Put your riding and sporting skills to the test with a morning of fun gymkhana-style competeitions. Age 7 upwards
A one day course with loads to learn about caring for the horses, starting with a theory session with BHS registered instructor, Karen Hudson, followed by a one-hour trek and an afternoon of practical experience working with the horses on the yard.
Celebrate our Open Day and Save Money
Come and see our new Indoor Arena, Bistro, Conference Facilities and meet our horses. Get £5.00 off all bookings made and paid for on the day.
We have demonstrations throughout the day catering for all age groups and abilities in our Indoor Arena. Outdoors you can meet the team, our horses and try your hand at the Bucking Bronco ride while savouring a hog roast.
The Days Events on 22nd April 2017
Indoors in Our Arena
|Introduction to Riding
Demonstration by our Little Chasers
Demonstration by our Little Chasers
Demonstration with BHS Registered Instructor, Karen
|Equifit / Equilates
Demonstration with REPS Registered Instructor, Nicky
|Meet the Farrier
Watch Karl at work with our horses
|Natural Horsemanship / Bareback
Demonstration with Lisa
|Stallion Zidane parades his foals
Dakota, Oregon, Indiana, Arizona, Montana
Outside at the Trekking Centre
|10.00am – Midday
|Meet the horses and the team
|Bucking Bronco Ride & Hog Roast
|2.00pm – 4.00pm
|Meet the horses and the team
Another ‘first’ to ‘aid’ our skills here at the trekking centre. Yesterday I got my FPOS – First Person On The Scene – qualification. Now I feel confident I can deal with most scenarios after passing a fantastic first aid course that is the most advanced a student can take outside the emergency services.
And I didn’t even have to leave home to do it – as our amazing new visitors’ centre is the base for the course and the plan is there will be a first aid course every month staged here.
The FPOS – First Person On The Scene – courses are run by Duncan Parsonage and Mike Taylor, who have years of experience in the emergency services under their belts and now run Abacus Training.
Successful students gain an internationally recognised BTEQ qualification. There were eight students on the first course, including me and even a couple of bodyguards who provide close protection for celebrities. And I’m happy to report a 100 per cent pass rate.
It was so interesting and quite challenging and covered everything from cardiac arrests to fractures and major bleeds. The aim is that the first aider has enough knowledge and skill to keep an emergency situation under control until the paramedics arrive. I really feel confident that I can now do that, especially as the visitors’ centre has an excellent medical room, first aid resources and we also carry a defibrillator.
So, going forward me and my horse Chase could be responding to any medical incidents on Cannock Chase. With my close access to the Chase I could be called out to help as a first line of treatment and I am a lot more comfortable in any scenario.
Abacus offer training from basic first aid right up to this qualification, which can be used as a stepping stone towards a job with the emergency services. Duncan and Mike are so delighted with the success of the first course that they are now planning an equestrian version, aimed at people who work in the equine industry. The facilities we can offer here can provide all sorts of learning situations for the students. Anyone interested in joining a future Abacus course can contact the Trekking Centre.
Have you been to see us yet in our stunning new equestrian centre? And if not, why not? Come and see what everyone is talking about!
Our regular riders are enjoying state of the art facilities and ranch-style comfort and new clients are here every week to savour a taste of ‘Apres Horse’. We are also attracting lots of non-riding visitors who are calling in to take a look.
It’s now a few weeks since the visitors’ centre was opened and we are happily settled in. Our bistro is buzzing at weekends as our riders enjoy tasty food and drinks after an invigorating trek on the Chase, and there is a lovely cosy feel now that the log burner is blazing on chilly autumn days.
As you all know, I have been planning this for such a long time and it is everything I hoped it would be.
Sometimes equestrian centres can feel a little bit cold and offhand, but our treks now feel like friends going out for a ride on my horses and coming back to my place for a coffee.
And from a health and safety aspect, we are now in a much better place. The check-in area is well designed and efficient, riders can gather without feeling they are getting in the way and we have lovely bathroom and hand-washing facilities.
The horses are close and in full view but there is no danger of people accidentally straying among them.
Now we are busy planning lots of new activities. Our function room is already booked for an FPOS first-responder training course and is available for meetings, conferences and children’s birthday parties.
The indoor arena is open three days a week for lessons and children’s pony club. Quite a lot of clients are combining lessons with treks. And I’m thinking of organising a ‘pony club’ for adults too. That could be a lot of fun with a tasty supper in the lodge afterwards!
Another of my ideas is to trek very early on summer mornings. We can ride out over the Chase to spot the wildlife in the quiet and beauty of the dawn and then return for a well-earned breakfast.
Or how about an evening barbecue ride? That could be great for people who work full time. They could come straight to us and enjoy a ride before a lovely meal.
We have so much to look forward to as we head towards 2017. Come and enjoy it with us.
A Taste of Après-Horse at Cannock Chase Trekking Centre
When I gave up modelling for a career with horses, I dreamed of establishing an equestrian centre that would bring visitors flocking to my beloved Cannock Chase, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Since establishing Cannock Chase Trekking Centre, we receive around 17,000 visitors per year, all enjoying the beauty of the Staffordshire countryside on horseback.
Now, 21 years later, I have taken my dream to the next level with the opening of a unique architect-designed cedar lodge offering a touch of ‘après horse’ for all visitors to the Centre.
The lodge, which includes a ranch-style bistro and coffee shop with seating for 70 and meeting / conference room facilities, is part of the first phase of a major redevelopment of the horse trekking centre.
It was always my vision to make horse riding accessible and enjoyable for all and to provide a unique experience, and now that ambition is coming true and it’s very exciting. This has been years in planning and I can hardly believe that I am there!
The visitor centre is absolutely stunning. I always had a clear picture of what I wanted it to look like, but the real thing exceeds that vision. As far as I know there is nowhere like it in the country. Maybe I’m biased but it really has the wow factor and this has been confirmed by the feedback from the many visitors already enjoying it.
It has a beautiful coffee shop area with floor-to-ceiling glass offering panoramic views out to the Chase. The lovely outdoor seating area mirrors those views and our visitors are able to see the horses coming and going on the treks. We have installed a log burner so it is all cosy on cold winter days.
I have incorporated into the design a conference area and that is already attracting a lot of interest from organisations looking to use it for sales conferences and corporate team building events. We are also looking to offer a unique twist on fitness with exercise classes on horseback.
The ability to offer a variety of coffees sourced locally and provide a tasty and interesting menu means that visitors have a really pleasant experience. And, of course, all our riders have been really looking forward to ending their treks with a hot coffee and a piece of delicious home-made cake!
A huge indoor arena has also been built to facilitate – for the first time since the trekking centre was established in 1995 – riding lessons for all ages and abilities and a BHS registered instructor is already at work and proving very popular.
Phase two of the development will include an American-style barn with stabling for 46 horses complete with laundry facilities.
Of course, the core of the trekking centre will always be our rides across Cannock Chase, but this development means that we can offer a whole new experience to our visitors and enjoy a shared passion for horses.
Becoming a reality
The whole construction project has become reality now! We’re coming ever nearer to the time when we will actually be riding in the indoor arena or sipping coffee and eating cake in the visitors’ centre. The pace of construction really stepped up after week seven when we started to see the shape of the windows and doorways.
It was a milestone week when areas of the exterior block work were finished up to roof level and the builders moved inside. It wasn’t long before the roof trusses were delivered, soon followed by the steel and in the weeks that followed work was progressing nicely and the visitors’ centre grew and grew.
The last of the trusses have now been fitted and hopefully in the next week work will start on the roof itself.
The next exciting stage of the construction project will be when the windows go in and the external cedar wood panelling is fitted.
My interior designer friend has been to visit. Her vision for the building is the same as mine and we had a good look at things, like how the reception area will be designed and working out what is going to be in the kitchen.
I’m not going to tell you much about the interior yet – I will save that for later blogs – but I will say that I have chosen the log burner. I hope you are all going to be looking forward to the variety of food and drink on offer whatever the weather, hot chocolate in front of the fire after a cold winter trek on the Chase, or in the summer enjoy cooling off on our terrace
Meanwhile, over at the arena, work has been progressing rapidly! The gable end panelling has been completed and the side panels have gone on and are being painted to match the rest of the building. I am happy that I decided to go with a covered arena rather than an indoor, we have beautiful views and it is a shame to block it all out! Just imagine having a schooling session with views of Cannock Chase.
Things keep getting more exciting by the day, I am really looking forward to the next stages of the project!
Progress on our New Equestrian Centre – Weeks 4, 5 & 6
What a surprise I had when I returned home from a few days away to discover we now had the complete framework of an indoor arena, the first building that will be complete for our new equestrian centre! I just can’t believe how quickly it went up – there was nothing there when I left.
Progress on the whole site has followed the same theme; the contractors are making steady and excellent progress with every day that passes. I am sure all you riders notice a difference every time you visit. Here’s how the new equestrian centre project has moved on during weeks four, five & six:
The blockwork started on the visitors’ centre and quickly grew up to floor level. The sub base was laid and we could now clearly see how the layout will look when the building is complete. It also gave us a good impression of the surrounding outside area, which visitors will be able to enjoy too. The septic tank was also installed and the team started laying the drainage around the visitors’ centre.
This was the week when the magic happened! The crane arrived to lift the arena’s steel supports into place.
We were told it would fly up once the work started, and the builders were right about that! From start to finish the whole process took just three days and there it was, perfectly timed for my return home. It’s all ready for the cladding and the roof to go on in two weeks’ time.
There was more progress too on the visitors’ centre, with the concrete cast for the floor. And outside the car park area started to take shape with the ground levelled off.
No big dramas this week, just nice steady progress.
The crew finished all the drainage around the visitors’ centre and then continued with the block work so that the walls are continuing to grow. Then it was on to painting the steel framework in the arena, so the primer and a couple of protective coats went on.
We can’t wait to see what changes weeks seven and eight will bring.
I keep saying how delighted I am with the way our lovely horses take everything in their stride, but they have really been exceptional lately. They were not worried in the slightest by the sight of the crane swinging the steel beams into place for the arena. Some of them were, in fact, setting off for a ride while the work was at its busiest, and were totally chilled out about the whole thing. And later we caught sight of a group of them peeping over the fence to have a look at it. Perhaps they were imagining themselves cantering around in there. They are just amazing – I’m so proud of them.
We’re two more weeks into our new build now and progress so far has been amazing with all the ground works pretty much completed. We can barely take our eyes off it because we can see changes every day.
Week 2 – 1st February 2016
Week two saw the massive excavations extended and the foundations completely dug out for the visitors’ centre, giving us the chance to see its lay-out for the first time.
The indoor arena – where our old mounting up paddock used to be – was dug out, the area levelled and the stone sub-base for the arena floor laid and rolled.
Week 3 – 8th February 2016
Week three brought another big step forward as the first of the concrete lorries came trundling down the drive.
The holes that will take the steel frame of the arena were dug out and the holding down bolts were cast in readiness for the structural steelwork to be lifted into place.
Now we can clearly see the floor plan and picture how big it will be when it is finished. I’ve been pacing it out on an imaginary horse! And the girls and I can already visualise ourselves riding in there.
The visitors’ centre lay-out is now quite clear – you can probably all see it as you drive down to the car park – with the concrete foundations all finished. Now it’s all ready now for the brickwork to start and that will happen this week.
That will be great to see because then it will really be taking shape and I think the rate of progress will speed up as the walls go up. The next big moment to look forward to is the arrival of the steel.
It does feel as if we are living in the middle of a building site but it’s all going to be worth it in the end.
From the trekking centre’s point of view, everything seems to be going great. Riding out from the field behind the car park hasn’t caused any problems and the horses are taking everything in their stride.
Having heavy machinery rumbling round their home doesn’t worry them at all. And although we’re a little short of room on the yard on busy days, they are more than happy to share stable space and double up with their pals.
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