About Us

At DDRC we have a small band of people that organise the events. These lovely people are listed below, however we are always looking for more help. There are some jobs that can be done on the day (so parents looking for something to do while their offspring competes might not be so bored!) or we also have a couple of jobs that are in preparation for each event. One of them is organising the rosettes and another is getting sponsorship in. Neither of these need any knowledge of horses or ponies.

If anyone can help in the morning with the parking that would also be good. We are getting more and more people attending the event so the car park is becoming fuller and needs some organisation.

Doriel Watson – Committee Chair

Doriel is the big boss here at DDRC and is usually seen wandering all over the showground. She keeps a check on everyone’s safety and ensures that no one is being too silly or ruining anyone else’s fun. She is also the saviour of most of our judges and makes sure they are stocked up with drinks/food throughout the day. If you ever have any problems, concerns or questions on the day, keep an eye out for her as she is always happy to assist!

Doriel grew up in the village of Shenley when it was surrounded by various mental institutions (which explains a lot!). Her first experience with horses was around aged 7 when she and her best friend discovered a couple of loose horses in the field next to her house. They quickly launched into heroic mode and blocked off the entrances, and ran to a local vet to tell him of their discovery! The horses owner was a trainer and was so grateful he let them both ride one of the horses as a thank you. It turns out, that this very horse was the horse filming the TV series ‘Black Beauty’. Both Doriel and her friend enjoyed it so much they developed their love and passion for horses, continuing on to have riding lessons every Sunday morning at the local riding school. At the time, the riding school used to provide horses for the local film studios and Doriel’s favourite pony was the cart horse filmed in the popular TV series Steptoe and Son. His real name was Bobby and he was a 14.2hh cob.


As a teenager Doriel lost interest in horses and didn’t ride for many years. Moving forward some years she began breeding and showing Guinea pigs and at one stage had 68 of them! From there she went on to rabbits, and then transitioned to showing her Collie dog. She managed to qualify for Crufts a couple of times, and finally managed to win her class and went on to win Reserve Best Bitch in the breed (quite a fitting title for Doriel). Doriel’s friend sadly passed away from a nasty car accident which led her to then become involved with the Collie Rescue London and South East and rehomed Collie’s for the next 10 years.

Doriel only became involved with horses again because her daughter wanted to learn to ride, due to Doriel’s golden heart she became involved in helping a lady who rescuing horses from the market. Every Wednesday she drove her trailer or box down and together they would buy any horses that were going to be bought by the meat man! Think of how many innocent pony lives she has saved.

Her son also became involved with horse riding and it wasn’t long before she was taking them both out to the local shows. Dacorum being one of her favourites, she was very upset when she discovered that Ken Burgin and Jim Fountain decided they could not keep the show going any longer as nobody was bothering to help out and they could not continue to do everything on their own. This was when Doriel decided to volunteer in 2000 and the rest is history…..

Claire Palmer – Committee, show jumping Judge & everything else!


Usually found judging the show jumping in Ring 1, Claire has been part of the DDRC team since 2004 having joined when the committee were looking for new members to ensure that DDRC continued as a few of the team at the time were stepping down. As a competitor at DDRC as a child, Claire felt that it would be very unfortunate for DDRC not to continue as it is a successful local show which has been going for a number of years and is a great place for new competitors to start out. Since joining the DDRC team, Claire has also qualified as a British Showjumping Level 1 judge.

Claire has 2 horses and a pony and can often be seen out and about competing at shows when not looking after her son and working. She has achieved many successes in showjumping, eventing and showing including competing at Hickstead, Ponies UK Championships and CTR Championships.

Tony Field – Committee, show jumping Judge & website management

Tony joined DDRC about 6 years ago when he was in the usual father role of transporting horses to events. Arriving at DDRC with his daughter and her horse, the call went out for some helpers at the show. Not having anything else to do for the next 6 hours, he signed up and several years later he is still here.

Tony is normally to be found judging in ring 2, getting those people on their first steps in the jumping world. He also does the website and online booking system for DDRC. To make sure that Tony is applying the rules properly, he got trained up by the BSJA and is now a Level 1 judge operating with BSJA at various events.


Steve Shaw – Our radio man

Steve is the new voice at DDRC and runs our new PA system and has only recently joined us. Here’s a few words from him……

Hi I’m Steve and I am 63 years old and my hobbies are Shooting and off-roading. I love Dogs, unlike my younger brother Kevin who is a cat person. You will normally see us sitting at the front of the booking in caravan trying to keep track of what is going on and making announcements on the new PA system at DDRC. I have worked for BT since 1971, not the phone part. I am responsible for the NHS data network and the last time I worked on a phone was 1974. When I joined it was the GPO with dark green vans. I have 2 Kids Chris and Jo and 3 grandkids Kacey, Daley and Connor plus a great grand kid Finley. I know I still look 21 (for the 3rd time).

I’ve lived in Hemel all my life and have never really been involved in horses at all, I’ve only got into horses because of my Daughter Joanne and her horse Hannah! This was a steep learning curve for me as Hannah was quite a handful at first, but it helped that I have been around dogs all my life as I see them as big dogs. I can now do most things with a horse except ride (not for me thanks) I did try to teach Hannah to fetch and sit. I’m often left to look after my daughters horses when she goes on holiday or doesn’t want to get out of bed so I turn them out for her!

What have I learned about Horses you ask?

  1. Feed a horse and you are friends for life (peppermint polo’s seem to work best)
  2. Horses are very strong and heavy (especially when they stand on your foot)
  3. Dogs are dangerous at the front end. Horses are dangerous at both ends.
  4. Dogs you watch their tails, Horses it’s their ears. And of course both use their teeth.
  5. Carrier bags are very, VERY scary, as are silver balloons.
  6. When Hannah wants her grub NEVER turn your back on her (she will gently nudge you with her head) which usually means I do a forward roll (did I mention horses are strong).
  7. Horses do not like change, they notice even the smallest of things.

Do not stand in front of a charging horse as they will run you down (Hannah didn’t but she was the exception).

Just remember I know very little about the Horse world so I might make a few mistakes like getting dressage and equestrian mixed up but if I can help let me know and I am always willing to learn (how did you keep your riding gear clean before onesies’ came along) plus if you need something said I am happy to oblige. Come and say hi next time you are at DDRC.

Ali Ratcliffe – Secretary

Ali is our newest committee member, joining this year after volunteering at DDRC last year. Ali is passionate about the benefits of grassroots competition; having been lucky enough to have a pony through her teens and then later on a horse, it was the local riding club and end of season riding club championships that gave her focus, ambition and sportsmanship. 

As a teenager, Ali and her pony Tally were successful at riding club championships in Working Hunter ending their final season as a combination with a reserve champion at the then equivalent of Stars. Ali also competed in Show Jumping, Dressage & Riding club pony. 

Since giving up equestrian competitions to go to university; Ali has held many roles within the equestrian world which have provided the knowledge and experience for Ali to hit the ground running. 

When asked why did Ali ask to volunteer at DDRC her response was: “The Secretary of one of the local riding clubs I competed at as a child, has had at a lasting affect on me; she was friendly, supportive and passionate about recognising achievement in everything. It’s now my turn to pass this on, it is my aim to help our competitors with the confidence to achieve!”

Ali will be in the Secretary’s caravan in the morning the. In the Working Hunter ring in the afternoon.


Ellen Halfnight – Trophies and Rosettes , Clear Round

Elisia Geelan – Marketing


The DDRC committee would like to say a very big thank you to all of those who compete, spectate, help, sponsor, advertise, judge, for enabling us to continue running of this club.