AQHA UK Council

The AQHA UK Council is elected by the members and runs the Association. Council members are volunteers and are not paid.  There are meetings held throughout the year many of which are now conducted through video link which saves money in travel expenses and time.  In addition there is an Annual General Meeting where members are invited to hear about plans, make comments and suggestions and to elect new council members. The Association is a registered charity, as well as a limited Company, and therefore is subject to the statutory rules and regulations.  

If you would like to volunteer for a position on Council please contact us at the email below.  We are always in need of extra help and would value your input.

We welcome your feedback and suggestions and it is our aim to make the Council members and Directors as accessible as possible. You can email any member on:

AQHA UK Council and Director’s List

Non Council Positions:

Carin Herrick – Passport Registrar + Membership

Jane Roberts – Get On And Ride Scheme

Sandra Mitchell – Futurity Scheme

Frances Neil

Frances Neil


I’ve ridden ‘on and off’ since I was a teenager.  I loaned a horse to get back to riding when family commitments allowed and a friend recommended I try western.  I was soon hooked!  My first QH was a lovely sorrel mare, then I bought another mare but I soon had to give up riding to care for my elderly parents.

In 2015 I retired from being a primary headteacher and bought my third QH.  Working with Mary Larcom and my new horse I was awarded the Rookie Buckle in 2017 and I won the Brian Carter Award in 2018 and showed my horse at DQHA Aachen being placed in 8th Amateur Geldings Halter and 8th place in the final of Amateur Showmanship.  I was so proud that I wasn’t DQ’d and didn’t forget the pattern in that big arena.   

I now have a lovely gelding, Justa.  He and Mary won the Triple Crown and the HUS at the Championship’s in 2019 and I showed him to win a Grand Champion Amateur Geldings Halter and I won my first ridden classes in w/j Pleasure and Horsemanship.  I love to show and compete and meet up with other QH and western enthusiasts.

I met Sandy Arledge, AQHA President at Aachen in 2016 and she invited me to join her at the World Show in Oklahoma and we have been friends since.  I asked Sandy how to thank her for hospitality and kindness she said, “serve the QH Breed”.  Promising I would, I joined AQHA-UK Council in 2017, taking the Chair in 2018.  This is demanding, time consuming work with many aspects but always interesting.  It’s good to support the Association and the best breed of horse in the world.  I have learned a great deal and have met some lovely people and wonderful horses and I look forward to continuing to support AQHA-UK in the future.

Lucy Adams

Lucy Adams

International Director

I have been an AQHA-UK (BAQHS and BQHA) member for over 20 years, since I was a youth rider, and this is now my 5th year on Council and 3rd year as International Director.  I have a Batchelor of Science Degree with Honours in Equine Science and am an AQHA International Judge and AQHA Professional Horsewoman; alongside all of which I enjoy owning, breeding, training and competing with American Quarter Horses.  I am passionate about this special breed of horse and always strive to help our members enjoy their horses as much as I do.  Through my involvement with AQHA I have made many friends and contacts within other associations throughout Europe and the rest of the world, which helps me to advise our Council by sharing knowledge and keeping us up to date with many issues and projects.  I am the main point of contact for both AQHA and FEQHA to our Affiliate and am in regular communication with both through emails, meetings and telephone conferences. From these I aim to provide a good flow of information to us and in turn share our views and help to find resolutions where possible.  I hope we can continue to grow our membership and our members will help support us to keep moving forward in these uncertain times.

Leigh Cheetham

Leigh Cheetham

Shows & Events

I started riding at the age of 8 regularly competing in local Gymkhana and Hunter Trials.  At 16 I made the decision to give up horses and riding, something I have since bitterly regretted.

Fast forward some 33 years to when my husband, Paul and I moved to our then ‘dream home’ in the middle of Dartmoor with our own land, stables and an arena in situ, horses were destined to be a part of my life again.  We were soon introduced to a local lady, Lorna Smerdon and her husband Neil who were heavily involved with the Devon Western Riding Club,  and my relationship with the American Quarter Horse and Western Riding began.

I never intended to compete I just wanted to ride again but I somehow found myself competing in AQHA Shows at Novice Amatuer Level and the rest, as they say is history ….. I have been on AQHA-UK council since 2016 and organised the Annual Breed and Championship Show for the past 3 years, it has been challenging at times but I have learnt so much and met some wonderful people as a result of it.   In 2013 we moved again and now own and run The Crescent Arena offering clinics and arena hire mainly to the western community.


Ruth O'Reilly

Ruth O'Reilly

Administration Director

I started riding when I was about 6 years old, and only stopped for a while when my children were young and had ponies. I went for a western lesson and fell in love with the Quarter Horse and riding western. I have done some competing but it’s not really for me, I prefer trail riding and generally spending time on the yard. I became involved with Council in 2014 and have been so lucky to have worked with amazing and knowledgeable people.  At the present time I work on the administration side and love updating and increasing the pages on the website. I hope that the site will be an archive for present and future members. I had no idea how much goes on behind the scenes of the AQHA-UK until I started to volunteer: there is an incredible amount of organisation, legal and technical work that has to be done all throughout the year. When I’m not working with my fellow directors I’m with my horse, dogs and family!

Cally Coombs

Cally Coombs

I knew from a very early age horses were not just a short term phase or interest, they were a true passion and an addictive obsession. Having spent my younger years with my dad every Saturday afternoon watching western classics, I knew I wanted to be a cowgirl!

Since 2015 my dream came true starting with one lesson a month and two years later owning my first ever America Quarter Horse! I’ve never looked back since, always learning both inside and outside the arena meeting fabulous people along the way. I look forward to the next chapter in my western journey with the AQHA UK family.

My professional background has been in Health & Safety within manufacturing and automotive for over 15 years. I look forward to having the opportunity to meet you all as existing and new members, please don’t be shy to say hello and introduce yourselves.

Fran Armitage

Fran Armitage


I fell in love with the American Quarter Horse breed in 2016 after her husband, Phil persuaded me to have some western lessons. It was very soon after that I converted from English riding to Western and bought my first AQH, MD Baby Whiz.

‘Whiz’ as he is known to his friends is a seasoned reiner and I had every intention in following in Phil’s shoes and have a go at reining. After one season it was quite clear that I was no reiner! We then discovered AQHAUK and now have a very successful show record in Ranch Riding and Versatility Ranch.

Whiz and I enjoyed success at the 2018 European Championships in Kreuth, Germany with a win in the Amateur Ranch Riding with a score of 226. This was my first European adventure and one of the ‘best days of my life’!

I also greatly enjoy hacking out over the South Downs where we live and we have recently started working with cows. Something I hope  to do a lot more of.

Chairpersons over the years

Past Chairpersons of BQHA / BAQHS / AQHA-UK

(Thank you to David Teideman for compiling this archive)


1974        – Bert Pickard Ed Ivory



1983        – John Craig

1984        – Mike Keeble

1985        – Sarah Neeld

1985-88  – Joan Cadzow

1989        – Jane Muir

1989-90   – Lord Baden Powell Bob Mayhew

1991-92   – Sheila Fitzpatrick SW Wilkinson

1994        – Vanessa Copper

19xx-xx   – Brian Carter

19xx-99   – Richard Burns


Oct 90 – Apr 91  – Lord Baden Powell Rosanne Sternberg

Apr 91 – Oct 91  – Rosanne Sternberg Ray Cooper

Oct 91 – Oct 95  – David Deptford Sean Offredy

Oct 95 – Apr 99. – Bill Archer


Apr 99 – Apr 01  – Bill Archer Sheila Fitzpatrick

Apr 01 – Apr 02  – Bill Archer Sarah Nutt

Apr 02 – Apr 03  – Sarah Nutt Richard Marks

Apr 03 – Apr 06  – Richard Marks David Teideman

Apr 06 – Oct 12  – David Teideman Iain McIntyre

Oct 12 – Dec 12 – Iain McIntyre

Jan 13 – Apr 13  – Bill Archer

Apr 13 – Jun 15 – Joyce Markham    

Jun 15 –  Jul 16  – Mike Roberts

Jul 16  – Feb 17  – Nick Mason

Feb 17 – present           Francis Neil