Members of the local Sikh Community took part in a participation day (credit: Duncan Lamont/The British Horse Society)
The British Horse Society welcomed members to Eastminster School of Riding for an initiative to ensure all individuals have equal opportunities across equestrianism.
Funded by Sport England’s Together Fund, through British Equestrian (BEF), the day included rider taster sessions, with over 90 participants taking part, as well as educational activities around caring for horses and how to keep a horse safe on the roads.
This event comes as the BHS announces the launch of a new campaign called ‘Keep Britain Riding’, to safeguard the long-term prospects of the equestrian industry and nurture the special horse/human bond for generations to come.
Riding schools are currently under threat, with the BHS reporting that over 250 riding schools across the UK have closed since 2015.
This equates to an approximate loss of more than 1.5 million riding lessons per year and 1.5 million fewer opportunities for children, and adults to build that indescribable bond with horses.
The BHS says “initiatives such as the participation day at BHS Approved Eastminster School of Riding are now more critical than ever, helping to make sure that people from all backgrounds, and across all communities, don’t miss out on discovering and developing a love for horses.”
Beverley Simms, Specialist Trustee for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at The British Horse Society comments: “It was a pleasure to welcome members, and their families, of the Nihang Singh Sikh Community to Eastminster and introduce them to some of the brilliant horses at the riding centre.
“It was wonderful seeing the excited faces of both children and adults as they admired the horses and ponies on show. The excitement grew further when many got the opportunity to have taster riding sessions.
“This was testament to the horse/human relationship, that the BHS advocate, and how it can be transformational for people’s wellbeing. It is great to be able to champion the benefits of horses for everyone to experience, particularly during a time when we are seeing our riding centres face great difficulties.
“This was a fantastic event to support that mission and I am looking forward to working more collaboratively with the Sikh Community on future initiatives.”
Mandan Mehran-Pour, Head of Participation at British Equestrian said: “What an incredible day! The atmosphere was amazing as participants of all ages embraced the opportunity to connect and bond with horses and experience riding.
“For many, this event marked their first encounter with horses which will hopefully ignite a lasting passion for horses and equestrian activities within the community.
Beyond the riding sessions, the event fostered meaningful connections and cultural exchange; the collective efforts and enthusiasm made this day remarkable. Thank you to all involved and the collective passion to make equestrian a truly diverse and inclusive sport.”
Jasmeet Singh, a member of the Nihang Singh community, played an important role in organising the day: “The BHS have worked with members of the Nihang Singh community to ensure that half a million Sikhs in the UK are able to participate in the sport, in a safe and inclusive way.
“This event is an example of positive community engagement, working to bring down barriers and build bridges between local community groups and public facing organisations. Critically, it has allowed us to showcase the diverse ways in which humanity has universally shared a love with horses.
“We welcome further engagements with the BHS, BEF and the wider equestrian community, and want to thank all those who worked with us to put on such a memorable community day.”
Established in 1947, Eastminster School of Riding are the longest serving BHS riding school and play a large role in their local community.
Deborah Scott-Garrett, Proprietor at Eastminster School of Riding said: “It was a privilege to host Jasmeet Singh and the Sikh community, and to showcase the important role horses can have in all our lives. It’s essential that we cherish this, and protect our riding schools, in order to ensure a diverse range of people, from all communities, can continue to benefit from that indescribable horse human bond.”
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