For more than 30 years, Glenys Woodhead was at the reins of Weelsby Park Riding School, a place where people of all ages could learn to ride ponies and horses and experience life inside one of Grimsby’s most-loved equestrian yards.
The Davies Family established the riding school in 1948 in the grounds of Weelsby Old Hall, with its traditional coach house and historic bell tower. Glenys grew up here with her sister, learning to ride while Prisoners of War were being held at the Second World War Camp in Weelsby Woods, who would offer tips and advice as she learned.
In 1986, Jean Davies, Glenys’ sister who ran the riding school, sadly passed on and Glenys returned to continue her family’s work. Over the years, she has taught hundreds and hundreds of people to ride, covering all aspects from mucking out to grooming.
She is also a tremendous supporter of the Grimsby & Cleethorpes Riding for the Disabled Association, a volunteer group who provide horse-riding as a form of therapy to those with physical or learning disabilities. To this day, Glenys remembers and keeps in touch with her very first pupil.
The family’s equine legacy continues with Glenys’ son Ian, who is trainer for renowned international event riders and a former dressage coach. He was awarded the British Equestrian Federation Medal of Honour in recognition of his achievements and dedication to coaching. Her granddaughters Holly and Amy represent Great Britain internationally in Eventing (Holly) and Dressage (Amy), and have worked with some of the most respected names in the equine world. In 2017, Amy transformed the Riding School into Weelsby Park Equestrian Centre, where professional riders from across the UK travel to train at the yard. She is the third generation of the family to take over the business.
Glenys continues to play a role in the Equestrian Centre, sharing her memories, her horses and ponies, and stories from her family on the Weelsby Park Equestrian Centre Facebook Page. Here, she keeps in touch with the many, many people who learned to ride in Grimsby and now live across the world.
“It’s a beautiful way of life. You come through those gates and you are in a different world. People always remember the horse that they learn on, and I enjoy talking to them about their time with us.”