I have said previously how I visited Breeze recently and was very impressed with their activities for young people, so where next? I was introduced to the Middleton Park Equestrian Centre by Jack Dunn who is a trustee there. I was so impressed when visiting the Centre, a real jewel of Middleton Park itself, although hard to find if you don’t know the area as it’s hidden behind the John Charles Centre and nestled into the trees of the park, it’s a fantastic facility.
The Middleton Equestrian Centre offers a range of activities including; Horse Riding, Carriage Riding, Hacking, Pony Days, Dressage, Jumping and opportunities for volunteering.
Non-disabled riding is available from 2 years old which shocked me a little, I was lucky enough to see some people with disabilities riding on the carriages and the delight in their faces will stay with me for ever, these people clearly get so much out of the experience and the staff were clearly very well trained to deal with a wide range of people of varying disabilities.
I was allowed to look around and see the facility for myself, lots of stables (for 23 horses and ponies) and three arenas, two indoor and one outdoor as well as paddocks for the horses. The Manager there told me the organisation has recently lost over £80,000 of funding, which has had a massive effect on the services provided there. I was told that despite the cuts the organisation has managed to keep staffed with 6 Full time and 9 part time staff, not to mention the 3 hard working apprentices.
The main reason the Centre is still going is partly down to donations and sponsors of the horses which are a massive help; horses can be sponsored for £500 a year and event sponsors are also welcomed. Hire of the classroom and kitchen facilities is also available, contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help or want to hire facilities. A donation can also be made at www.mpec-rda.co.uk/wordpress/donations
For more information call: (0113) 277 1962. Middleton Park Equestrian Centre is located at Middleton Grove, Leeds, LS11 5TZ.
Opening Times: Monday to Thursday, 8am-8pm and Friday to Sunday, 8am-5pm.
This post was written by Wayne Dixon.