The manager of a popular riding stables in London has launched a desperate campaign to secure its future.

Park Lane Stables in Teddington, Richmond upon Thames, is a thriving Riding For the Disabled Association (RDA), Pony Club and grassroots pony racing centre, but it faces losing its premises.

In November, Natalie O’Rourke discovered her landlord would not be renewing her lease when it expires in May, so she launched a crowdfunding campaign to secure the yard’s future.

She aims to raise £1 million to purchase the site, so it can continue providing a lifeline to the children and adults who ride there.

“Our riders are madly in love with the horses and ponies and this is their happy place,” yard manager, Natalie told Your Horse. “If we have to go it would be devastating.”

Visiting the community. Credit: Cathy Cooper

There are 23 horses and ponies at the stables, which runs around 3,000 RDA sessions in a typical year.

“We are such a diverse stables, we do RDA but also Pony Club and grassroots pony racing,” said Natalie..

“People can come and ride as often they wish and they don’t have to commit to a monthly fee. People pay what they can manage – we don’t turn anybody away.

“Many of our riders are visually impaired so driving is not an option and they need to rely on public transport. If we were based in a rural location they wouldn’t be able to get to us.

“We have staff members with disabilities, one has severe epilepsy so wouldn’t be able to get to us without public transport either.

“If we have to leave they would have nowhere to go and it would have a massive ripple effect through so many families.”

During 2020, the stables took the horses and ponies out in the community to visit their riders homes, as well as care homes, and video called those they weren’t able to see in person.

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“We visited people who were shielding or isolating, so they could see a pony outside their homes and it just lifted them,” said Natalie.

“We were also asked to visit Great Ormond Street Hospital in the summer to visit a child who was sadly dying. She was a rider and parents wanted her to see a pony.

“It was amazing for her to see, smell and touch him, and evoke those happy memories of times with ponies.”

Natalie said any pledges for donations, however small, would make a huge difference, and encouraged supporters to share details of the campaign among family and friends.

The crowdfunder will run until 24 February and more than £120,000 has already been pledged.

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