Girls at a Blackpool charity group are giving their fitness a boost thanks to a Marton horse riding school and a multi-million Lottery fund.
Wendy Ellis, owner of Midgeland Riding School on Midgeland Road, applied for a chunk of Sport England’s £56 million ‘Sportivate’ Lottery fund to provide horse riding lessons to girls from Aspired Futures youth support group.
Six girls aged 10 and above are now enjoying six weeks of professional horse riding training free of charge.
Wendy said: “It’s absolutely great.
“This is the second course that we have done with Aspired Futures. We have had 100 per cent attendance from everyone so far and their progression has been fantastic.
“Some of the girls have been quite nervous at first and we have had a bit of apprehension but everyone has vastly improved about being with the horses as well as riding them.
“Sportivate has given the opportunity for a lot of different people to experience riding and to have six weeks of riding to give them the chance to decide whether it’s right for them.
“It gives the chance to people who would not otherwise have had the opportunity to try the sport - that’s the great thing about it.It’s reaching out to people with disabilities and children who have had a hard start in life.
“We first did Sportivate with children from Woodlands School and some of them are still with us now.”
Carmen Conquer, director of services at Aspired Futures, said: “Through the horse riding service we are introducing the children to a sport they would not usually get to do.
“It’s a way of introducing sport to young women.
“Horse riding is an expensive sport but it’s also very therapeutic. It wasn’t by coincidence that we chose it as a sport. It can help young people get in tune with themselves and help them manage their emotions.
“The girls love it. They were nervous at first because most of them had never even been near a horse before, but the riding school has been very good with them.
“All the expensive equipment such as the horse riding hats and saddles was provided for them.
“We’re hoping to continue this with Sportivate to make sure that horse riding continues to be available to a wide group of people.”