Britain’s oldest riding school to celebrate milestone

  • Britain’s oldest riding school is celebrating turning 74-years-old this year, by hosting a reunion.

    Bowlers Riding School was set up in 1941 in Formby, Merseyside, and celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2011.

    At the time, Julian Marczak, chairman of the Association of British Riding Schools told H&H he couldn’t find any records of a riding school older than Bowlers in the UK.

    “This is indeed a milestone, and the longevity is encouraging for all riding schools,” he said.

    Bowlers is now holding a reunion for former staff and clients.

    “We’ll have been open for 74 years in 2015,” Holly Southeran from Bowlers told H&H.

    “After the open day in 2011 we had so many people chatting about their memories of the centre, and the ponies they used to ride, we thought it would be nice to get everyone together again. Thousands of people have been in touch, from all over the world.”

    The school was established after Tom Bowler bought his daughter Mary a Shetland pony called Titch (pictured top).

    “Locals saw Tom leading Mary around the village and asked him to teach their children to ride,” added Ms Southeran.

    “Titch’s lessons earned enough money [for them] to buy another pony called Peggy; from there the riding school was set up.”

    Bowlers now has 38 horses and ponies, and around 1,000 people ride there regularly.

    The reunion will take place on Saturday 28 February at the Gild Hall, Formby.

    Tickets are £20 to include buffet and entertainment. Visit: www.bowlersridingschool.co.uk

    NB: H&H recommends that all riders wear appropriate hatwear when mounted

    Ref: Horse & Hound; 22 January 2015

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