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14 September 2012

Lancashire riders are given a leg-up

An actor and a small animal vet are among a group of new and former horse riders taking advantage of an exciting new initiative to encourage people back into the saddle.
Take Back the Reins (TBTR) offers specially tailored lessons delivered by a number of carefully chosen riding schools up and down the country. It is part of the British Equestrian Federation’s (BEF) Hoof Legacy Project that aims to open doors and make riding as accessible as possible.

Earnsdale Riding School in Darwen, Lancashire, is one of the select group of riding establishments approved by the BEF to deliver this unique programme. The TBTR group meets once a week for an hour-long lesson, which is then followed by a debrief over coffee and cakes.

Earnsdale’s proprietor Margery Comer, said: “We deliberately made this an evening to allow the maximum number of people to attend. We have a good mix of riders from different backgrounds, and everyone seems to be having a really good time.”

Andrew Holden, 57, works as a film and TV extra. He was a security guard in International Velvet and has also appeared in crowd scenes in programmes such as Coronation Street, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks.

“I heard about the TBTR scheme and thought it would be an excellent opportunity to develop my riding skills,” said Andrew. “I don’t think it’s ever too late to learn to ride. I’ve been to two sessions and I feel I’m starting to get into the swing of it now. I am hoping that being able to ride will open up a few more doors in my job.”

TBTR, which is being backed by the John Lewis Partnership (JLP), offers people of all ages and abilities the opportunity to rediscover their faith in horses that may have lapsed at some point in their lives due to work, family, finance or fear. Individual and group lessons will help develop skills and confidence to enable the participant to make progress in the sport, improve their fitness and - above all - have fun.

It’s a known fact that just half-an-hour of riding a week can boost your sense of wellbeing and help to keep you feeling healthy. It is a great way to get fit, strengthens your core body muscles and provides a relaxing cardiovascular workout. Riding also cheers you up when you’re down, provides mental stimulation that is much healthier than coffee and gives you the opportunity to forge friendships with like-minded people.

For further information on the TBTR Programme at Earnsdale Farm visit;

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