It's a Knockout!
On the 11th July, 2005 whilst the horses were peacefully grazing, staff, customers and livery owners at Limebrook could be seen in a very different light!
Not a horse in sight, but plenty of water, apples, balloons, buckets, balls and any number of stranger items were to be found in plenty as the Staff, Customers and Liveries pitched against each other in the Limebrook version of 'It's a Knockout'!
The Staff just scrapped through to win on the final game (the 'Tug of War'), and the Liveries came second. There was certainly a lot of fun being had, and no one taking themselves, or the games, too seriously!
Limebrook Farm Livery Yard
Old Indoor School
Many people used to get confused when they rode at Limebrook and were asked to put the horse you have just ridden in his stable in the 'indoor school'!
Until 2003 Limebrook did not have the large purpose built indoor school, but used a converted barn. When the new indoor school was built this was converted back to stables, but the old name stuck!
The old indoor riding school at Limebrook will bring back memories to more than one generation of riders in the Maldon area.
It is hard to imagine, but before the floodlights were put up in the outdoor menages as well as the children's lessons the advanced adult lessons were held in the old indoor school on dark winter evenings. Riding in the old indoor was limiting, with jumping only possible down the centre line. and tall adults on large horses were concerned when doing the rising trot as the roof was not very high!
Old Indoor School
Limebrook has certainly made many changes over the years, gradually improving the facilities to make everything easier for riders and more comfortable for horses. However, many a rider learned to ride in the old indoor school and will have fond memories of ponies they used to ride in there.
Probably not many would want to exchange the new facilities for the old though!
Old Indoor School (picture dated 2000) Children's lesson with Sunny, Patch and Andy.
Still it was somewhere to ride in the cold and dark. Once the outdoor menages were floodlit, adult riding moved permanently outdoors, but the children enjoyed riding indoors.
Memories of Horses
Did you used to ride at Limebrook? Do you remember old horses and people who are no longer at Limebrook?
This is a picture of Petra - the freshly painted jump in the foreground was painted by Clare herself - yes, it's a snake jump!
The snake jump again - and standing behind it is... Oliver!
And this horse is Jerry. Jerry's claim to fame is that he very convincingly played dead! He reared up in the horsebox, and collapsed over backwards onto the rear wall, he was half standing, half lying against the wall, his neck bent over looking obviously broken, and his eyes wide and staring.
As Clare ran off to make arrangements to move him (a dead horse in the car park in front of all the customers is not a sight destined to give young children nice dreams), Alan nudged the horse with his foot.
Jerry came back to life, jumped up and gave everyone around him a real shock. As Clare says, she knew he was dead! But, luckily, apparently he was not!
Here is a picture of two Limebrook horses taken in 1995. Look how spritely the young Andy looks! And following him, looking as grumpy as ever is Lloyd.
The 3 o'clock Lesson
From 1981 to 2007 Limebrook Farm operated as a Riding School as well as a livery yard. It has always been very much a family business. Most of the staff learnt to ride here as children and came back as full or part time riding instructors when they left school! The 3 o'clock riding lessons on a Saturday and Sunday afternoons wil be remembered fondly by many children - and any adults daring to join them.
A great time was usually had by all. The riding lessons were normally held in the large outdoor menage.
The lessons consisted of flatwork exercises, normally circles and figure of eights in walk, trot and canter, together with pole work and jumping. As well as working as a group, the warm up session introduced children to working in 'open file', i.e. choosing independantly where to circle or change the rein etc. To the observor it sometimes appeared chaotic as the children learn 'rights of way', and even the instructor put her head in her hands on more that one occassion, but there were no collisions or crashes to report!
The age range for this riding lesson was from about 8 to adult - riding ability was more important than age. It is a popular lesson for livery owners - especially during the winter months as a good safe way to exercise their horses.
See the video for an example of a typical lesson!