A riding school in Middlesex is shrugging off the economic doom and gloom by celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Goulds Green Riding School in Hillingdon has been operating as a family business since 1959 and is now run by the third generation of the Jupp family.

The centre — which now has 200 regular customers — was set up by Michael Jupp’s parents when he was a child.

“It started by mistake,” he said. “My parents bought me a pony when I was six and we always had people over to ride. More and more children started coming so we added a small charge, and in 1959 we hosted our first show.”

Mr Jupp took over running the school when his parents retired but has since handed control to his wife Gail and daughter Katie, 21, who teaches daily.

Katie said: “I love it. It’s nice to work together as a family — we’re very proud of our achievement.”

The British Horse Society (BHS) is only aware of a handful of other schools that have been operating as long.

“It’s great that a BHS-approved establishment has been running for 50 years,” said a spokesman.

Julian Marczak, chairman of the Association of British Riding Schools, added: “We send hearty congratulations to Goulds Green. Fifty years is a remarkable achievement, particularly in today’s economic climate.”

Mandy Burt’s 10-year-old daughter, Sophie, rides at Goulds Green four times a week, where Mandy herself rode as a child.

“It’s a fantastic place,” she told H&H. “It’s wonderful that Sophie and I both learnt to ride at the same place, with the same family.”

Goulds Green will be hosting a series of events to celebrate, starting with an in-house show on 31 August.

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (27 August, ’09)