My name is Abby Burford and I am Commandant of Number 3 Squadron (Sunday mornings). I started Horse Rangers in 1985 when I was 7 years old, nearly 30 years ago!
We meet at the very sleepy time of 8am each Sunday. Our Officers and Instructors take it in turn to unlock the stables at 7am to feed and hay our horses and ponies, so that they have enough time to get ready for the day.
Most of our 100 members arrive before 8am to groom and tack-up the horses and ponies. Some manage to make themselves very dirty over the course of the night and need quite a lot of brushing. Most of our Rangers manage to make themselves very dirty too before first parade!
Our first parade is at 8.30am when we sign-in, our ride and stables are allocated and we prepare for the morning ahead. Our four Companies: A, B, C and D are grouped in pairs with A&D riding and mucking-out together and B&C doing the same. We are not quite sure why the groups are put together like this, it is just something that has always been done!
Our ride leaves the Mews at 9am to go to the park and those not riding over are escorted to the Stockyard where our horses and ponies go on holiday every third week. The riders help get the fields and shelters cleaned while the horses are exercised. When horses and ponies meet at the Stockyard we will then ride out into Bushy Park for the rest of the morning with the remaining riders and we utilise our wonderful indoor school each week for lessons.
Riding sessions typically run until midday.
Back at the Mews the mucking-out Companies make sure that everywhere is clean and tidy and that the stables are up to our Head Girl's standards. They look after the horses that are left back at the yard and then do lectures towards their badges.
At 12.30pm when we all re-group, we go on our final parade; where we also present badges, record riding marks and discuss events that are up and coming. Once a month we mark uniforms and we remind ourselves that our uniform is an important part of our heritage.
Our Squadron is very lucky as we have a strong group of Officers and Instructors, including our Head Girl, Theresa and two of her stable staff Georgie and Shanna, who come along to volunteer on Sunday mornings in addition to working here Monday to Friday. All Officers and Instructors in Squadron 3 were once Rangers, so we are all pretty well versed in what to do and how it is done.
As Commandant, I am proud of my spirited and very capable Squadron. They are after all the reason why I and my Officers attend Rangers each week. So I would like to thank them for being great.
I must also thank our lovely horses and ponies on behalf of Squadron 3, without them HRA would not be possible: we adore them all for the unconditional love and loyalty they give.
Hopefully this gives you an insight into what goes on at Horse Rangers on Sunday mornings between 8.00am and 1.00pm.
Sundays 8:30 to 13:00
Captain Abby Burford (I)
Theresa Barrett (CI)
Kate Axelrod (I)
Liz Beanland (I)
Gemma Ractliffe (I)
Georgie Rider (I)
Laura Webbe (I)
Shanna Armstrong (JI)
Laura Ward (JI)