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Access Week celebrated in the West Midlands

10 June 2015

The Long Mynd Escorted Ride in Shropshire on 31 May started off wet and drizzly but cleared to sunshine later in the day. Very positive feedback received “Thank you so much for organizing and leading such a great ride yesterday. It was a huge adventure for Rupert and myself; we’ve never been over such magnificent countryside and almost on our doorstep too! Really memorable, lovely company. A perfect day out with the horses!” and “a big thank you for a great day out on Sunday.  It was a really good ride and just the right pace. And I have learnt some new routes! Weren't we lucky with the weather too!”

The Escorted Rides around Shipston on Stour, Warwickshire went well with rides on both weekends of Access Week.  The riders all enjoyed meeting like minded people and we had one young horse on it’s first outing, everyone was incredibly kind and happy to adjust the pace to suit him. Everyone who attend would like to come again, also the people who found themselves unable to come on the Sunday ride have asked for more rides to be put on in the summer. So watch this space. 

The Staffordshire Moorlands Bridleways Association Fun Ride on Sunday 31 May from Freehay, through Dimmingsdale Woods marked the end of Access Week and was very well attended despite the unsettled weather. The first riders left the start area on the dot at 9:30am and riders were set off in small groups so that they didn’t overwhelm the area or look intimidating to walkers. Horses and riders came from as far away as Lichfield and Buxton and altogether 60 riders attended. A few riders and stewards stopped off at the Ramblers Retreat for coffee and cake as it marked the halfway point.

Two ladies attended who had never been on a fun ride before who said "That was fantastic, the marshalls were brilliant on the road crossing, we had a wonderful day, when is the next one?".

The Association are extremely grateful for the use of the Lafarge Tarmac’s weighbridge area to park and use as a base, without which they couldn’t run a ride of this size. A substantial amount of money was raised for the British Horse Society Access Fund which will be used to fight for more safe, off-road routes for horses. This is especially important in the Staffordshire Moorlands which has only 4% of public rights of way available to horse riders, as the national average is 22% this is particularly poor provision.

Many riders posted some lovely feedback on the Staffordshire Moorlands Bridleways Facebook page including “Thank you so much for a truly well planned ride and what a glorious setting! Super ride thank you so much for your efforts can't wait for another”.

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