Dragon’s Den star Deborah Meaden has become the latest celebrity to show her support for Hoof — a London-based campaign to encourage city-dwellers to take up horse riding.

Hoof was set up in December 2007 by the British Equestrian Federation to create a legacy for the 2012 London Olympics.

Hoof aims to encourage more Londoners to take up riding, get involved with horses and to make equestrianism more accessible and affordable for people who live in the capital.

The project, which has a new website, is set to improve horse riding facilities in London. It will also set up a programme for school children, and aims to provide subsidised horse riding lessons to attract youngsters to riding early on.

Dragon’s Den star and business woman Deborah said: “As a child I paid for food, stable rent and blacksmiths for my pony from pocket money and money I could earn in the summer holidays. I learned responsibility, commitment — even budgeting.

“Horses may not be for everyone, but being around them teaches many important life lessons that it is a shame more people are not encouraged to become involved with them.

“I have watched painfully shy people just blossom and grow around them.”

Tim Hadaway, who heads the Hoof project, said: “Deborah is a keen horsewoman and her interest in making horse riding more accessible is close to our hearts.

“She is one of a growing number of celebrities who have expressed support for Hoof and will help us appeal to potential riders of all ages and walks of like in London.”

www.hoof-in-town.com