‘Keeping the bond alive’: riding schools celebrated at national championships

  • Riders from across the country travelled to Leicestershire for the British Horse Society (BHS) annual national riding school championships, in a celebration of the work schools do in allowing more people to access equestrianism.

    More than 90 competitors took part at the event, at Pickering Grange on 3 April, in classes including jumping, dressage and stable management. One aim of the championships is to allow those who do not own horses or ponies the chance to compete.

    Another is to help encourage participation, and the winner of one of the dressage finals showed an innovative way of doing this – Fatima Ouhamid of Summerfield Stables in Birmingham won riding side-saddle.

    Picture by David Neve

    Her mother Malika Keijzer, an instructor at Summerfield, told H&H this could be a way for stricter Muslims to compete.

    “Some can’t compete as it’s in tight trousers but side-saddle allows them to wear the apron so they can,” she said. “So at Summerfield we’re getting the ponies used to side-saddles, and Fatima’s helping, getting the ponies ready so other girls can compete too.”

    A BHS spokesman said the day was a “celebration of riding schools in the UK and the great value they bring to people in the local communities”.

    Oonagh Meyer, BHS head of operations for approved centres, added: “It really was a fantastic event and it was great to see all those who otherwise wouldn’t have had the chance to compete show off the brilliant skills they have learned at their respective riding schools.

    “I’ve been fortunate enough to see hundreds of people’s love for horses grow at centres across the UK. Days like these really highlight how important that unique horse-human bond is, as well as the valuable work riding centres are doing to keep that bond alive.”

    You might also be interested in:

    Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade your subscription to access our online service that brings you breaking news and reports as well as other benefits.

    You may like...