Land Rover ambassador and London 2012 hero, Ben Maher, took time out of his busy international show jumping schedule to spend some time with the young members of Ebony Horse Club today.
Ebony Horse Club is a charity which has brought horse riding to the doorstep of some of London’s most disadvantaged young people, and helped to improve their life skills, education and aspirations.
Land Rover, who is a long term supporter of equestrianism, including a partnership with the British Equestrian Federation, arranged for the former world number one rider to spend the afternoon with several young members of Ebony Horse Club ahead of competing in the Global Champions Tour in London this weekend. Ben gave the young equestrian fans some expert riding tuition and some helpful horse care advice as well as meeting the Club’s most famous resident ‘Pedro’ the Shetland pony.
Maher, who is hoping to be selected for the 2015 European Championships later this year, said: “It’s a real privilege to come to Ebony Horse Club on behalf of Land Rover. I have met some wonderful young people today, some of which have great riding skills and horsemanship. You can’t underestimate the effect that horses can have on people and so for these kids to be able to regularly partake in this sport right in the heart of their inner city community is brilliant.
Susan Collins, Chair of Trustees, Ebony Horse Club said: “One of our aims is to encourage involvement in sport, especially for teenagers where a drop off rate is the greatest and when young people living in this area are most at risk from gang culture, drugs and other negative influences. It is inspiration for them to have an athlete of Ben’s calibre to visit.”
“Within the three years that we have had our centre, ten of our members have moved on in to further education, nine of them in Equine Studies. This is quite an achievement for kids growing up in Brixton.”
As well as giving some riding lessons, Ben Maher presented some much needed new horse equipment to Ebony Horse Club donated by Land Rover, including horse rugs and saddle pads for the ten horses and ponies that are stabled in Brixton.
Land Rover has supported equestrian sport in the UK for over 25 years. Their current equestrian portfolio includes leading riders such as Zara Phillips and Laura Tomlinson, as well as being title sponsor of both the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials and a partner of Guard’s Polo Club.
Ebony Horse Club relies entirely on donations, grant giving trusts, foundations and corporate organisations. For more information on how to donate visit www.ebonyhorseclub.org.uk
If you would like to find out more on how you can get involved in horse riding visit the British Equestrian Federation's participation programme Hoof, for details on local riding centres and how to take those first steps into the sport. www.hoofride.co.uk