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Riding Annual

Riding and Driving Magazine first appeared in 1936, published by Country Life. The magazine was a sumptuous production, aimed at the same clientele who read Country Life Magazine. The majority of its articles were on equestrianism and the world of the horse, although it did include topical content. The magazine was published throughout World War 2 (though because of the paper shortage issues were cut from 12 a year to four). The driving element of the magazine came much more to the fore as people wrestled with petrol rationing, and a series of articles appeared on using your stables for food production. Rabbits, pigs and mushrooms were just some of the topics on which lengthy articles appeared.


Although Riding Magazine could be bound by the publishers at the end of each year, there was no Annual as such until the 1960s. The first appeared in 1964, and was published by Country Life. The flap stated its appearance was:


“Following repeated requests from readers, the proprietors of Riding magazine have produced this Riding Annual for the year 1964, full of interest for readers of all ages.”


The Annual was edited by Phyllis Hinton, a former editor of Riding. The content was principally non-fiction, ranging from Michael Bullen’s first-hand experiences of Badminton to Hector McLean on naming his family (and his horses). Riding Magazine had, from the outset, included a young rider’s section. Certainly in its earliest years and into the 1950s, this included a short story each month. Whether this pattern still held in the 1960s I do not know, having not yet obtained any magazines from the period. The Annual did, however, include a short story, A Show Waggon for Polka Pony by O M Salter. The Annual only managed three publications in this format, and not having found them all, I am not sure if all included a short story. Publication of the Annual by Country Life stopped with Riding Annual IV in 1966.


Publication was resumed under the editorship of Elwyn Hartley Edwards, with the annual being published by Fleetway. This probably happened in 1972, when the editor admitted in the preface to that year’s edition that no annual had appeared “for some years”. There were occasional short stories in the Annuals that followed, but the content was mostly non-fiction. I can find no mention of any Annuals after 1981.