Behind the Scenes
The Clifton Horse Society was formed in January 1977, by a small group of horse owners in the Clifton area who felt that their equestrian experiences would be enhanced by the coordination and cohesiveness of a club; a club with a substantial membership to draw upon financially, physically and mentally that would be able to offer educational clinics, put on competitive activities, sponsor deserving individuals or groups needing money to increase their abilities or services, have trail rides, encourage the development of a trail system, work with landowners and county and park officials to promote good relations between riders and those whose goodwill is essential to riders, and generally have a great time enjoying their horses and each other.
The original group wrote up a prospectus and stuffed it in mailboxes all over the Clifton area, and then reserved the Clifton Fire Hall for a meeting for March 1977, holding their breath to see if anyone would show up. To everyone's relief and delight, over ninety people came to the first meeting, and the Clifton Horse Society was born. The idea caught on like a house afire and the club has never slowed down. It immediately began publishing a newsletter, originally called Hoofbeats and later changed to Lead Line after a contest to choose a name.
Among our original members we discovered that no one equestrian discipline dominated. The club had trail riders, dressage enthusiasts, hunter/jumper showers, fox hunters, saddle seat riders, civil war re-enactors, parade riders, combined training buffs, and even more. It was decided that variety was the spice of life and that CHS would actively encourage its members to venture outside their own particular disciplines to try other forms of equestrian life. Eventually, of this philosophy was born the Proteus Award, given each year to the horse and rider team demonstrating the most versatility.
Since 1977 there have been clinics, competitive rides, Ride and Ties, horse shows, barn dances, dinner dances, trail rides, farm tours, picnics, gymkhanas, knowdowns, trips to the races, cocktail parties, monthly board meetings, pony rides at Clifton Day, parades, trip to the Washington International Horse Show, auctions, hay rides, Christmas caroling, and scholarships. Plus CHS has helped to establish a viable trail system all over the Clifton area and has cooperated in saving and producing trails in our local parks and developments, and even influenced horse-oriented legislation.
In accomplishing these phenomenal goals, CHS has enjoyed the support of neighborhood tack shops, veterinarians, farriers, local park authorities, various county officials and offices, but mostly CHS has been successful because of the real interest and support of its members. Some members join CHS mainly to receive the Lead Line, and that is fine; but hopefully, once they get a foot in the door, CHS, we hope, will lure them out to join in its activities and eventually contribute to produce those activities for the better enjoyment of all.
It's a funny thing, but very true, that the more you join in, the more fun you have in CHS, and the more you learn and progress as an equestrian. Every year CHS produces a whole new year of exciting events and projects. Don't just read about them. Come out and join in the fun.