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Dhekelia Saddle Club
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Abit of History

A Brief History Of Dhekelia Saddle Club

By

Sue Mantovani

 

In 1975 I was introduced to Dhekelia Saddle Club (DSC). With one significant break, I have been happy to be associated with the Club ever since and witnessed many changes.

 

Back then, The Club was run by the Army as recreational facility for serving members of Her Majestys Forces and their families. As with other Army Clubs, there was always an allowance for local residents to join. This would have a profound effect upon the establishment of Equestrianism in Cyprus as, until the last 10 years, no locally established riding Clubs existed.

 

In this particular the Club has not changed, but in many other ways it has. Back then, riding members had the advantage of military grooms to prepare their horses and un-tack them; the Club had its own service yard manager and instructors. Until the year before I arrived, the Club was the centre for polo on the ESBA and most of the stock was ex-polo ponies, there was a pack of real foxhounds, which had to be exercised everyday. There were 2 shows held on the island each year and, most crucially, the Army provided all the necessary finance, veterinary and farrier services and most of the maintenance to run the Club.

 

Over the last 15 years, the Club has had to become more and more self-sustaining. Army instructors have been replaced by volunteers or paid instructors, polo ponies have been replaced by, largely, ex-racehorses who although they come cheap, require a good deal of re-schooling. Dhekelia Saddle Club holds many two day shows with dressage, show jumping and cross country with the occasional hunter trial. These shows continue throughout the season, although the military All Island Horse Shows are still considered the high spot of the Equestrian calendar being the only 3 day shows on the island.

 

Limited Army funding has had to be supplemented by income raised from the local community, both in the form of sponsorship and services. Especially when staging a show such as the All Island, we have to reach out into the local business community for support, which, although Equestrianism is not a major sport in Cyprus.

 

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Aimme Riding Bocky

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