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New riding centre opens in Wokingham, Berkshire

Oakwood Youth Challenge centre is bucking the trend of riding school closures by opening a new facility for young people in and around Wokingham. The centre was officially opening by MP Andrew Mackay on 21 July.

The facility at Oakwood intends to make horse riding both accessible and affordable to local youth from all backgrounds and at all levels of ability.

“Our aim is excellence and completeness in this new venture,” explains Caroline Gilford, Oakwood’s chief riding instructor. “We will teach from beginners to competition level dressage and jumping, catering for everything from private lessons to pony days.”

Oakwood, a Christian outdoor pursuits’ centre, was established in 2003. A stable yard was added in 2007 enabling young people to learn animal husbandry skills. Horse riding officially began earlier this month and makes full use of the extensive equestrian facilities at Oakwood. Plans for the future include an indoor school.

Tony Pudner, Oakwood’s founder, said: “We are committed to local youth and these facilities will be accessible to schools, youth groups and individuals for both the able-bodied and disabled. With the support of Bracknell Forest Council, we have been able to extend our services to include disabled horse riding and in September we will be starting a youth club for the disabled.”

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