So here we are at the start of another year – and it really does feel like the beginning of something big!
In many respects, 2016 was all about laying the foundations for future success. Many of our riders took time out from national competitions to concentrate on their training; we continued to upgrade and perfect our facilities; we hosted a number of one-off events and workshops with internationally-renowned trainers; and we were finally in a position to offer a variety of hacks to suit all levels following the completion of building work along the Sea Caves, where we now have exclusive access to part of the island’s most stunning coastline.
In short, 2016 was the year we cemented the reputation of George’s Ranch as a true equestrian centre with something to offer everyone whether they be tourists, beginners or professionals. In turn, 2017 will be the year we grow bigger, bolder and better.
A few finishing touches will be made to our existing facilities, with the dressage arena poised for a super-professional mini makeover in the coming weeks and plans for a new lunge pen where our riders can free school their horses or simply allow them to let off steam in a safe and controlled environment should we suffer another rain sodden start to the next winter! Myself, Michelle and Karen will also be holding a brain-storming meeting later this month to see what fun we can rustle up for our younger riders and passing holidaymakers following the success of our pony camps, in-house shows and monthly toddlers’ group. Of course, if any of you have any ideas you’d like to share, we’d love to hear them!
This year we also hope to have more of a presence at the national shows and we look forward to seeing the federation’s competition schedule when it’s announced. As the federation is also expected to be take over the running of the All Island Show, the only three-day cross-country event in Cyprus, many of our riders are especially enthusiastic about attending.
There are also exciting times ahead for three young riders who have just taken on their first loan ponies. These new matches see Lily Milan, Bobby and Robin paired with our very talented Ranchers Ella, Melina and Iona.
Of course, our more experienced riders also hope to continue to making an impact on the competition circuit this year. In fact, at the end of the month Jay will compete for the title of Pancyprian Champion on Shy Boy, which is incredibly exciting for him as he is in the lead at the moment in the first year he has ever jumped at this level, which also happens to be the highest level on the island.
Oh, and if all that wasn’t exciting enough, we are now on the look-out for a new pony, one that can school our young beginners over their first jumps. Watch this space for more details when we have them!
As you can see, we have a few plans for 2017 and, trust me, there are even more to come. So, keep an eye on our website and Facebook page for more exciting news as it happens. Until then, I’d simply like to wish you all a very Happy New Year – may it be the best yet for all your riding dreams, hopes and ambitions.