Olympic medallist Tina Cook and her European team gold medal-winning ride Billy The Red are helping to inspire the next generation of riders at an inner-city riding club.
Following the success of equestrian sport at the Tokyo Olympics, Tina and the 14-year-old gelding surprised the young people of Brixton-based charity Ebony Horse Club with a visit. The charity uses riding and horses to help build young people’s life skills.
Tina gave a demonstration of riding and jumping Billy The Red, spent time teaching the young people and joined them on a group hack on one of the centre’s horses. The children also enjoyed trying on some of Tina’s medals.
“I’m here to show that riding can be for everybody, whether you live in the countryside with luscious fields and acres of land to ride over, or here in London. They’ve got lovely horses here for the children to come and have a taste of it and see if it’s what they want to do and if they have a passion for it,” said Tina.
“In the end it’s the passion and the hard work and dedication that goes into this sport – there are many people that have proved that, who have gone on to be the best in the world. I love my horses, I’ve worked very hard with them but I want the kids to realise that I enjoy mucking out, brushing, and the general everyday graft that goes with our sport. It’s not just keeping myself fit and healthy, it’s making sure the horses are fit and healthy.”
Ebony business and funding manager Naomi Howgate said it was “so inspiring” for the young people to meet Tina and Billy The Red.
“Having this beautiful horse being ridden by an Olympic rider in our arena, interacting and being taught by her really gives them a huge boost in their aspirations and ambitions,” she said.
Parent Julia said meeting Tina had given the children something to aspire to.
“When you meet someone it’s different from reading about it or seeing it on TV so I think that was really special,” she said.
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