A Welsh riding school has been saved from closure after offenders stepped in to rebuild fencing.

Cardiff Riding School in the centre of the city is the first council-owned riding school in Britain.

The school was threatened with closure in April 2013 following council cutbacks.

A high-profile campaign was set up to save the riding school with a riding protest march in the city centre.

The school has been going for 45 years and has an active Riding for the Disabled Association group.

But much of the original fencing was rotting and needed replacing.

After hearing about the school’s troubles, the Wales Community Rehabilitation Company stepped in to provide the manpower to build the 1.5 miles of fencing needed to keep the school’s 48 ponies enclosed.

The offenders, who are doing community service, have also built large replacement doors for the indoor riding school.

cardiff riding school

The work saved the school a total of £42,000 on an original bill of £50,000. The riding school paid the £8,000 for the wood.

“Wales CRC offered to help when we found out we were going to be closed. Previously we had a lot of quotes for mending the fencing and faced a massive bill of £50,000 from an outside contractor, now we’ve only had to pay for the raw materials,” said Gloria Garrington, assistant manager at the stables.

“The works that has been done has made the school much more secure and kept money in our budget which we can use for the horses,” added Gloria.

Adrian Cowley, community payback supervisor with Wales CRS said the offenders work “was vital” in stopping the horses escape.

“There’s a carriageway and a river at the side and the horses could be put in great danger,” he said.

Offenders carried out £3.5m worth of unpaid work in communities across Wales in 2013/14, a total of over half a million hours.

Projects ranges from cleaning and restoring war heroes’ graves to protecting waterways, providing play equipment for schools and digging pensioners’ gardens.