The British Horse Society (BHS) recently welcomed their Vice-Patron, HRH The Princess Royal to a riding school in Birmingham to see how it is benefiting young people in the area.

Summerfield Stables is an inclusive community group with a core aim to ensure that all children and young people, regardless of sex, race, age or disability, in the local area have the opportunity to interact with horses, and the benefits this can bring.

This comes at a time when the equine industry’s riding centres and livery yards continue to face great challenges, with the BHS reporting a 15% reduction in riding schools since 2018.

Credit: Duncan Lamont/The British Horse Society

“It was an honour to host HRH The Princess Royal and to showcase the important role that horses have in our community, as well as the difference they make to children’s lives,” said Georgian Urwin, Volunteer and Part-Qualified Stage 4 Coach at Summerfield Stables.

“Founded in 1970 by Roslyn Tedd-Urwin, for over 50 years Summerfield Stables has been an important presence in the community, offering opportunities for young people and volunteers which has been even more in demand since the Covid pandemic. Today, HRH has had the opportunity to see this first hand.”

Credit: Duncan Lamont/The British Horse Society

The Princess Royal watched demonstrations from a host of the Approved Centre’s participants and volunteers. These comprised of an introduction to the BHS’s Pony Stars programme, which offers children the chance to discover, develop and nurture their love for ponies and the outdoors. Bobby, the BHS’s Equine Personality of the Year 2020 also made a star appearance.

HRH The Princess Royal heard from participants of the BHS Changing Lives through Horses initiative which the stables has been running since last year.

Credit: Duncan Lamont/The British Horse Society

“It was a privilege and an honour to introduce our Vice-Patron HRH to Summerfield Stables and all those who work so hard to make it such a success,” said James Hick, Chief Executive Officer at the BHS. “We know that the horse/human relationship can be transformational for wellbeing, and it is great to champion those centres who are so passionate about providing all young people with their first interaction with horses.

“Together, we must continue to ride by the side of every equestrian and all those who care so passionately for them. Our riding schools are a critical part of this, helping to make sure they have access to education, horse care and welfare, practical riding tuition and most importantly, an inclusive and welcoming environment.”

Lead image by Duncan Lamont/The British Horse Society

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