Turville Valley Stud was founded some forty years ago by the late Nan Thurman, and was originally a riding school for children. However, for the past thirty years it has been specialising in training horses and riders influenced by traditional Portuguese Classical methods.
Nan and her husband, Eric, fell in love with the Lusitano horse after a chance trip to Portugal. At the time the breed was not well known in the UK, but return trips were made by Nan and her daughters, Angela and Diane, to learn more about these beautiful Iberians and the Portuguese way of training. Soon four stallions and two mares made their way to Turville and the centre became one of the leaders in breeding and training Lusitanos.
Nan sadly died of Leukaemia in 1995 and the yard passed to Angela (Fois) and Diane (Thurman-Baker). Both Angela and Diane have competed successfully in various disciplines. Starting with The Pony Club, they were in show jumping, eventing and mounted games teams. Later they moved to BSJA, British Eventing and British Dressage. Diane was also on the first British Team for working Equitation on the home bred son of Diabo, ‘Lucca’.
Angela and Diane have two daughters each who all ride and are successful in different disciplines. Angelas eldest, Lauren, has taken to showjumping and is now also a Pilates instructor. Dianes girls do dressage and have both already represented Great Britian. Samantha, 22, is riding her home produced horse Spring Pascal at Grand Prix and recently finished a year working for Carl Hester gaining fantastic experience. She is now teaching, schooling horses and ponies on the yard and freelances. Joanna has just left school, rides and competes Apollo and is about to embark on a further equine college course. Sophie has just finished university and is following her passion of horse related Art, (See her page) and is busy doing commissions.
The yard is calm and well organised and is set in the beautiful village of Turville, nestled in the Chiltern Hills. A small team keep everything running smoothly and both Angela and Diane live ‘on site’, one on either side of the stables, so there is 24-hour supervision.
There are two very good outdoor arenas, one 20m x 40m and one 20m x 60m. Horses that come for schooling are kept stabled. Turnout is limited in the winter, but for the rest of the year all the horses get to have play in the field.
Although there are a few stallions on the yard no stud work takes place here.
Eric Thurman, Angela and Diane’s father passed away on January 25th, peacefully at home following illness. He was 83. ‘Mr T’, as he was affectionately known by many, was Nans right hand man in starting up Turville Valley Stud and remained so for many years. Fondly remembered for whistling the ponies down from the hill on early mornings, driving the land rover full of eager headcollar armed children, taking the lead groups out on his bike shouting ‘up –down up-down’ as he ran the leaders legs off! So many memories.
Turville Valley Stud is an Association of British Riding Schools Approved Establishment.
Further info on training/lessons please call Diane on Tel 01491 638 598