An equestrian centre at a North Wales independent school has been restored, meaning that pupils can now stable their ponies and horses on the school site.
Myddelton College, which opened in 2016 taking over the premises of the former Howell’s School, spent £30,000 on the renovation.
Headmaster Andrew Allman said since the centre was opened by Olympic eventing gold medallist Princess Anne 15 years ago, it had been “sadly neglected and wasn’t really safe”.
Now, the centre has stabling for up to 10 horses and ponies, two 20-foot by 40-foot all-weather arenas and a 10-acre field – on top of easy access to a network of bridle paths in the surrounding Vale of Clwyd countryside.
Allman said: “We’re very pleased with the new facilities which mean pupils can stable their ponies and horses here, and while there is currently accommodation for 10 there is also room for expansion.
“The school has an outdoor ethos and we believe it’s so important for our students to learn about the world beyond the classroom and I think that has become even more vital during lockdown.
“Resilience is one of our key themes and this also gives them the opportunity to conquer challenges they might not otherwise have experienced in their lives.
“It’s something that has always been embedded into the timetable so that one day every fortnight they get out into the outdoors and it’s also an opportunity to build towards the Duke of Edinburgh Awards which we aim to help them achieve.”
Parent and former Welsh junior international show-jumper Ruth Hogan has four children at the school, including son Thomas in Year 12 who has followed in his mum’s tracks to represent Wales, and daughter Sophia, 11, who is due to join them in September.
Hogan said Myddelton College now has “some of the finest facilities in North Wales for riding and competing in equestrian events”.
The school already has a show-jumping team and hopes to soon have dressage and eventing teams as well. The school can organise specialist training for riding for all levels of abilities, including taster sessions for new riders.