Riding in the north-west has received a boost, thanks to funding in the wake of the Olympics. Carrington Riding Centre, Manchester, has unveiled new facilities, funded by the British Equestrian Federation’s Olympic legacy programme Hoof, which aims to increase participation in equestrian sport.

International showjumper William Whitaker was on hand at the launch party, assisting with demos and putting the horse simulator through its paces in front of a 200-strong crowd of prospective riders.

William with one of the centre's younger riders

William Whitaker with one of the centre’s younger riders

He said afterwards: “Riding is a great sport to keep you fit and active. The Olympics really inspired me and with these great new facilities, there will be no stopping the [people here at Carrington] either; it’s got to be bums in the saddles and keep going!”

The subsidy, which was available via the BEF through £1 to £1 match funding from Sport England, has enabled the centre to build a third outdoor arena and a training/social room.

A group of take back the reins riders

The centre has already filled its six Take Back the Reins courses

Centre manager Sharon Groos said she felt “overwhelmed”: “The support we received not only from the BEF and William Whitaker, but from the community itself has been fantastic. We have the most wonderful people working with us, who are the biggest credit to our riding school.”

Prior to building the new arena, Carrington was struggling to fulfill the demands of the local community due to limited arena space. Since the project was completed three weeks ago, the centre has already filled its six Take Back the Reins courses — for returning adult riders — confirmed additional dates for BHS exams and hosted Pony Club training days.