Trail-riding, trekking, hacking or just riding out – whatever you call it, there’s no finer way to enjoy the Dales scenery than from horseback. Dozens of riders will do just that when they set off from Horton-in-Ribblesdale on June 17th to celebrate the opening of a brand-new part of the Pennine Bridleway.
Natural England have developed the trail over many years, negotiating access across previously inaccessible land and creating a trail to a high standard with well-surfaced tracks which are a delight to ride along. Better still, most of the gates now have horse-friendly high-level catches. Janet Cochrane, one of the ride organisers, rode the route recently and comments “it was brilliant not to have to keep getting off and on again for the gates – we went through about half-a-dozen and didn’t have to dismount once!”
Janet is a director of the Ride Yorkshire Foundation, which develops and promotes leisure riding across Yorkshire. They have the pleasant job of running a funride as part of the celebrations to launch the Pennine Bridleway, and are working closely with local members of the British Horse Society to organise it.
Gill Woods, Ride Yorkshire’s local coordinator for the Dales, is delighted with the new facility. “We’ve been developing circular rides to link with the new trail, and we’re expecting it to give a boost to local horse and rider B&Bs and catering businesses.” Gill, who knows the area around her Selside home well from exploring it – appropriately – on her Dales ponies, has identified 8 and 11 mile circular routes for the June 17th pleasure ride using long stretches of the Pennine Bridleway as well as quiet lanes and bridleways.
Proceeds from the ride will be split between the British Horse Society to support their work of maintaining equestrian access to the countryside and the Ride Yorkshire Foundation. Ride Yorkshire supports riding for disadvantaged groups, including children and adults with physical, learning and emotional disabilities. There’s plenty of evidence to show that contact with horses can help to bring calmness and confidence into people’s lives, and Janet, Gill and other members of the team are looking forward to seeing more of this activity in the Dales.
Entry for the funride costs £20 (including food – catering is provided by the Crown, at Horton-in-Ribblesdale). For details, see the Ride Yorkshire website at www.rideyorkshire.org or contact Janet Cochrane, [email protected], tel. 07773 422413.
Also, either Janet or Gill would be pleased to hear from people willing to provide horse & rider B&B along the Pennine Bridleway – there are starting to be a number of enquiries, and more places to stay with safe grazing are needed.