MEET THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE IT ALL HAPPEN
JOINT PROPRIETOR AND MAIN INSTRUCTOR MICHELLE CRELLIN
Michelle Crellin (nee Pierce) comes from a very horsey background on both sides of her family. Michelle was born in Australia as a result of her grandfather's family emigrating to the state of Victoria in the 1960s to race their thoroughbreds on the famous Melbourne race track.
On her mothers side of the family she is related to Alan Fazakerley the famous show jumping rider and trainer, and Roger Harvey who has operated a point to point and swimming re habilitation centre to date in Warwickshire. When living in England prior to 1995 she was lucky enough to take part in many days hunting side saddle across the Shires and her Uncle Bill and second cousins are still heavily involved in both the Atherstone and Quorn hunts. Michelle took up side saddle in 1989 and passed her teaching qualifications the following year along with an Honours Degree. She now has accumulated some 23 years experience of teaching both astride and side saddle riders of all abilities in most disciplines.
For many years she competed herself in BSJA Show jumping, BHS eventing (as it was then) and County Showing etc. She was a renouned rider and regular prize winner on her horse known as Fixturebrook, quite often competing side saddle against astride riders just for fun.Today as well as keeping up with a busy teaching schedule she can still be seen mainly on the islands show jumping circuit riding the larger tracks with her new Irish Sports horse known as Badger who's show name is Ballachurry Blue Rock.
INSTRUCTOR ALYSON AND SAM
Formerly our Saturday instructor, Alyson Egan, along with her husband Sam, run their own bridle and saddlery company called Egan Bridlework. So in effect, we have ended up with our own in-house saddlers which is excellent. This means that the condition and fitting of all of our tack is closely monitored and these guys are on hand for alterations and re-stitching stirrup leathers etc whenever necessary. We are very grateful for their combined skills, all helping to ensure everything runs tickety boo.
Michelle has now taken over the teaching on Saturdays again with Alyson available for holiday and sickness cover as she is busy studying for her accountancy exams.
Jayne is back studying at Preston University but here during all the school holidays to lend a hand. Below is a picture of her and her pony Indie being driven at the Royal Manx Show.
SUPERVISORS ANNE AND GILL AND THE JUNIOR HELPERS
During our usual scheduled week day lessons on Monday and Thursday evenings we have Anne and Gill supervising all that is necessary to keep things running smoothly. We also have a growing merry band of junior helpers, who probably spend more time on the yard than they do at home. As things get busier and Summer approaches I wouldn’t be surprised to find they have sneaked their beds into a corner somewhere!
OUR HORSES’ WELFARE
All of the equines kept here at Ballachurry live out and work unshod, living as nature intended. This is apart from being part clipped and rugged as no horse enjoys a saddle being done up on a cold ,wet and muddy back.
As previously mentioned we are lucky enough to have our own in-house saddlery and bridlework company dealing with all things leather that are required for the job.
Also on site are the washing and sewing machines required for all the rug repair and laundry work side of the business but of course these are also in constant use to keep all of the school horses’ rugs in good order.
Jane Callow our local vet is close at hand for annual vaccinations and anything else medical. The stable yard hosts a large variety of looseboxes up to 22ft by 12ft for any unwell animals to recuperate.
Our farrier is John Lace, pictured here with Lilly having her feet trimmed. All of the horses apart from Badger, who is the yards main competitive horse, work unshod. But their feet still need regular trimming as over the weeks of varied use, horn becomes chipped and worn unevenly.
OUR DENTAL TECHNICIAN
This job resides with our local expert Libby Priest who visits regularly to make sure everyone has an annual check up and bit seats in place to keep all happy in their bridles!
Last but not least we must not forget our new addition in the format of a Black Labrador Retriever puppy called Ruby who has given all on the yard an advantage of a longer toilet trip up to the back yard to see her.