An inner-city London stables has celebrated 21 years of teaching young people to ride.
The Duchess of Cornwall visited Ebony Horse Club in Brixton, of which she is president, to mark the milestone and meet its ponies, riders and supporters.
The community riding club was founded in 1996 by Ros Spearing and volunteers would drive members to London riding schools for lessons. In 2011 the club secured its own base in Coldharbour ward.
Since the stables opened, more than 1,000 children have learnt to ride in Brixton.
Natasha Williams, 19, showed the duchess around the centre and said it was “amazing” to meet her.
“Today made me realise how much she cares,” said Natasha, who started riding lessons at Ebony aged 14 and is now studying for a BSc in equine performance and business management at Writtle University College.
“She asked me about my studies and we spoke about what Ebony Horse Club has done for young people like me.”
During the celebrations, the duchess heard about the pony racing scheme, which the club is taking part in, and was given an Equicizer demonstration (pictured) by one of the members under the watchful eye of former Cheltenham director Edward Gillespie.
Other members took part in a drill ride and the Duchess was introduced to Spin and then visited Allegra’s paddock where she met Shetland Pedro, of “Pedroscope” fame.
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“Natasha did an amazing job,” said Letty Porter, Ebony Horse Club’s engagement and funding manager.
“We really wanted to push our young people forward to give them the opportunity to speak to the duchess and to tell her about what they have been up to and learning.”
The riding centre is an Olympic legacy project and has been supported by a number of funders, including Sport England and the British Equestrian Federation.
“Having our president, the Duchess of Cornwall, here marking our 21st birthday allowed our young Brixton riders to shine,” said chair of trustees, Susan Collins.
“The duchess has grown up around horses, so understands as much as anyone the joy and value of being around horses. The charity has changed many young lives.”