The British Horse Society (BHS) was honoured to welcome their Vice-Patron, HRH The Princess Royal today (31 March) to a Community Ridings School in the heart of Birmingham to see how it is benefiting young people in the area.
This comes at a time when the equine industry’s riding centres and livery yards continue to face great challenges, with the BHS reporting a 15% reduction in riding schools since 2018.
BHS Approved, Summerfield Stables is an inclusive community group with a core aim to ensure that all children and young people, regardless of sex, race, age or disability, in the local area have the opportunity to interact with horses, and the benefits it can bring. This is incredibly important for those who previously may have never had the chance to experience that special and unique horse/human bond.
This centre, along with all of the other riding schools across the UK, is the lifeblood of equestrian participation and the BHS wants to see more like this across the country. To showcase the wonderful work Summerfield Stables do to increase the confidence and practical skills of young people through the power of horses, as well as the support the BHS have contributed, HRH The Princess Royal observed demonstrations from a host of the Approved Centre’s participants and volunteers.
This comprised of an introduction to the BHS’s Pony Stars programme, which offers children the chance to discover, develop and nurture their love for ponies and the great outdoors. Bobby, the BHS’s Equine Personality of the Year 2020 also made a star appearance, as one of the ponies who has embedded in so many young people a love for horses that will last a lifetime.
HRH The Princess Royal heard from participants of the BHS Changing Lives through Horses initiative which the stable have been running since last year. This is an alternative education programme which reconnects disadvantaged and disengaged people back into communities through the magic of horses.
James Hick, Chief Executive Officer at The British Horse Society said: “It was a privilege and an honour to introduce our Vice-Patron HRH to Summerfield Stables and all those who work so hard to make it such a success. We know that the horse/human relationship can be transformational for wellbeing, and it is great to champion those centres who are so passionate about providing all young people with their first interaction with horses.
Together, we must continue to ride by the side of every equestrian and all those who care so passionately for them. Our riding schools are a critical part of this, helping to make sure they have access to education, horse care and welfare, practical riding tuition and most importantly, an inclusive and welcoming environment.”
Georgina Urwin, Volunteer and Part-Qualified Stage 4 Coach at Summerfield Stables said: “It was an honour to host HRH The Princess Royal and to showcase the important role that horses have in our community, as well as the difference they make to children’s lives.
Founded in 1970 by Roslyn Tedd-Urwin, for over 50 years Summerfield Stables has been an important presence in the community, offering opportunities for young people and volunteers which has been even more in demand since the Covid pandemic. Today, HRH has had the opportunity to see this first hand.
By meeting our whole community, from our youngest ‘pony stars’ to our team of fantastic volunteers, we have been happy to represent a diverse and talented equine community within the city of Birmingham.”
To learn more about The British Horse Society, the work they do and how you can support the charity to continue to create a better future for horses, as well as those who love, care for and work with them, visit their website.
You can discover more about Summerfield Stables and how they support children in the local community, by visiting their website.
Notes to editors
Contact: The British Horse Society Press Office
T: 02476 840521
The British Horse Society:
As the largest equine charity in the UK, The British Horse Society is dedicated to education, equine welfare, protecting and increasing access to bridleways and places to ride and carriage drive off road, and safety for horse and riders. The Society’s thriving and active community of staff and volunteers is committed to improving the lives of horses everywhere.