TDS Riding School employees left-right Chloe Sadler, Anya Longhurst, Lucy Faulkner, Denise O'Reilly, Zoe Hodgkiss and Jess Jennings

A Shifnal riding centre located on the Bradford Estates is upskilling its employees and offering inclusive lessons as part of a new initiative to encourage young people to try the sport.

TDS Riding Centre located on Friars Lane in Tong, near Shifnal, has launched an innovative club for youngsters aged between 5 and 16 to learn to ride while learning new skills and gaining confidence.

The TDS Riding Club which launched in January has so far welcomed 144 young people by delivering lessons, educational sessions and the opportunity to learn new skills such as grooming, land management, pony health and footcare.

The centre, which has nine members of staff and six volunteers, will fund the cost of training for its employees to deliver the Riding Club lessons and educational sessions which take place every Saturday and Sunday.

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Bradford Estates funded the construction of the centre’s classroom and replacement of wooden stairs, whilst McManus Flooring Ltd provided vinyl sports and safety flooring.

The National Equine Forum announced that 250 riding schools have closed in the last four years due to the economic crisis, which equates to 15% of the UK total and is the equivalent of 1.5 million lessons lost.

TDS Riding Centre owner Denise O’Reilly commented: “The cost-of-living squeeze has seen a dramatic reduction in the number of young people being able to afford horse riding lessons. We are saddened and wanted to launch a programme that enables young people to learn at a heavily subsidised rate.

“As a Club member our young riders have the opportunity to take part in events, hacks and most importantly engage in our educational modules to give them the skills and confidence to groom a horse, understand the correct equipment to use and build their confidence around horses.

“An exciting aspect of the Club is the training and development opportunities for the team. The training we provide our employees opens up a whole host of career pathways such as grooms and coaching.”

Bradford Estates Managing Director Alexander Newport added: “Denise and the team at TDS Riding Centre have established a fantastic opportunity which encompasses the upskilling of her workforce as well as creating affordable riding opportunities for young people.”

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