Lapsed riders and those who have never picked up the reins are invited to make 2008 their year to get into the saddle. Nine riding centres around the country are planning open days as part of the National Riding Festival.

In the 10 years since its inception, the National Riding Festival has introduced 16,000 people to the sport with a 60% retention rate.

These figures are based on the numbers attending open days and the conversion of these attendees into regular riders reported by participating riding centres.

The National Riding Festival, sponsored by Petplan Equine, starts on Friday 30 May at Grove House EC, Yorkshire, continuing at stables around the country until 30 August.

Festival president the Princess Royal said last month: “The work that has gone into measuring [the success of the Festival] is greatly encouring to those who may have questioned whether it was possible to do so.”

For more details on open days and this year’s festival visit www.nationalridingfestival.co.uk or www.horseandhound.co.uk