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Making Riding More Accessible

Updated: Aug 8, 2022

Working in collaboration with Lydia Heywood, event rider representing Jamaica, the Avon Centre and St James’ City farm are delighted to be able to offer a horse experience day for riders from underrepresented backgrounds.

Typically in the UK, the equestrian industry remains open to the white upper to upper-middle class. It can be intimidating for people from underrepresented backgrounds to try and break into equestrian sports, and we hope this day will provide a stepping stone into the industry and help build confidence.

“When Lydia first came to the centre to explain her vision of making the equestrian industry more accessible to underrepresented communities, her passion really came across,” said Claire from the Avon Centre. “Our goals aligned perfectly as during the pandemic we set in motion the process of extending our charitable objectives to include disadvantage as well as disability. We are delighted to be able to support Lydia and Imran with this project and are excited to collaborate more in the future.”

The day will consist of working with riders from the City Farm, its sister project, the Friendship Café Girl’s Group, and guests invited by Lydia, to teach them some stable management and horse care, a lecture and demo from Lydia and talks from equine professionals including Bescoby Equine Vets about different career paths within the industry.

“We’re really looking forward to taking this group of girls to have a pony experience day and demo from experienced riders at The Avon Centre,” said Imran from St James’ City Farm. “These types of events all help change the preconceptions that many non-riders have about the horse world and whether they can be a part of it or not.”

The team hopes the day will go some way to breaking down the barriers that participants face when pursuing their passion within the equine industry and go home feeling inspired.

“Thank you to the Avon Centre for hosting our Cool Ridings Horse Experience Day,” said Lydia, founder of Cool Ridings. “The great outdoors awaits and our group of 30 young people will be interacting with horses big and small, building on their knowledge and making lasting friendships. As a rider representing a developing nation I know first hand that seeing relatable riders is empowering and essential as we take steps to improve diversity in the equestrian industry. It is exciting to be delivering another project that will create excitement in communities that have not been participating heavily in equestrian sport and I welcome enquiries about how to get involved in future initiatives.”

Sporting Heritage are proud to support community sporting heritage activity across the UK through a programme of locally focussed projects which celebrate National Sporting Heritage Day on the 30th September every year. Follow the action @sportinghistory. #NSHD2022

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