Hundreds turn out for Cardiff Riding School open day

February 12, 2013 No Comments »

Cardiff Riding School opened its stables to 400 visitors yesterday.

It was in a bid to showcase its lessons to potential students and win support for its campaign against funding cuts.

Riders and volunteers who regularly ride at the school, including hundreds of children, came to the open morning. Last week, Cardiff Council said the school would remain open until a third party can be found to operate it but most members want to keep the school under council control despite current budget concerns.

Michelle McSorley, 37, spends 30 hours a week volunteering at the school and said she wouldn’t cope if it closed.

She said: “I had a one-month trial and now I’ve been here volunteering for just under two years.

“It’s made a dramatic improvement in my mental and emotional state of mind.”

Cardiff Riding School has had a huge amount of community support since the council’s plans were announced.

Jim Wood, chairman of Save the Stables Action Group, said the response has been fantastic.

He said: “On Saturday we had a stall on Queen Street and we had 1,034 signatures in a few hours.

“The range of people who come here is huge and it belongs to us all.

Instructor Marina Evans, who learnt to ride at the stables, said: “Devastation is not a strong word for how people have reacted.”

Cardiff Riding School demonstrated several lessons, including beginner, jump and riding for the disabled.

Marina said: “We want to show people what we do here and what our principles are.”

Ella, nine, said: “My favourite horses are Wizard, Polo, Giggs and Sophie. When I’m older I want to be a professional like Zara Phillips. I can trot, canter and jump.”

Christine McBeth, 48, from Llandaff, said she rides once a week with her two children.

“It’s one of the few council-funded riding schools in the country which I think is very important because it’s open to everybody,” she said.

Betty Gorzedowsla, 30, from Ely, said she wanted her two children, aged five and nine, to get involved.

She said: “My children love horses and I thought the open day was great.”

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