‘As soon as that bell rings, I’m on my way here’: how a charity brightens lives through horses

  • A short film highlighting the impact a riding school is having on the lives of inner city children has gone viral online.

    Ebony Horse Club is based in Coldharbour, south London, which is one of the most deprived areas in the country.

    More than 120 young people visit the centre each week and more than 1,000 children have learnt to ride there.

    Among these is 12-year-old Omari, who stars in the clip by ITV.

    “Coming here has calmed me down in school, stopped me from coming to trouble, because I know as soon as that bell rings, I’m on my way here” said Omari.

    “Coming here has helped me mentally and physically. It’s calmed me down and taught me a lot — and it’s helped me outside school and outside Ebony.

    “The horses themselves have taught us a lot. They’ve taught us to be caring, kind, calm, and to be ourselves around horses.

    “Before I came to horse club I had never, ever interacted with a horse, I had only seen pictures or seen one from a far distance.

    “No matter how poor you are, or how rich you are, it doesn’t stop you from loving horses.”

    The clip has been viewed more than a million times on Facebook and the surge in public interest temporarily crashed the charity’s website.

    Naomi Howgate, Ebony Horse Club’s business and funding manager, told H&H: “We’re very proud of Omari and all our star riders and we’re delighted that the video has touched so many people.

    “As a small charity we are always striving to help more young people like Omari and we are grateful for any ongoing support to do this.”

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    H&H has reported on many of the initiatives run by the charity and partners.

    In 2015, the Pony Racing Authority teamed up with the charity and Appletree Stud to teach members of the club how to race-ride.

    Just under two years later, two riders from the club made their pony racing debut at Ascot.

    Members have also learnt how to play polo and played in front of crowds in a charity match at Ham Polo Club in September.

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