Stables buck the trend with expanding programme

Taking part in a ridden fancy dress event
Taking part in a ridden fancy dress event

THE recession might be a bumpy ride for some businesses, but Lavant House Stables near Chichester has defied the double dip economy and reported a 50 per cent increase in the number of adults learning to ride with them in the last 12 months.

As a result, their recently released activity programme for May – December 2012 is also 50 per cent bigger, a packed full of events for all ages and experiences including Own a Pony days, Bring a Friend days, Family riding days, Dressage, Cross Country and show jumping training, summer riding camps and a new full programme for adults.

“Our children’s Pony Club has been recognised as one of the largest and most active in the UK for many years” explained owner Lucy Thomson. “This year we didn’t want the children to have all the fun to themselves so we re-launched our Riding Club for the adults and a full year of events, training and learning opportunities around that.”

An increase in male riders has come as something of an unexpected but welcome surprise for the equestrian centre.

“We have more than 35 stunning horses here already, many with superb Spanish breeding, but they are not quite right for male riders so we have returned to Ireland to source more substantial horses specifically to cater for our male riders, she added.”

The new activity programme also features a full diary for those with their own horses at Livery at the Stables, which have trebled in numbers during the past year, and frequent professional training sessions for Lavant House Stables staff with legendary equestrian experts such as Robert Pickles FBHS.

“It’s important that we stay continually at the forefront of our profession, offering a safe, fun and structured place for people of all ages to ride on superb horses and ponies” Lucy Thomson continued. “Our success and activity programme is testament to how well we deliver just the right balance of everything.”

With the summer sun now making a full-time appearance, Lavant House have seen an influx of people booking to hack out into the South Downs National Park on their doorstep.

“The hacks are a fabulous opportunity for our staff to get out with customers and see some truly glorious countryside together on horseback. There’s no better way to see it, she said.”

Lucy’s qualifications include BHSI (Sm) & List 3 Dressage Judge. She has had extensive experience in both business and equestrian sectors and originally used the former to finance the latter, so that she was able to receive coaching from some of the world’s best trainers. The Training the Teachers of Tomorrow Trust and Captain Mark Phillips were of both of particular influence, and it is their classical, internationally recognised methods, that have been applied in the riding centre.

Lucy successfully competed in all three of the main affiliated disciplines - three-day eventing, dressage and show jumping and her daughter Amelia followed in her footsteps.

If you want to find out more about the stables, where a new cross-country coursem is being built this summer, see