With equestrianism coming under the spotlight following team silver for British eventing, an Olympic legacy initiative is touring the UK in a bid to get more people riding.
Take Back the Reins is part of the BEF’s project called Hoof, which aims to increase awareness of and participation in riding. A number of riding schools have signed up and are offering affordable activities to encourage people to get back in the saddle, no matter what their age or experience. To date there have been residential courses, ‘get into dressage’ days and riding holidays.
Mother of five Mary Morris from Stoke Newington took up riding three years ago, aged 63.
“Riding has given me an instant social life, an excuse to travel and improved my core strength and balance,” she said. “It is good for mental health, too: if I had ridden before I had my five kids, I'd have been a better mother - riding teaches you patience and understanding.”
With horses making the headlines this week, the Take Up the Reins tour is hoping to capitalise on equestrianism’s new found fame. A team of three mechanical horses, RoboCob, Trigger and Queenie, will be helping to spread the word that riding is a healthy, fun activity which is accessible and enjoyable to all.
The tour, which began in June, will stop off at county events, holiday parks, town centres, shopping malls, universities and colleges all around the country. Everyone that has a test ride will be given a certificate, a rosette and a goody bag.