‘Breaking down barriers’: delight as city riding school hits fundraising target to keep young people in the saddle

  • A city riding school has thanked “every person” involved in helping it to raise the £75,000 needed to keep children riding.

    Park Palace Ponies in Liverpool raised the five-figure sum through crowdfunding, to give young people continued, affordable access to equestrian sport.

    “We are thrilled and delighted to have met our crowdfunding target and now to be able to open a full-size inner city riding school, Walkers’ Woods, to run alongside our starter inner-city riding school Park Palace Ponies,” charity trustee Bridget Griffin told H&H.

    “To many, I think having horses and ponies in the inner city is still a novelty. We know how important and crucial it is for young people to spend time with equines and the huge positive impact it can have on their lives.

    “We want every single child in Liverpool to have the opportunity to learn to ride. Opening Walkers’ Woods will really help us with this goal and will break down barriers to many accessing riding in Liverpool.”

    She added that the charity is “so thankful to every single person who donated, shared and spread the word about our campaign”.

    “We could not have done it without you,” she said.

    Park Palace Ponies was awarded the Queen’s Voluntary Service Award in the same week it hit its crowdfunder target, and it has also announced that it will return to Aintree racecourse this summer with a free learn-to-ride programme. This is being funded by the Trevor Hemmings Trust.

    “We are working hard to make Liverpool the first horse friendly city,” Bridget said.

    “We can’t wait to see more inner-city riding schools pop up all over the country and would always be more than willing to assist a group in setting up their own.”

    Park Palace Ponies operates as a starter riding school, introducing children to horses and riding, and teaching them the basics of pony care. The charity would then direct them to full-sized riding schools in Merseyside.

    But riding school closures and increased pressure on those that are left means these are at full capacity, too expensive or inaccessible for many young people moving up from Park Palace Ponies. This is why those involved with the running of Park Palace Ponies wanted to secure space and funding to open a full-sized riding school.

    The successful campaign means that they have secured an 11-acre patch of land in Aigburth, south Liverpool, which is large enough to establish a small riding school with eight horses and is easily accessible, as it is a five-minute drive or train ride from Park Palace.

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