New riding schools to be built in London as Olympic legacy

  • New riding schools being built in the London boroughs of Greenwich and Brixton will each receive £200,000 of funding as part of the sports projects surrounding the 2012 London Olympics.

    The British Equestrian Federation (BEF) announced today (17 December) that £750,000 will be ploughed into equestrianism in the capital in the run-up to the Games.

    Launching the three-year project at Olympia today, BEF chief executive, Andrew Finding, said: “The Olympic and Paralympic equestrian events in 2012 will take our sport right into the heart of London.

    “Now is the time for us, in partnership with all our member organisations, to exploit the publicity that will follow, by encouraging more people to get involved and creating better facilities and opportunities for all to ride in London.”

    The equestrian legacy project — Hoof — is donating £200,000 to Ebony Horse Club, which is trying to raise £1.5million to build itself a permanent base in Brixton.

    Currently the charity buses youngsters from some of the most disadvantaged council estates in the UK to riding centres across London for lessons.

    The new facility — boasting 11 stables, turn-out and a floodlit arena — will enable Ebony to expand the number of children it teaches from 40 to 160 a week.

    Rose Spearing, development director of the Ebony Horse Club told H&H: “We are absolutely delighted that the BEF is taking such interest in our very urban project.

    “We have already raised £160,000 and have more money pledged, but we still need to find another £500,000 to hit our £1.5m target.”

    Another legacy of the Games will be a riding centre in Shooters Hill, which is being built within Greenwich borough by the local council.

    Hoof has pledged £200,000 towards the project.

    A spokesman for Greenwich Council said: “The borough is very keen to see the development of the proposed equestrian centre and is presently discussing this with relevant landholders.

    “Greenwich is also keen to develop an equine and land-based skills academy at the site. The intention is to promote riding to inner-city children who might otherwise never have the opportunity try the sport.”

    A feasibility study is currently underway to identify the types of facilities needed, and will be completed in March 2010.

    The British Horse Society is working with Hoof to offer equestrianism to more children as part of their school sports programme.

    And the final part of the legacy project will be Hoof it to Health — “a new campaign to get people off the sofa, away from the computer and out into the open air to enjoy the exercise that horse riding can provide” says the BEF.

    Hoof will continue to work with Sport England and BEF member bodies to maximise opportunities for children and adults across London to enjoy riding for the first time, with a series of cut-price lessons at London stables and a website with information about the 70 centres in the capital.

    For more information visit www.hoof-in-town.co.uk

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