The Olympic gold medal-winning success of 58-year-old British showjumper Nick Skelton seems to be rubbing off, proving it’s never too late to enjoy horse riding. Dizzy Jones, 60, from Goring-by-Sea, West Sussex, seized the chance to get a feel for life in the saddle when the Take up the Reins campaign’s mechanical horse RoboCob visited Ilam Park (Thursday 25 August), encouraging everyone to #GetHorsey.
Dizzy has set herself a challenge to do something different every month of her landmark year and followed a parachute jump last month with a ride on RoboCob at the National Trust venue, near Ashbourne, Derbyshire.
The Take up the Reins campaign, devised by the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) and supported by Hoof, the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) participation initiative to encourage more people into the sport*, aims to get those of all ages and backgrounds connecting with horses.
All those who have a ride on RoboCob on the Take up the Reins Tour of Great Britain receive a goody bag with a booklet on getting started and vouchers for a £10 Equine Taster Experience (towards a riding session) and a free pair of riding gloves when buying their first pair of jodhpurs and boots.
“People are really getting to understand the advantages of being around horses – not just the sheer pleasure of riding in open countryside, but also the health benefits,” said BETA executive director Claire Williams. “Seeing Charlotte Dujardin and 58-year-old Nick Skelton win gold medals in Rio is also encouraging for those who have thought of riding but never tried it. Take up the Reins is really capturing the public’s imagination.”
For further information, visit www.takeupthereins.co.uk