After the whirlwind that was 2012 and thanks to the success of our brilliant Olympic and Paralympic riders, riding has gained a strong profile in the public domain. But how does someone totally new to the sport or who’s been out of the saddle for a while take up the reins?
In addition to the help, advice and riding school approvals provided by the BHS, the British Equestrian Federation have a useful tool in the form of their legacy project, Hoof.
For those who fancy getting back in the saddle after a bit of a break or who wonder how accessible riding is to them, Hoof is on hand to help. The initiative aims to break down barriers and explode myths about equestrian sports, encouraging both new and returner riders to have a go.
Split into nine regional networks, each with its own Regional Development Co-ordinator and Chairman, the project ensures there is always someone close at hand to help those for those with every level of interest, from event spectators to keen competitors.
Some haven’t even had to go as far as their local centre to get bitten by the bug. Mechanical horses Robocop, Trigger and Queenie have been touring shopping malls, sports centres, holiday parks, colleges and universities to help as many adults and children as possible see what they’re missing.
Regional Hoof networks also provide a wealth of information County Sport Partnerships, plus how and where to apply for funding if you’re an equestrian establishment, organisation or community project.
Visit the Hoof website (opens in new window) to take back the reins.
Caroline Hooten, Take Back the Reins course participant
I learned so much - not only about riding but about horse care as well