At the end of November, as the wet and windy weather briefly abated, King’s Hall and King’s College joined forces to open an exciting new facility – the King’s Schools Equestrian Centre.
Guests were given an introduction and a little history about the centre from King’s College Headmaster, Richard Biggs, and the new facility was then blessed by the School Chaplain, Father Mark.
King’s parent and patron of the centre, Joanna Chapple, cut the ribbon with a flourish and declared the centre officially open, commenting on how wonderful it was that King’s was promoting the benefits of riding. She believed that young people learnt a great about themselves through riding and through looking after horses.
With fairy lights, mince pies and mulled wine, some early Christmas cheer was enjoyed as the schools then celebrated the successes of their riders with a display from a number of their equestrian team members.
Head of Equestrian, Emma Edwards, who has been the driving force behind the development of the new facility, provided a commentary as each rider either completed a course of jumps, or demonstrated their skills in flatwork.
Commenting on the event, Emma said: “We are so excited to be officially opening this new facility. We are the first independent school in the area to open a riding centre for its pupils. We have pupils who have brought their own horses to stay at livery, but we also offer riding lessons, and for those wishing to experience owning a horse, we offer them the chance to loan one of our own King’s horses”.
She added: “The riders who have taken part today are such an impressively talented bunch – all with various skills and areas of specialism; we have those who successfully compete in national eventing, show jumping and dressage through to a talented multi-sports athlete who represents Great Britain in Pentathlon and Tetrathlon. This year, our team has represented King’s at a number of NSEA events: dressage, eventing, show jumping and the Eventer’s Challenge, with individuals who have won classes at prestigious events and gold medals at national pony competitions.
I’m extremely proud of their achievements and not only am I looking forward to seeing them developing further, I am also excited to be teaching (hopefully) the next generation of talented riders!”
Emma herself is an experienced horsewoman, having competed at many national events, including The Royal International and HOYS. She is a champion carriage driver, a qualified riding instructor and, as well as her equestrian duties, also manages to teach music and run a busy girls’ boarding house!