Sheila Layton MBE FABRS, the co-founder of Contessa Riding Centre in Hertfordshire, died on 9 November aged 87, following a interval of sick well being.
Mrs Layton was recognized for her love of high quality horses, her dedication to Contessa and her work for the Association of British Riding Schools (ABRS).
She was born in 1933 in Wrecclesham, Surrey, the place she lived till she met Ron. The couple married in 1954 and moved to Benghazi, Libya, with Ron’s military profession, and there she developed a love of driving.
On returning to the UK three years later the couple lived in Kent and welcomed their daughter Tina in 1959. In 1968, the household moved to Hertfordshire, the place they purchased a house with land and Mrs Layton attended night courses on secure administration.
In 1970, throughout a household vacation in Devon, Mrs Layton “fell in love” with a 15.2hh part-bred Arab mare known as Worthwhile. The household purchased her, and two years later purchased a pony, Rendezvous, for Tina, adopted by a gelding, Dandy, for Ron.
Mrs Layton and Tina deliberate to begin a enterprise shopping for and promoting horses, and acquired an unhandled Welsh mountain pony, with the help of their pal Cliff Carrick. Tina advised H&H Mrs Layton fell in love with the mare, named Contessa, they usually determined to maintain her to breed from.
“We then fell in love with the foal and ended up holding her too. We realised the one solution to make the enterprise work was to earn money from instructing so I took my teacher exams and Contessa was shaped in 1977,” Tina stated.
Whereas Tina ran the instructing aspect of the enterprise, Mrs Layton handled the administration and accounting. The driving faculty catered for riders from newbie to superior degree, and was recognized for its classical strategies of instructing, welcoming visiting trainers together with the previous first chief rider on the Spanish Riding School, Arthur Kottas.
Mrs Layton and Tina additionally bred Arabs, which had been used within the driving faculty. The mom and daughter loved travelling to World Arabian Horse Organisation conferences world wide.
“The Arabs had been tremendous to show with. My mom knew high quality and she or he all the time wished us to have the very best horses we may get for the driving faculty,” stated Tina.
Mrs Layton was a member of the manager workforce of the ABRS. She turned chairman of the affiliation’s inspections sub-committee, and Contessa turned an examination centre for the ABRS superior instructing diploma. In 2006 Mrs Layton was awarded fellowship of the affiliation for her dedication and dedication to the organisation, and in 2010 was appointed MBE for her providers to the equestrian trade.
Mrs Layton took nice satisfaction in Tina’s dressage profession, watching her daughter symbolize Nice Britain within the Stubbing Court docket CDI in 2000. The next 12 months Tina and her associate Paul welcomed their son Zak, who adopted his mom and grandmother into driving.
“My mom was very pleased with him. She liked to look at him experience,” stated Tina.
Tina stated she and her mom had all the time been collectively and “an actual partnership”, particularly following Ron’s dying in 2004.
“Later in life she slowed down her work for ABRS however she continued doing the administration for Contessa. She was so nicely organised and would do five-year plans,” she stated.
“She liked her backyard and planted woodland throughout it. She additionally loved taking part in bridge and desk tennis and was very aggressive in desk tennis, however to not win – she was aggressive with herself and needed to play her greatest,” stated Tina.
The driving faculty has made the ‘heartbreaking’ resolution to shut the primary a part of its operation because of funds
Following Mrs Layton’s dying in November Tina stated she had obtained many messages about her mom.
“Individuals have stated she was elegant, stunning and charming. She was often known as being formidable; she was powerful however all the time honest,” she stated.
“It’s been very nice studying among the issues folks have stated, and she or he was held in superb respect.”
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