GATEACRE RIDING SCHOOL - anyone?

Dorothy

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Jul 9, 2016
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I remember Gateacre Riding school very well. I rode there in the 1970s. My sister also rode a few times when she went with friends from Holly Lodge. I also used to work there as a teenager mucking out etc on Saturdays and Sunday's. Marg was the main groom I remember. Jim was a real character he used to say that he used to shoe the horses himself. Although by the time I rode there none of them.were shod. The ponies I remember were Dawn, Kate Driver Romany Merry, Pippin, Squire, Jingles, Cherokee who used to squash you against the stable wall, Badger, Jorrocks, Allah, Simon, Desmond -great fun to ride, a Roan mare - can't remember her name, Toby, Oliver, I have pictures of Desmond with Graham my friends Barbara's brother , as well as one of Simon and Allah. The horses were well looked after if anything a bit too overweight. Jim did have them all PTS when he and Joan retired. Although it seemed harsh I can understand he did nt want them passed from hand to hand.

Happy memories and it was my intro to riding, I stopped for a few years, started again and have been a horse owner up until recently and still riding now. Gateacre's philosophy was a bit 'get on and go ' but I loved it especially as someone has mentioned on here Jim's book and the anticipation of what horse you were to ride.
 

MEP

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Apr 23, 2016
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It's nice to see this thread is still live, even if only just.

I last rode at Gateacre in 1966, the year I graduated and left Liverpool. I never rode in England again, and have only ridden maybe half a dozen times since I came to New Zealand. It turns out it's something you never forget to do, even after a 30 year break (part of looking after students from Denmark and Japan). I even got told, much to my surprise, by the lady at our local riding stable, that I have a good seat. After all, riding at Gateacre was basically just an enjoyable social hack, so I've never really rated myself as a horseman.

I get a little disappointed by some of what's been said about Jim here. He was a bluff old fellow all right, but he had a good heart and clearly had a strong bond with his horses. I can understand his having them put down when he retired. He'd have known with whom they would be likely to have ended up if he sold them, and clearly couldn't face at least some of the prospects. After all, he was the one who kept Cleo out at grass at great expense for it must have been a year or so, in the hope that she would get over her cough. He was seriously annoyed with his hay supplier when she went down with it, and devasted when the end came for her.

As for Jim shoeing the horses himself, that's definitely true. Many's the time I watched him doing it - an interesting operation. I think he must have trained as a farrier at some point, as he made it clear that he was unusual among riding masters in being able to do it.
 

Madamspook

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Jul 26, 2017
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Suffolk
How thrilled was I to find this thread! It made me join the forum just to reply!

I was very very fond of Jim and Joan and stayed in touch a few years after the riding school closed. They visited me in South Wales when I had my own yard but that's another story!

I too ride there for many years in the 1970's and was also one of the many Saturday/ Sunday girls mucking out tacking up grooming in fact doing anything just to be with the horses. .

When I was there Jim had stopped hacking out as the roads around Gateacre had got so busy ( if he saw them now he wouldn't believe it!) All the horses went unshod but he looked after their feet. He was trained in his youth.

I remember all the horses and ponies names everyone has mentioned.

I remember the absolute thrill the first time he wrote my name next to Allah which meant I was to ride in lead file. I was so proud!

I remember naughty Desmond at the back!
And the stalwart Driver with his creaky army saddle in the middle.
I too ride them all over the years.
.
I remember Joan's pink lipstick marking Kate's nose

I remember how upset they were when they lost Cherokee, the last horse they bred.

I remember helping bagging the chaff up in the loft of the indoor school from his ancient chopping machine - ha! I remember my Dad repairing it for him!
O and bagging the rolled oats from another old machine up there!

I remember sitting in his Landover or the tack room to have our packed lunches whilst his alsation was let out to roam !

All the memories flooding back.

On a Sunday night after the last ride Jim would take a couple of the horses to a field for a break. If we were very lucky my friend and I would go with him to help. I seem to remember Squire would go mostly as he wouldn't wee in his stable ! Monday was the horses day off and often Tuesday too depending on how many clients they had .. giving the horses a break meant they were fresher and happier.
Jim and Joan would take an occasional break too .. they'd take their caravan to The Lake District.

I have many photos from that time .. I look back and smile. It was an oasis of a place in a suburb of Liverpool.

I was so sad when I lost touch with them through me moving around.

It was Jim's grounding which nurtured my love of horses. I went on to train and work with horses, have my own horses and compete. I still have my own horse now and compete a little even though I do have double hip replacements!

I'd love to hear from anyone from that era!

Thankyou for reminding me of happy times :)
 

Madamspook

New Member
Jul 26, 2017
3
1
3
Suffolk
How thrilled was I to find this thread! It made me join the forum just to reply!

I was very very fond of Jim and Joan and stayed in touch a few years after the riding school closed. They visited me in South Wales when I had my own yard but that's another story!

I too ride there for many years in the 1970's and was also one of the many Saturday/ Sunday girls mucking out tacking up grooming in fact doing anything just to be with the horses. .

When I was there Jim had stopped hacking out as the roads around Gateacre had got so busy ( if he saw them now he wouldn't believe it!) All the horses went unshod but he looked after their feet. He was trained in his youth.

I remember all the horses and ponies names everyone has mentioned.

I remember the absolute thrill the first time he wrote my name next to Allah which meant I was to ride in lead file. I was so proud!

I remember naughty Desmond at the back!
And the stalwart Driver with his creaky army saddle in the middle.
I too ride them all over the years.
.
I remember Joan's pink lipstick marking Kate's nose

I remember how upset they were when they lost Cherokee, the last horse they bred.

I remember helping bagging the chaff up in the loft of the indoor school from his ancient chopping machine - ha! I remember my Dad repairing it for him!
O and bagging the rolled oats from another old machine up there!

I remember sitting in his Landover or the tack room to have our packed lunches whilst his alsation was let out to roam !

All the memories flooding back.

On a Sunday night after the last ride Jim would take a couple of the horses to a field for a break. If we were very lucky my friend and I would go with him to help. I seem to remember Squire would go mostly as he wouldn't wee in his stable ! Monday was the horses day off and often Tuesday too depending on how many clients they had .. giving the horses a break meant they were fresher and happier.
Jim and Joan would take an occasional break too .. they'd take their caravan to The Lake District.

I have many photos from that time .. I look back and smile. It was an oasis of a place in a suburb of Liverpool.

I was so sad when I lost touch with them through me moving around.

It was Jim's grounding which nurtured my love of horses. I went on to train and work with horses, have my own horses and compete. I still have my own horse now and compete a little even though I do have double hip replacements!

I'd love to hear from anyone from that era!

Thankyou for reminding me of happy times :)
 

Alison

New Member
Nov 8, 2015
3
4
3
56
I remember Gateacre Riding school very well. I rode there in the 1970s. My sister also rode a few times when she went with friends from Holly Lodge. I also used to work there as a teenager mucking out etc on Saturdays and Sunday's. Marg was the main groom I remember. Jim was a real character he used to say that he used to shoe the horses himself. Although by the time I rode there none of them.were shod. The ponies I remember were Dawn, Kate Driver Romany Merry, Pippin, Squire, Jingles, Cherokee who used to squash you against the stable wall, Badger, Jorrocks, Allah, Simon, Desmond -great fun to ride, a Roan mare - can't remember her name, Toby, Oliver, I have pictures of Desmond with Graham my friends Barbara's brother , as well as one of Simon and Allah. The horses were well looked after if anything a bit too overweight. Jim did have them all PTS when he and Joan retired. Although it seemed harsh I can understand he did nt want them passed from hand to hand.

Happy memories and it was my intro to riding, I stopped for a few years, started again and have been a horse owner up until recently and still riding now. Gateacre's philosophy was a bit 'get on and go ' but I loved it especially as someone has mentioned on here Jim's book and the anticipation of what horse you were to ride.

I have a photo of you with Barbara and Graham Thompson - I think it's in the loft but if I find it I'll post it on here x
 

missoula20

New Member
Mar 9, 2015
4
2
3
69
I remember Gateacre Riding school very well. I rode there in the 1970s. My sister also rode a few times when she went with friends from Holly Lodge. I also used to work there as a teenager mucking out etc on Saturdays and Sunday's. Marg was the main groom I remember. Jim was a real character he used to say that he used to shoe the horses himself. Although by the time I rode there none of them.were shod. The ponies I remember were Dawn, Kate Driver Romany Merry, Pippin, Squire, Jingles, Cherokee who used to squash you against the stable wall, Badger, Jorrocks, Allah, Simon, Desmond -great fun to ride, a Roan mare - can't remember her name, Toby, Oliver, I have pictures of Desmond with Graham my friends Barbara's brother , as well as one of Simon and Allah. The horses were well looked after if anything a bit too overweight. Jim did have them all PTS when he and Joan retired. Although it seemed harsh I can understand he did nt want them passed from hand to hand.

Happy memories and it was my intro to riding, I stopped for a few years, started again and have been a horse owner up until recently and still riding now. Gateacre's philosophy was a bit 'get on and go ' but I loved it especially as someone has mentioned on here Jim's book and the anticipation of what horse you were to ride.
There were 2 roan mares Dorothy - Gale and Storm. I think they were sisters. Cherokee was Storm's son.
 

Helenfrose

New Member
May 8, 2020
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0
1
Hi Many of us must know each other as we where riding at
Gateacre Riding School in the mid to late 60s. Such riding
Schools gave horse mad children like me the
opportunity to ride as owning a pony was out of reach
financially. I was lucky enough to own my own horse
as an adult and still have horses and ride
Helen
 

linmaisun

New Member
Jun 22, 2021
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0
1
I think I may be getting mixed up. I've just remembered the riding school was called Childwall Abbey Riding school. Owned by Sheila Lavery. If it is not the same riding school then it is very close by. I just google mapped the area. Difficult to find where it was as so much has changed. Down Priory Road I think. I'm sorry if I've got it wrong!
I used to go riding at Childwall Riding School in the mid 1970s It was owned by Sheila Lavery. She would let you have a lesson in return for mucking out on a Saturday. It was next door to the Childwall Abbey Pub right at the bottom of Childwall Abbey Road. I remember riding Tango - she was my favourite pony.
 

Minny

New Member
Jul 4, 2021
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3
Hi

Ive just joined this forum because I was looking back at when I used to go riding years ago and thought I would google Gateacre Riding School to see if i could find any old pics (other than the ones I had myself) on the internet and it led me to this post...

It was back in the seventies when I used to take two buses to get to Gateacre Riding School on Grange Lane, I would live for every Sunday just to ride there. I lived in Anfield at the time, and I was of much amusement to the people on the bus as I boarded in my riding attire! Back in those days (and probably even more so nowadays) it just wasnt the "done thing" and so I generated a lot of interest being in the city!

Other than Driver a big black Fell who was usually my main ride and my "first love", I remember Ala, Hamish, Merrylegs, Misty, Horrocks to name a few (surprising myself at this remarkable memory bearing in mind I cant usually remember something from the middle of last week!) We used to ride outdoors in the arena when the weather was good, trotting, cantering in a circle and each of us taking a turn in middle, simple things...there was also the indoor "arena" a cold stone building which was used in bad weather. I remember Irene who always led the class on Ala, she was a lot older than me and always reminded me of June Allinson (really showing my age now!) It wasnt a riding school for jumping just a place where you could indulge your love of horses...Jim was a bruiser of a man ruddy faced always in an oversized jumper with wellington boots and he carried a walking stick, I dont remember him ever using it in a harsh way just as a nudge to those horses who would have rather preferred to be snug and blanketed up in their stable. His lovely wife Joan was a slip of a woman but she was so lovely and friendly.

I also rode at Childwall Riding School but wasnt too fussed on that establishment. This riding school was on Childwall Priory Road just almost behind the pub. Owned and run by Sheila Lavery who i think went on to run Maypole Riding School?

After Gateacre closed, I also went to Tarbock Riding School and rode Saxon.

Ive attached a pic of myself on Horrocks and one of Driver whom i still have the hairs of his tail taken just before he was pts...At the time i never understood why Jim chose to have the horses put to sleep...but in this society today where animal cruelty is beyond belief, yes, I understand now...

View attachment 75283 View attachment 75284
 

Minny

New Member
Jul 4, 2021
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3
Hello, I’ve just found this site. I gave up riding about 10 years ago, I also rode at Gateacre Riding School. I was at Jim Blundells quite a few years before you. I also rode Driver and Romany and a few other horses that I can’t remember their names. There was Dawn, my friend rode her. I remember Allah, or Ala and Joan used to ride him. (beautiful horse)
I was about 7/8 when I started riding there, before that I used to ride on my parents friends pony. That’s where my love of horses began. I continued riding until I married and then afterwards I started a riding club with another teacher at the school where I worked.
I was very sad to read that Jim put his horses to sleep when he gave up the school. My mother cut out the newspaper clipping and sent it to me.
I loved Driver, he was a big softie, when I was mounting him he used to sometimes turn round and nip me on the bottom ( playfully, not with any malice!)
They were happy days, used to ride through Woolton Woods and up by the fields there we used to do a big circuit...all built on now, but in those days we lived very close to open countryside. it’s nice to read about others who enjoyed riding there as children.
All the best. J
 
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