Essex Bridleways Association Update Autumn 2018

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Essex Bridleways Association



Update Autumn 2018

Inside this issue... • • • • • •

Latest EBA News AGM & dates for your diary Celebrating our volunteers Children’s page BDO report Historic Research Published by Essex Bridleways Association Charity number: 801530


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EBA News New Projects & Funding Officer Agriculture Bill – have your say Bridleways Development report Fun in the sun Historic Research report Children welcome AGM & dates for your diary Celebrating our volunteers The face behind the lens Join us – membership details Contact us


Misty Middlewick Ride ©Helen Mathias/EyeContact Photography

Helen Mathias Call: 07958 962024 eyecontactphoto

EBA is a member of: • Affiliate member of BHS • Open Spaces Society • Hundred Parishes Society • National Federation of Bridleway Associations

EBA also has regular contact with Hatfield Forest Riders Association and Epping Forest Riders Association.


By Katie Jerram-Hunnable, EBA Patron

Another summer has now passed and what an amazing summer it has been. Although the heat and hard ground caused problems for show organisers, the sunny weather was perfect for the many riders who just want to get out and relax in the countryside on their horses and ponies. Back in 2016, EBA ran an online survey for our area which highlighted just how many of us ride for pleasure, with 84% of the 1,046 respondents saying that they ride for fun. Unfortunately, more than 55% of people said that off-road access in their area was poor or very poor, and 47% have to ride regularly on busy main roads. 98% said they would like to see Government do more to consider the needs of equestrians, so please help EBA by lobbying councillors and your MP to ensure that horse owners are not overlooked when it comes to the creation of new multiuser paths – after all, cyclists and pedestrians are allowed to use bridleways, so why can’t riders share new offroad routes too?


The Chair A note from

By Julia Wilson, EBA Chair


ell who would have thought that one of the wettest winters in history would be followed by a drought and the hottest summer experienced for many years. Despite that, EBA managed to hold a ride a month offering a variety of terrain and some stunning countryside. We had to tailor the rides to suit the ground conditions and weather where necessary, reducing the length and making sure we had water stops. We

want to ensure that our riders can still enjoy a ride in a different location while being mindful of their horse’s health and wellbeing. Judging from the many positive comments I feel sure this has been appreciated. You will see later in the Update a contribution from some of our younger members. EBA is keen to engage with children, encouraging them to become members and join our rides. After all, they are our future and it is for their benefit that we are fighting for safe offroad access. We have tried to include a few lead rein rides this year but it can be more difficult than you might think. However, we will endeavour to

include one or two in 2019. We are currently planning next year’s rides schedule and constantly looking for new routes. If anyone out there thinks they know a route that we could consider then please let us know. It would need a host with ample parking and good offroad access of around 10 miles. EBA counts on the income from these rides to fund the valuable work carried out by Sue, Chris and Mary. You will read further on what they have been up to but suffice to say that, although their 3 roles are very different, their work is really starting to make an impact on rider access in Essex. Some benefits we may not see for several years but projects and planning need to be secured now for the future. I hope to see many of you at the AGM where we have plenty planned for an entertaining evening. It is a great opportunity to catch up with you all over a cuppa and cake! That just leaves me to wish you all happy hacking, stay safe and enjoy!



It’s our birthday! EBA News

(well, nearly)


2019 sees EBA celebrate its 40th anniversary and we would love to hear your memories and see relevant photographs from the past 40 years of riding in Essex. Contact the Update editor if you have anything that you would like to share, or perhaps you could tell us how much life has changed for riders in the county over the decades.

Don’t ignore it – report it By Louise Fuller, EBA Treasurer Here at EBA we are always telling riders to report problems they find on their Rights of Way and not just leave it for someone else to do. I recently had a graphic illustration of how important this is, whilst at a meeting with Essex County Council PRoW officers. I was speaking of some problems on a route about which EBA had received a number of complaints, and hoping to progress some action. The officers immediately looked up the site on their system, and said “Well we haven’t had any reports of that so it can’t be that bad.” So, how can they do anything to improve the situation when they don’t know about it? It’s up to YOU to report it. The easiest way is probably to do it online. Go to EBA’s website, “Bridleways in Essex” page, look in the panel on the right-hand side, and follow the link. There is also a link to a document which will help you in making your report.

Southway Claim – finishing touch EBA Vice Chair, Jan Arthur, commemorates victory in the Southway Bridleway Claim at Langdon Hills* by removing the old ‘No Horse Riding’ signs and putting up one of EBA’s new plaques. *Full story appeared in EBA’s 2016 Autumn Update



arlier this year, the EBA Committee took the decision to appoint someone to oversee EBA RoW projects and also look for funding opportunities that could help in our work for Better Bridleways for Essex. The successful applicant was Mary Pengelly, who has certainly

hit the ground running. She told us a little bit about her work for EBA... Part of my role is to project manage issues. These are things such as surfacing and drainage problems, signage, routes being closed or blocked and investigating potential new routes. This requires liaising with

Data Protection -

EBA’s Privacy Notice


n the late spring everyone would have been overwhelmed with companies asking for your consent to contact you, telling you how important your privacy was to them, and giving you pages and pages of small print about their privacy policy. Of course, as part of the same process, EBA had to make sure that it had suitable measures in place to protect personal data. The following Privacy Notice was adopted; it is short and to the point and covers all necessary areas. If you would like more information about how EBA deals with personal information please email the Secretary, whose contact details are on the back cover. 1. EBA holds members’ personal information for the contractual purpose of processing your membership and ride entries and sending you the Update magazine, and for the legitimate interest of yourself and EBA by sending you other relevant and appropriate information. Contact may be made by post or email or occasionally by phone or text, the latter usually in connection with a ride entry. 2. You can choose not to give your phone number or email address, or you can ask us to remove them from our database, but this will mean you will not receive notice of forthcoming rides or other events, and if you enter a ride, you will not receive a start sheet. If we do not have your phone number, we will not be able to contact you in case of, for instance, last minute changes to a ride or event. 3. The personal information of non-members collected for the purposes of ride entry is processed in the same way as that of members. 4. If you have provided the personal information of someone else, it is assumed you have that person’s permission and you take responsibility for the provision of that information. 5. EBA does not share its membership information with other organisations.

landowners, ECC PRoW teams, Essex Country Parks’ staff and contractors. So far I have ensured that two problem areas in Epping Forest were sorted out (in time for the Epping Summer ride), resolved some signage issues in Great Notley Country Park, liaised with staff at Thorndon Country Park to fix a gate, and been out and about looking at lots of places with drainage, surface or safety issues, which will need to be prioritised and funded. The other part of my role is to identify sources of funding for EBA projects. This could be anything from “Give as you Buy” schemes such as Amazon Smile, to applying for grants for specific projects. If you have any issues with bridleways in your local area that I might be able to assist with please get in touch and, if you have any suggestions for grants or funding opportunities, I’d love to hear them. My contact details can be found on the back page of this Update.


EBA News

Helping hands The Friends of the Flitch P3 Group, headed by Peter Lane, kindly carried out some clearance work in Black Notley for EBA. The Byway by Batemans Farm had become very overgrown and this, coupled with some deep ruts, was making it difficult to negotiate on horseback. With the help of Pete and his team the Byway has been made a bit safer for everyone to use and we are very grateful for all their good work.

Chelmer Bridge Rotary Club has once again made a generous donation to EBA funds following their annual ride. The massive £750 contribution was extremely gratefully received and this money will go a long way towards supporting our continuous work to improve off-road riding for Essex equestrians.

Agriculture Bill – a chance for change By Sue Dobson, EBA Bridleways Development Officer We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to push for increased access to farmland as part of the negotiations for the new Agriculture Bill being drawn up by Government in preparation for the UK’s departure from the European Union. EBA has been working closely with the BHS on this and we really need you to help by writing to MPs to raise the issue of the need to increase access to ALL user groups, especially equestrians.

It’s easy to play your part 1. Visit the EBA website - - and go to the campaign page where you will find a template letter. 2. Copy the letter, click on the link for “” and input your postcode. 3. Click on your MP’s name and paste the letter (or compose your own) on the resulting page then follow the instructions. The more people that write, the better awareness our MPs will have when the Bill is drawn up. EBA has already responded, as have both Essex and Thurrock Local Access Forums, who sent letters to all Essex and Thurrock MPs asking for their support. Natural England recommends we keep up the pressure, so taking a minute to send your MP an email is vitally important and could bring about massive change for generations of equestrians to come.

Photo: Carol Allison Equestrian PR


Thank you

EBA BDO Report


have been kept busy this year due to the enormous amount of planned development within Essex and it has been quite time-consuming to keep abreast of everything that is going on. Whilst the large infrastructure projects are still chugging along, for example the Lower Thames Crossing in Thurrock, and the proposed upgrade to the A120 between Braintree and Marks Tey (where the preferred route D has now been announced). Local Plans are moving forward for various planning authorities in Essex and these are often hefty tomes of 300+ pages, so a lot of work is required to go through them and pick out the areas on which we need to comment. Dismay over ECC planning U-turn As roads become busier with all the new development that is planned, and without new offroad access being made available, horse riders are becoming ever more vulnerable. It’s not often that I feel compelled to paint a bleak picture, as optimism is a necessary characteristic for this job(!) but EBA is most concerned about Essex County Council’s stance relating to further access for horse riders following the determination of a recent planning application in Hullbridge. In short, the

By Sue Dobson, Bridleways Development Officer

development of around 500 houses was approved with the condition that a Bridleway within that estate was provided (a requirement which was also written into Rochford’s Local Plan), but the Bridleway was removed due to objections from Essex County Council as they felt it was inappropriate on safety grounds and it would conflict with their policy not to create any new Bridleways within urban or suburban areas. They also cited funding constraints and that the Bridleway would not connect up with the rest of the network. In this particular instance our opinion is that ECC’s stance is totally unwarranted – if the main safety objection was that they did not want horses using the estate as a cut through (which was stated at the Committee hearing) it beggars belief that they think it will be safer if horses use the busy roads around the estate! As for the connectivity of the network, we feel that being 500m away from another Bridleway and 1.2km away from a Byway at the other end of the estate actually does enhance the network. And the issue of funding? Well the Bridleway would have been fully funded, both creation and maintenance, by a contribution from the developer. From the policy perspective, we feel that where a

large horse population is adjacent to a proposed development, as is the case here, the creation policy should have been considered on a case-by-case basis. ECC’s crowning glory is to support a joint Footpath and Cycleway instead. There were so many things in favour of Bridleway provision here – it would be paid for, it would get horses off the busy roads, and it concords with the Local Plan which, incidentally, ECC did NOT actually object to - so it can only be deduced that they have absolutely no interest in horse riders at all. So what can be done? At the time of writing, the EBA Committee is considering further options in conjunction with the BHS, and we are seeking advice as to how to proceed at this stage. To add to our frustration, other authorities – Cambridge, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Thurrock and Suffolk - ALL have policies that any new off-road route created is full multiuser open to all, including equestrians, and yet Essex County Council remain positively discriminatory against horse riders. That HAS to change and EBA, along with the BHS, is fully committed to pursuing such change to ECC’s outdated and totally unfair policies towards equestrian access.


Fun in the 8

sun Š Helen Mathias/EyeContact Photography

EBA Trustees Needed We are always looking for new trustees/committee members to join the team. We need volunteers who feel they can spare some time to contribute to the work of EBA, from organising rides, assisting with campaigns and promoting the work of the Association. No experience is necessary, just bring along your ideas and positive thinking. Willing volunteers would need to attend monthly Committee meetings, have endless energy and a good sense of humour. Email: for more information.

Historic Research Report


istoric research can be both disappointing and very rewarding. A bit like waiting for a bus – you beaver away for ages, apparently without success, and then three claims come along together. When this happens, it helps make up for the disappointment when a potential route is closed due to lack of evidence, or evidence that negates any claim. Research has been focused on the potential routes that we have marked up on the Essex OS Explorer Maps and requests for research on specific routes, from members and nonmembers, has dropped off considerably – does this mean everyone is happy that where they ride is secure? If you’re not confident then check the Definitive Map on the ECC website. EBA receives notification of proposed Footpath/Bridleway diversions and extinguishments from ECC and, whilst these are mainly dealt with by EBA’s hardworking Area Reps, I also receive copies of some routes. Whilst completing some research on a proposed Bridleway diversion in Birch (in itself fairly innocuous) I noticed some lanes that do not appear on recent maps. Further research has resulted in three, possibly four, claims being prepared for submission to ECC Legal. In this issue EBA’s Bridleways Development Officer, Sue Dobson, reports on the proposed development at Malyons Farm, Hullbridge and

By Chris Tout, EBA Historic Research Officer

the decision to remove a Bridleway from the previously approved plans – partly on the grounds of connectivity with the rest of the PRoW network (full report on page 7). This argument is one that we hear more and more frequently. Where historic evidence exists for a route that does not link with any other Right of Way, claims will be submitted on the basis that links may be possible in the future. It’s important that we get Bridleways/Restricted Byways on the Definitive Map. Claims Update Cut-backs within ECC are having an effect on our work, with longer timescales before claims submitted are reviewed and decisions made - but at least claims are lodged. At the time of writing we are awaiting decisions on seven claims.

Colchester District The Definitive Map Modification for Bridleways 11 Chappel and 64 Great Tey, and Restricted Byway 28, has yet to be confirmed. The matter was referred to the Secretary of State with the Inspector ruling that Sears Lane was a Footpath not a Bridleway, to which both EBA and the BHS objected. New evidence was submitted supporting our case and was successful; the new decision being not for a Bridleway but a Restricted Byway. Objections to the new ruling had to be received by end of February and we have been told by the Planning Inspectorate that no valid objections were received. However six months on we still await the Order. If you have a route that you would like researched please get in touch:


CHILDREN Meet... Eliza & Mathilda Cowell

They tell us just how much they love riding their ponies on EBA rides...


‘I love the long rides as being outside is one of my favourite things to do with my pony Molly. I sing songs and count butterflies and take a bag of sweets to eat and I can be with my Mummy too. Sometimes we take the dogs, Trilby and Luna.’ - Eliza (age 4)

Eliza’s drawing of Molly

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DATES FOR YOUR DIARY... 8 November Thursday 8th

Essex Bridleways Association AGM

Our annual general meeting is a great opportunity to meet the EBA Committee, Trustees, Area Representatives and Researchers and to find out more about our work, as well as giving you the chance to discuss any Rights of Way issues you might have. After the formalities we will welcome Julie Springett, Fire & Rescue Fire Prevention Officer & BHS Herts Chair.

What a treat!

The lovely folk at Talisker Bay have donated 70 packs of Stud Muffins to hand out at the AGM. First come, first served. Each pack contains 3 of the tasty treats and is worth ÂŁ1.20.

Raffle prizes kindly donated by...


Sunday 7th October

Danbury Ride

This popular ride consists of 12 miles of tracks, bridleways and some minor roads with a shorter option available. We will also be able to use the cross country course at Riffhams (optional).

Saturday 1st December Epping Forest Ride This is our members-only Christmas ride on surfaced tracks in Epping Forest with Xmas fancy dress, mulled wine and mince pies.

3rd-6th May 2019

Thetford Forest Holiday (members only)

Details of all EBA rides are available on the website:

Great gift idea Why not treat a friend to EBA membership? At just ÂŁ15 for a year, it is the ideal present for the horse rider who has everything and they will benefit from discounts on EBA rides and more, so it really is the gift that keeps on giving.

Essex Bridleways Association

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING Thursday 8th November 2018 Keene Hall, Galleywood, Nr Chelmsford, Essex CM2 8PT Doors open 7pm for a 7.30pm start Agenda: Arrive, get yourself a free cuppa, buy a raffle ticket, have a chat, grab a seat

7.30pm Apologies for absence Approval of 2017 minutes Matters Arising Chair’s Report Treasurer’s Report & Appointment of independent examiner of a/cs for 2019 Appointment of Trustees (nomination forms available from or via the news page at Other matters at the discretion of the Chair Note: Only members aged 18 and over may vote at the AGM

8.00pm Short break

8.10pm: Julie Springett, Fire and Rescue Fire Prevention Officer and BHS Herts Chair

FIRE, be safe not sorry! The talk will cover the reality of how devastating fire can be to your equestrian life, whether it might be your stables, or your horse transport catching fire whilst travelling. The talk will cover realistic and easy steps you can take to prevent fire and also what to do in an emergency. Julie explained: “We all go through life thinking ‘it won’t happen to me’ but what if it does? Sadly, stable fires are on the increase and, scarily, 49% of rural fires last year were set deliberately. Would you know how to save your horses? Are your horses protected from arsonists? I will talk the audience through all they need to know.”

9.00pm Raffle winning numbers announced and a chance to meet your Area Reps, mingle and chat to the Committee and other EBA members

9.45pm Close


We love our...



In this issue we profile just a few of the many volunteers that make up EBA. Read on to find out why they give up their spare time and perhaps you will be inspired to do the same.


Joy Thorpe EBA Harlow Area Rep

Louise Fuller EBA Treasurer


have loved horses all my life but only learned to ride when, at aged 17, I got a car and a job. I bought my first horse at aged 20 and have not been without one since. I passed my love of horses onto my daughter and we have been fortunate enough to enjoy years of happy riding and exploring the countryside together. After 20 years of loyal service, my 17.2hh Warmblood, Moose, is now enjoying a wellearned retirement at aged 28. My daughter’s pony, Barney, the youngster of the herd at 23, has by default and much to his dismay become the ‘family mount’, with my daughter and I

taking turns to ride. I first heard of the EBA about 7 years ago through a friend at a yard and was blown away by the amount of opportunities they offered to Essex horse riders and the kindness of the volunteers. Through the EBA my daughter and I made new friends and discovered new ways of enjoying our horses, such as taking them to the beach for the first time – where to park and how to responsibly ride so as not to upset residents. When I was approached about carrying out the role of Harlow Area Rep it felt right to give something back to such an inspirational organisation.



aving ridden as a child and returned to it in my mid-fifties, I joined EBA and began doing some of the rides. I went on a training session about Rights of Way and to some AGMs, and also began helping with marking some rides, but my work situation prevented me from getting more involved. I enjoyed all these activities and thought all the people I met were a lovely bunch. Then things changed a bit and I had some more free time. A long-standing friend was then the Chelmsford Area Rep; she wanted to give the post up and asked if I would like to take it on. I did this, and went Continued over page



to some committee meetings and more training. The more I worked with the EBA people, the more I liked them. In 2010 I saw an appeal for a Treasurer for EBA as the current one was standing down at the AGM; as I have worked with figures quite a lot I thought “I could do that”. I offered my services somewhat diffidently as I wasn’t sure I would be acceptable but no-one else came forward and I was duly appointed. EBA has evolved a lot since then and the job with it. As well as being Treasurer, I help with quite a lot of rides – I still do marking, and Berwick Farm and Highwood are “my” rides – to give Lesley Gillman, our hard-working Rides Organiser, a break, I do much of the organising and sorting out. The people I have met through EBA are now more than just colleagues – they have become friends, and we have a great time whenever we get together. Thanks EBA for your friendship and all the hard work you do.

Michelle Woodall EBA Braintree Area Rep


an, my horse is on loan to a good friend and I love watching them compete at Jump X, showjumping and dressage. I decided to volunteer with EBA as I am very aware of the dangers of riding on the roads, and the pleasure of riding safely off-road. The Association is a hardworking group of volunteers who recognise this too.

Denise Dillon EBA Rides Entry Secretary

I started volunteering with EBA after asking Lesley Gillman if she'd had many replies to an advert in the 2012 Spring Update asking for someone to take over the job of checking ride entries. She laughed and said no-one else had replied, so I got the job and I’ve been doing it ever since. I became an EBA Trustee at the November AGM of that year.

© R. Poulton

Continued from previous page


Sally Crone EBA Trustee/Committee Member

Having only ridden in Epping Forest previously I was amazed at the variety of hacking we have in Essex and I have EBA to thank in opening my eyes to the opportunities for off-road riding. I have also had the chance to go on the EBA holidays to Thetford Forest and to Holkham Beach both of which were fantastic and memorable experiences. I also have Lesley to another meet, this time at thank (I think) for asking Weald Country Park which was whether I would be interested also really enjoyable. in joining the EBA Committee. I Lesley has also been can honestly say that it has instrumental in putting me in been a pleasure to get involved touch with other like-minded with such a committed bunch members and before long I had of people and really feel like gained a number of hacking you are helping to make a ‘buddies’ and made some new difference to horse riders in friends in the process. I took Essex with all the campaigning the plunge and entered my first and lobbying. You learn EBA ride and from there my something new and get the horse quickly gained chance to utilise existing skills, confidence, as did I, and since also developing new ones, then we have never looked always in a supportive back. I now have a horse which atmosphere. It’s very rewarding is a pleasure to ride either alone and I feel like I am putting or in company, plus hacking something back into the helps her flat work and organisation which has added improves fitness for both of us. so much to my riding life. Photography

y decision to join Essex Bridleways has been so influential in my return to riding after a break of some years that I am happily writing this in the hopes that it will encourage others to join and get involved. About four years ago, finding myself with a young green horse (inclined to be nappy and insecure if ridden alone) and with noone to regularly hack with, someone mentioned the EBA Ride and Share scheme. I had a look at the EBA website and liked the look of it so took out annual membership. I was a little daunted about doing one of the organised Pleasure Rides immediately so I made contact with Lesley Gillman, Committee Member and Ride and Share host for Little Canfield/Little Easton. The Ride and Share scheme gives members a chance to meet up with someone who knows an area and is happy to arrange a guided hack. This seemed like a good place to start. Lesley was friendly and encouraging but it was with some trepidation that I turned up at her house for my first ride and share. It turned out that Lesley’s Spanish horse, Dalgo, was very similar to my mare and they were like two peas in a pod! The ride went well and so we organised

© Helen Mathia s/EyeContact




Alison Power Caroline Bailey

EBA Castle Point Area Rep

phy tact Photogra thias/EyeCon © Helen Ma

EBA Maldon Area Rep



’m not sure how long I’ve been a member of EBA - I have a renewal letter from 2013 but it could have been earlier. I live in Thundersley and have been riding in and around the area for 40 years so have a pretty good knowledge of all the local places to ride. I have seen many routes lost over the years as concrete has taken the place of grass, and many tracks have been blocked or become impassable. I joined EBA because I care deeply about preserving our access

to Bridleways and offroad riding, plus I always wanted to go on the organised rides. I wasn’t able to realise that dream until this year, and I’ve now done two Hatfield and Epping Forest. Regarding how I became the Castle Point Rep: I got a call late one Sunday afternoon. I don’t usually answer calls from unknown numbers but that day I did and it was Alison Craigmile (EBA Membership Secretary). She just got me on a good day, I’ve always been interested in doing

more but as I work full time I didn’t think that I would be able to. She explained that nearly everyone was a volunteer and also worked full time and she was so bubbly and persuasive that I found myself agreeing! I’ve been to a committee meeting and thoroughly enjoyed it and hope to attend more. Everyone has been so friendly and welcoming. I also drag my other half out on a regular basis with his power tools to clear fallen trees and overgrown paths, so I feel I’m doing my bit.


first became aware of EBA in my late teens - galloping round the countryside on any horse I could beg, borrow or steal was my idea of fun and EBA rides were always noted to be the best, well organised rides in the area so I became a member. I had my own horse back then and entered as many rides as I could with my lovely Charlie: the coloured one for those who can remember. I decided to help when I noticed that the Maldon area had been without a rep for quite a while, with no-one putting themselves forward; it was my first voluntary role. Being a farmer’s wife and having ridden most Bridleways and routes in the area, I thought I could really support


Geoff Box EBA Rochford & Southend Area Rep


became aware of EBA about 11 or 12 years ago and joined in 2008. In 2001 I went on a riding holiday at a cattle/guest ranch in Canada and after going back several times I ended up buying an American Quarter Horse from them in 2004 - Dyce is 22 now and I manage to ride him a couple of times a week, still in Western tack. When I got a car that would tow a trailer I started to go on as many organised rides as possible and I’ve completed almost 80 charity rides since 2010 – 50 of those have been with EBA. Not only do I benefit from these rides but Dyce does too, with his favourite definitely being Hatfield Forest. Life can be quite demanding at times and I find that getting out riding in the countryside on Dyce helps me enormously: those close to me say that it has made me much more relaxed. Last autumn I took early retirement and was approached by a number of charities. One of those was the EBA and I decided it was time to give something back. I didn’t know what was involved in being an EBA Area Rep and I’m learning as I go. So far it’s been relatively straightforward - I’ve been able to share some of my local knowledge with Sue Dobson and also carried out a site visit regarding a local development where a Right of Way was being moved. I feel confident that I have the support of the EBA team if anything more complex comes along.

© Helen Mathias/EyeContact Photography

EBA with communication and understanding between riders and landowners. I would say that being an area rep can be challenging at times, especially over any landowner disputes, but the support from the Committee is amazing. EBA has some extremely knowledgeable and understanding people and it astounds me: the passion and drive the Committee have - I cannot emphasise enough the vast amount of work that goes into the charity to support the Bridleway network in Essex.


The face behind Many of you will have seen Helen Mathias, AKA EyeContact Photography, with her trusty camera at EBA’s rides. Having kindly been providing this service for quite a few years now, we thought it was high time we discovered more about Helen. How long have you been a professional photographer?


I would say I’m more of a semiprofessional photographer really, as I am a graphic designer for most of my week, but I first started serious equestrian photography in 2012 How did you get into this line of work? I’ve always loved both photography and eventing, so I used to take my camera with me every time I went to an event. One year at Burnham Market I bumped into a guy who took photographs for an equestrian magazine and when I asked how he started, he suggested that I submit some photos. They liked what I did, and I started by shooting a few events for them it was unpaid but my first shots in print! Things just grew from there. I know you photograph horses, but also wildlife what is your favourite photographic subject? Ooh, that’s a hard one! I have to

admit that wildlife photography is my passion and I’ve had a few fantastic encounters. I think bears have to be one of my absolute favourites as it is quite breathtaking every time I see one in the wild. Closer to home, it has to be the kingfisher. Aside from being stunning, capturing a blue ‘bullet’ the size of a sparrow presents quite a challenge! The most magical moment of your career? ‘Magical’ would probably be a wildlife encounter, but most ‘amazing’ was when Prince William, Kate and their children attended Houghton Horse Trials one year, and I was the ONLY person to get shots of them sitting having a picnic by the water jump. There were eight pictures, and the Palace approved them for publication. They were bought by all the UK newspapers and by magazines worldwide. I was published in everything from The Daily Mirror to Hello!

magazine. In just three months, I made a year and a half’s salary from those pictures! How much do you travel? It varies year-to-year, but when I am busy, then I can be off somewhere most weekends (mainly events). When it comes to wildlife, all my holidays are based around what wildlife there is in the country, or may even be a wildlife photography-specific trip… and I like to go away twice a year if I can. What is the proudest moment of your career/the best image you’ve ever captured? Proudest moment - see above re William and Kate pics. Best equestrian image: Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro at the London 2012 Olympics, not the 'best' as far as quality goes, but definitely my favourite as I just loved that partnership and seeing

the lens them at the Olympics was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Best wildlife image: Leopard in Namibia, which came 4th in a National Geographic photographic competition Can you give us one or two top tips for photographing horses? 1. Its all about leg position. A second out and a horse can look very awkward. For dressage, there are certain positions that are favoured… particularly the extended trot. For jumping, then usually go for the shot just after take-off - rear legs off the ground and front legs nicely tucked under. Never the horse horizontal over the jump - we call this the ‘rocking horse’ and it’s a big ‘nono’. 2. It’s always handy to have something to rattle when taking equestrian portraits, to help get the horse’s ears forward. You always want this for a portrait

Going Bitless Looking through Helen Mathias’s wonderful collection of EBA ride photographs on her EyeContact Photography Facebook page, it was interesting to see how many horses were wearing bitless bridles. Here’s a small selection...

(and any other shot really) as it shows the horse is interested. Anything to add? Whatever you choose to do, practice is key. Look at other photographers’ work/magazines to see the preferred equestrian

shots for commercial sales and don’t be afraid to ask questions. I learned a lot from just talking to pro photographers at equestrian events, asking about camera settings etc., before I was ever in the pro areas myself. So get out there... and good luck!


New safety portal launched



By Richard Browning, Director of Nextbase


An Essex rider is campaigning for horse riders to wear hi-viz gear. Sarah Johnson from Canewdon says it was personal experience that prompted her to start the campaign in February 2017: “I was in the car, driving along a narrow lane at dusk and I came across a young rider on a dark horse. She was barely visible and just blended into the background. If hadn’t been going slowly I may not have seen her in time to avoid an accident.” Now Sarah uses Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to promote ‘Glow Means Slow’ the aim being to educate riders in order to protect themselves.

he National Dash Cam Safety Portal has been designed to assist the police in improving the safety of our roads by giving all road users the power to report dangerous driving. Until the launch of the NDCSP, there was no uniform platform allowing road users (motorists, cyclists, horse riders, etc) to submit incidents of dangerous driving caught on camera to the police. Forces up and down the country were all using their own means of accepting and logging video footage, some even asking for content to be burned to CD and sent in via post in extreme cases. But the NDCSP changes all that. Via a fully secure platform, it zones in on the relevant force where a serious driving incident has taken place and allows, through generation of a 'gold standard' witness statement, a member of the public to send footage directly to the police. What's more, it's equally valid for dash cam owners (of any brand) as it is action-camera users or those who happen to capture footage on a mobile phone, since it accepts all kinds of footage, in any format, from any device. So, should a horse rider in Essex witness an incident on the roads that puts other users' lives at risk, there is now a quick, efficient and streamlined means of getting footage of this directly to the Essex Police. Given its potential to make roads safer for all users, the NDCSP has received support from the British Horse Society and BRAKE, the nation’s leading road safety charity. To submit a video, users need only visit

Howletts Hall Livery Yard Full, part and DIY livery / Private off-road hacking / 20 x 40 floodlit manège Schooling and working livery available / 5* bespoke livery for your horse Howletts Hall, Chelmsford Road, Blackmore, Ingatestone CM4 0QA

Tel: Lauren on 07827 737471

Kind supporters of EBA’s Highwood ride.

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write to Alison Craigmile, EBA Membership Secretary, 40 The Chase, Romford, Essex RM1 4BE. Save our resources: Choosing to renew your membership automatically via PayPal or by standing order cuts administration and reduces EBA print and postage costs.

© Helen Mathias/EyeContact Photography

Members’ benefits:

EBA needs your support to fight for safe off-road access for horse riders. Membership costs just £15 a year and is free for under 16s.

How to join:

by cutting down on administration and saves EBA money.

1. Online

2. By post Log on to and on the ‘join us’ page you can find links to join online, renew your subscription or download a membership form. Joining online helps us

Ask our membership secretary to send you a membership form, download from our website or pick one up at our rides. Contact: or

• Up to £5 off EBA rides entry fees. • Priority entry to some EBA events, including EBA holidays. • EBA Update magazine delivered to your door twice a year. • Email notifications of news and events. • Access to EBA’s Ride & Share Scheme. • Help with Bridleways issues and claims. • Up to 10% on new insurance policies from South Essex Insurance Brokers. • 10% discount from John Griffin Trailer Training. • 10% discount from Sean Gooding Horsebox Hire during 2018. • 30% discount on your first BHS membership - join by phone or paper application, state that you are an EBA member and give your membership number to receive your discount. This action cannot be done via online applications.


Essex Bridleways Association Contacts List Chair

Julia Wilson

07795 818856

Vice Chair/Publicity

Jan Arthur

01277 650985


Louise Fuller

01245 421614


Lisa Guy

07792 166591

Membership Secretary

Alison Craigmile

07956 318502

Rides Organiser

Lesley Gillman

07768 103910

Rides Entry Secretary

Denise Dillon

07545 213056

Rides Marshal Coordinator

Sandra Deeran

07958 909319

Ride and Share

Julia Wilson

07795 818856

Historic Records Officer

Mick Brash

01621 740966

Historic Research

Christine Tout

07946 789757

Bridleways Development

Sue Dobson

01245 227083

Projects & Funding

Mary Pengelly

07786 322088

EBA Update Editor

Carol Allison

07803 135275

Website Administrator

Hilary Clifford

01279 792447

Bridleway Clearance Coordinator Brenda Hatch

01277 899541

Press Secretary

Mary Balch

07759 601271


Petra Studholme 07784 024106


Sally Crone

01992 572566

EBA Area Representatives Basildon

Jan Arthur


Michelle Woodall 07809 439383 Mandy French 01371 850215

07813 905022

Brentwood & Havering

Linda Hobbs

Castle Point

Alison Power


Sue Fincham

01245 440795


Cheryl Damen

07876 552662


Epping Forest

Heather Brady 01992 578072 Liz Hollingsworth 07855 329059


Joy Thorpe

07984 410242


Caroline Cowell

07941 471508

Rochford & Southend

Geoff Box


Pat Cooper

01255 880296


Jenny Mann

07909 787881


Sarah Hodgson Sarah Moss

07871 169406 07966 994367

01708 229055

Essex Bridleways Association, PO Box Association 12014, Chelmsford CM1 @EssexBridleways 9UD Essex Bridleways Twitter Essex Bridleways Assoc Twitter @EssexBridleways