-he was so clumsy! But gorgeous.
Thank you so much Mary. Yes, I’ve heard and am hoping to write something more about Paula soon. She gave us so much of our childhoods. When I visited her for If Wishes Were Horses, I just “missed” Dominic, whom she’d still got nearby, well looked after.
Donna Clayton now has the stables. A lovely house instead of the rickety old caravan. I can vividly remember the delicious meals that Paula used to cook us. Sam reminded me of the homemade soup-stirred with the same wooden spoon used to stir the ponies linseed and barley!
I used to ride Jasper too, he was good looking pony as was Dominic whom I used to ride as well, mostly after the stables had closed. I remember hearing that when he was younger he had broken bones in a traffic access and that Paula Sykes had nursed him back to health. I also remember riding Tango and Wimpy. Sad to hear that Paula Sykes has recently died.
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