Teens at Midgeland Riding School, Blackpool, are the latest to launch a Young Equestrians group.
The scheme allows 13 to 18-year olds the opportunity to socialise and learn to ride and care for horses in an informal way.
The first session began with eight participants, whose ages ranged from thirteen to sixteen, tucking into cupcakes and taking part in an ice breaker activity to help them get to know each other.
The following weekend, Midgeland’s held a Give Horses a Go Day, where the Young Equestrians were on hand to help the Mounted Police, who were in attendance to give a demonstration and talk about their horses and their jobs. The young riders then helped participants taking part in Give Horses a Go; some of whom had never ridden before.
Other ideas for the future include a fancy dress riding competition and raffle to raise funds for Riding for the Disabled, a horse-themed quiz night and trips to equestrian events. They would also like to try Dressage to Music, and put together their own Musical Ride where the group will perform choreographed movements to a theme.
The Midgeland Riding School Young Equestrians group was created by fifteen year old Tazmin Cocking who is in the process of completing her gold level Young Equestrian Leaders Award*, which involves planning and delivering a project.
Tazmin thought the launch went really well and said: “Everyone who attended was full of ideas, and they all seemed to have a good time.”
Young Equestrian Imogen Sharpe, 14, is looking forward to having fun with the group members in the future. She said: “I think Young Equestrians is a great opportunity to learn new things and make new friends.”
Sophie Wallbank, 15, agreed: “Young Equestrians will give us the opportunity to make new, like-minded friends and meet up outside of the Riding School environment.”
Wendy Ellis, Midgeland Riding School Proprietor, was pleased with how the launch session went and said: “There were lots of good ideas and plenty of enthusiasm for the club!”
Originally developed by Hoof, the British Equestrian Federation’s (BEF) participation programme, the Young Equestrians scheme is being delivered through The Pony Club and will target riding schools across England.
Thanks to Sport England funding, Young Equestrians will provide participants with more choice and freedom in how they take part in equestrianism, as well as providing a focus on skill development.
Riding schools who deliver the programme will be given access to virtual tools to help them establish their Young Equestrians club that include example session plans, marketing materials and a host of different ideas on how to retain teenagers in equestrian sport.
If you are a riding school or young person and want more information on how to get involved in the programme please visit www.youngequestrians.club.