A BRIEF HISTORY by Estelle Bertram (founding member)
In 1983 a group of riders at Sherbrooke Equestrian Center got together to discuss forming an Adult Riding Club. David Turnbull, a former newsreader on television (at time of writing a Channel 9 reporter in Canberra), originally brought up this idea. The club could be affiliated with a new association known as Horse Riding Clubs Association of Victoria (HRCAV), which was just forming to promote competition between Adult Riding Clubs.
There were ten original members that gathered at John Lewis’ place in Clematis and began the first meeting of the club. These founding members were:
- David Turnbull
Charles & Di Politz
- The original name of the club was to be the “Tara Lye Riders” after the Lewis’ property, but after some discussion it was decided to call it the Clematis Adult Riding Club after the area from which riders were from.
The club was fortunate to be able to start meetings at the present grounds at Wards Road Reserve in Monbulk courtesy of a friend connected to the Pony Club. After holding rallies there for four years it was decided at a General Meeting to rename the club Monbulk-Clematis Adult Riding Club (MCARC) to incorporate both areas from which riders came from.
It was at the same meeting in 1987 at which the uniform was changed to its present colours. The original uniform colours were maroon with gold trim windcheater, fawn jods, white shirt and maroon tie with a maroon and gold trim saddle blanket. But due to the maroon dyes arriving a different colour each time they were ordered, members were getting very unhappy, especially at competitions. So the present colour scheme of a black jumper and white logo, black or fawn jods, white shirt and black tie with a black and white trim saddle blanket were adopted. In 1991 a Cross Country Polo shirt was introduced, which was white with a black stripe on the collar. It has a marvellous logo designed by one of the club members, Carol Bertuch, printed on the back and the sleeve. This logo is also used on our letterhead now.
For the first three years the HRCAV held State Championships at Werribee Park, which were attended by many of the MCARC members. A great time was had staying in on-site caravans, with the horse accommodated in outside stalls. A grand parade of every club represented was held. Two members of each club would parade with their club banner – a very colourful sight.
From these humble beginnings our membership has grown to our present riding membership of between 25 to 30 riders, with a few more social members. Three of the founding members are currently still members of the club, these being Di Politz, Mary Jenkins and Estelle Bertram.
Even with our small size, the Club has established itself as very competitive, with many riders being very successful over the years. We run a yearly Showjumping competition, which in the past has been very popular. We have also held Navigation rides and Dressage competitions, have hosted two Top Team Navigation Rides and also co-hosted a Top Team Horse Trials.
The Club grounds have also improved over the years. From the humble converted tin garage clubroom, in 2004 a new and much larger colour bond Clubroom / Education Center has been built. The three clubs that use the grounds and a Government grant paid this for. There are now four all weather arenas of various sizes. There are also a fair amount of showjumps, which has been bought mostly by MCARC over the years of running its Showjumping Days.
One of the main aspects of this club is the friendly atmosphere, which is a credit to its members. At the monthly rallies, apart from enjoying two lessons being taught by good instructors, there is a great social aspect to the day, with members watching the lessons and having a chat on the sidelines. This aspect has progressed to the point where there is now a Coffee machine, which is enjoyed greatly by those who “do” coffee.