Riding & Driving Track Project

In 2020 the 'Big Give' fundraising event delivered a fantastic result through the generosity of our supporters and match funders, that allowed us to purchase a horse walker to keep our horses and ponies fit and healthy throughout the year. Our next big project is to create a 1.5km riding and driving track to allow us to offer our participants a greater variety of activities including participating in RDA Endurance. A second, later phase of the project will introduce an equine-accessible outdoor sensory trail designed to stimulate visual, auditory and olfactory senses.

Our current lease incorporates a 10-acre field, that we use for the production of hay in the summer and for autumn grazing, which helps keep our autumn and winter horse welfare costs down. The field perimeter, currently unfenced, is close to 1.5km. We propose to install a fence around the 10-acre field allowing a perimeter track 3 to 4 metres wide to create a 1.5 km track suitable for both horse riding and carriage driving. This will create a versatile, safe and enjoyable environment, accessible without using public roads where our participants can enjoy time outdoors and perhaps spot the odd deer, hare or buzzard that make their home in our fabulous rural setting.

In addition to the positive health benefits of being outdoors this facility will offer greater variety and additional challenges for our participants including the opportunity to take part in the RDA Endurance riding and driving distance league table and potentially progress towards competitions. Distances begin at 1km and work up to 5km with a focus on achievement and enjoyment.

As well as benefits for our participants, enclosing the field will extend the period for which the field can be used for grazing as currently we depend on temporary electric fencing to create a secure boundary that, for practical reasons, limits the area of the field that can be used for grazing. This offers the potential to reduce our equine welfare costs during the autumn months.

The cost is in the fencing of the field in a way that both creates the track and facilitates access to the field for hay production and grazing. The current estimate from our fencing contractor for the fencing installation required to create the riding and driving track along with gates to allow access to for hay production and grazing is £23,688, a truly ambitious target but one that would deliver huge benefits.