Hot on the hooves of her recent inaugeration into the British Horse Society Equestrian Hall of Fame, three-times Olympic medallist Tina Cook is visiting Lavant House Stables near Chichester to encourage more local people to get involved in this fantastic sport.
On Saturday, February 22, Cook will be launching ‘Take Back The Reins’, a Hoof Olympic legacy project which offers structured and cost-effective riding opportunities for adults who used to ride and who want to ldo so again, or children keen to start riding.
“We’re very pleased to have Tina here, she is such an incredible ambassador for the sport” said Lavant House Stables proprietor Lucy Thomson. “Since the Olympics in 2012 we’ve seen a 26 per cent increase in adults coming to ride with us and more and more children enjoying our brilliant Pony Club. So we know Take Back The Reins will be a great success.”
The free launch is open to anyone to find out more and runs from 10.30am to 1pm.
Alongside an opportunity to meet Cook, visitors can ride on Henry the mechanical horse, see riding displays, meet the horses, ponies and donkeys and enjoy free refreshments. Lavant’s own popular Donkey Diary author Two Stroke the donkey will be blogging from the event for his fans and posing for photos (and hopefully carrots) on the day.
“We cater for all ages and ambitions here, from four years old and upwards - there really is no upper age limit,” said Amanda Kruger, Lavant House Stables’ general manager. “Our goal on February 22 is to see lots of new faces coming to meet our wonderful team and horses.”
One of those recent new faces is mother-of-two Sarah Cotty from Colworth, Chichester, who rediscovered riding last year and is enjoying the many benefits
“I hadn’t sat on a horse since I was 12 and always wanted to get back into riding, but it had to be somewhere I wouldn’t feel intimidated. I had my first lesson at Lavant House Stables and haven’t looked back! It’s now my second home, my bubble of happiness in a world full of kids, school runs and housework.”
Sarah was so taken with one horse she rode - Kenny - that she is now is his proud owner, having taken advantage of one of the stables’ unique loan schemes for adults and children.
Whilst not everyone aims for horse ownership or Olympic stardom when they start riding, Lavant House Stables has enjoyed considerable success in many areas.
Several children have gone on to ride for regional and national teams, while on home soil Abigail Yetton was the overall winner of the annual Pony Club Show last year.
Their Pony Club quiz team were crowned 2013 national champions and the riding school have just been shortlisted as one of the top ten in the world for their use of social media at the ESMA awards, with high hopes of winning.
Find out more about Take Back The Reins at www.lhstables.co.uk and connect on social media on Twitter @lavanthouse or Facebook at www.facebook.com/lavanthousestables