Riders treble at horse riding centre after move to Shropshire

A horse riding centre has seen the number of young riders signing up to lessons treble since its move to a Shropshire estate earlier this year.

Alexander Newport with Denise O'Reilly
Alexander Newport with Denise O'Reilly

Owner of The Dressage Secret Riding Centre, Denise O’Reilly, said she believed lockdown had helped to boost demand for outdoor activities as families looked to start new hobbies and develop their passions.

Since May, the number of young riders at the centre on The Bradford Estates at Tong, near Shifnal, has gone from just over 20 to almost 70.

The number of adult students has also seen a similar increase.

Denise, who has more than 30 years’ experience as a coach, said she was delighted to see a renewed interest in riding and dressage.

“Our move to Shropshire and the Bradford Estates has allowed us to expand so we are delighted to be able to welcome all these new young riders keen to either start their journey in riding and dressage or progress to a more advanced level,” added Denise,who trained with the internationally renowned coach and author Mary Wanless.

"During the first lockdown, I think families had a chance to regroup and talk about their passions and what they wanted to do and I think we all rediscovered a love of the outdoors and being active.”

The former nurse, who retrained to devote her time to her own passion for riding and sharing it with others, said this year has also sparked a more determined effort to make that decision to sign up for lessons.

“Of course we are new to the Shropshire scene having previously been based in Stafford and we have these wonderful new facilities which have attracted extra interest," she said.

"But I think this year has been very much about wanting to learn something new or giving more time to develop the talents and skills that bring you a real sense of joy and accomplishment with those who are experts in that field.”

Facilities at the centre include an outdoor arena and a covered arena with viewing gallery both with brand new X-Ride surfaces.

A team of highly experienced coaches lead a busy schedule of training with ten horses at the centre.

Denise also has ambitious plans for 2021 which include more specialised and intensive courses for riders from overseas.

She praised the team at the Bradford Estates for easing the transition to Shropshire and continuing to support her plans to provide a world-leading training centre.

“They have been really wonderful and I am so delighted to be here at this location," she added.

"It works perfectly for what we are trying to achieve and I feel a real sense of community around us."

Alexander Newport, managing director of Bradford Estates, said he was pleased that Denise’s move had proved fruitful.

“It’s always daunting to relocate a business, which is why we’re thrilled that things have worked out so well for Denise," he said.

"Considering the year we’ve had, it’s fantastic to see so many businesses on the estates thriving.

"While many people are aware that we have farmland on the estates, they’re not always aware of the diverse number of businesses we have flourishing here.

“We’re very much looking forward to seeing The Dressage Secret Riding Centre realise its ambitions for growth in the future, and as landlords, we will be doing all that we can to support Denise.”

TDS Riding Centre caters for riders of all levels and abilities, from beginners and children's lessons up to the 'Dressage Secret' lessons for those more advanced.

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