The RAF Coningsby Equitation Club is a small, friendly club that aims to foster and provide training in all things equine and actively encourage all personnel at Coningsby to give horse riding a try.

It is affiliated to the RAF Equitation Association (RAFEA) and takes part in the RAFEA Inter Station League (ISL).

Membership is free to all service personnel, dependants, MOD Employed Civilians and contractors.

Training is held on a regular basis at Castledyke Equestrian Centre at Gypsy Bridge and this year has been focussing on the dressage test and confidence building with regard to the show jumping phase of the ISL.

The equine year started off with entry to the RAF Equitation Association Inter-Station League (ISL) and a mad scrabble to find 5 willing RAF personnel (4 riders and 1 reserve) to make up the RAF Coningsby team.

In the ISL, 4 riders compete against other RAF Saddle Clubs within a geographical area in a riding test and show jumping competition. Each rider completes a riding test where they are required to carry out a series of movements designed to show the judge their ability to influence the horses natural paces and obedience. Once all riders have completed the riding test, they then each jump a course of show jumps where the height of the fences is set at 2’3” – 2’ 6” for the initial rounds with faults awarded for a knock down, refusal or a combination of both.

The initial round was against teams for RAF Cranwell, Waddington and Linton on Ouse.

Due to outstanding riding on the part of FS Saul Vine, Sgt Debbie Leather, Cpl Sian Kiszczuk and SAC(T) Jayde Hunt the team won all of the preliminary rounds in Jun and Jul and had a long wait until the 31st October before finding we had won a place in the final.

The team decided to have a sneaky preview of the horses and the show jumping course on the pretext of supporting those teams that had made it through to the “B” final. Not the best idea when they saw one horse who stood at a massive 18.2hh (6’1” at the base of his neck for those that don’t know horses) and wasn’t an easy ride, this did not foster a feeling of confidence.

The day of the final loomed. One change of rider, 12 dressage tests, 12 rounds of show jumping and 8 horses stood between Coningsby and the trophy.

Lossiemouth and High Wycombe were the opponents and each team was suffering an onset of nerves.

With a harder dressage test and show jumps set at 2’9” it was not going to be an easy thing to achieve a decent score.

Competition over, the riders retired to the club room for lunch and to nervously await the results. All 3 teams had enjoyed the morning and were laughing and smiling.

At last the wait was over and the results were announced.


3rd RAF Lossiemouth

2nd RAF High Wycombe

1st and RAFEA ISL Champions RAF Coningsby


Individual placings of: 1st and individual Champion Sgt Vinnie Potts, 4th SAC(T) Jayde Hunt

For the first time in 30 years, Coningsby were crowned
ISL Champions.

For anyone that thinks horse riding is easy they should give it a go. It’s great fun, a challenge and not as easy as it looks.  Roll on 2013 and the next
ISL competition.


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