‘We’re all in it together’: 500 supporters help riding school celebrate 50th birthday

  • A riding school has celebrated its 50th birthday with the help of almost 500 supporters.

    On 30 October Tower Farm Riding Stables held a Halloween-themed party, with a cake stall raising money for the Equine Grass Sickness Fund, to mark the milestone.

    “There were definitely some tears when we cut the cake,” the riding school’s owner Caroline Buckle told H&H.

    Tower Farm was established by Caroline’s parents Judy and Jock Forrest in 1972. When Judy died in 1999, Caroline took over, with the help of yard manager Debbie Henderson.

    Tower Farm riding school owner Caroline Buckle and yard manager Debbie Henderson cut the cake to mark the centre’s 50th birthday

    The centre has continued to evolve and grow over the years, and is home to 42 horses and ponies. It caters for riders as young as three who can have pony rides, and the eldest client they have is an 80-year-old who has been riding there since the 1980s.

    “There are lots of reasons people ride and we welcome everyone. We offer lots of variety, and just recently had a couple here who came for a ride as part of their honeymoon,” said Caroline.

    “We are very lucky and have all off-road hacking with views of Edinburgh Castle and the river Forth, and we also offer beach rides.”

    Caroline said although the pandemic was challenging, the riding school had a lot of support thanks to a JustGiving page – and while they were shut during lockdown they used the time positively.

    “It gave us time to take a step back and reflect on things,” she said.

    “We had always wanted to move to a digital booking platform so we did that, and we also made some small changes on the yard, just silly things like where things are kept. When you’ve been doing something for so long you can fall into patterns so it gave us a bit of headspace to look at things, and we came out of Covid ready to restart.”

    Caroline said it meant a huge amount to reach 50 years.

    “I’ve grown up here, it runs through my blood. When your mum worked all her days to build it up, you want to keep it going,” she said.

    “Going forward we just want to keep up our high standards and returning customers, and keep making sure the horses and staff are healthy and happy. We will keep doing our best for everybody, and it’s a massive team effort from the staff, to the horses to the clients; we’re all in it together.”

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