It’s The Dawn Of A New Era At The Trekking Centre!

Well, the great day is nearly here!

After all the days, months and years of dreaming and planning, we are about to start work on our wonderful new trekking centre.

All we need is a confirmed date from our builders and the first bricks can be laid. I can hardly believe it and I am so excited.

For the last few years we have had lots of dreams for the centre. After 20 years here I felt that we were either going to have to downscale or really up our game.

The facilities are getting a little tired now and after much thought we decided to go for it! We are putting into action a plan for a whole new equestrian complex.

We obtained planning permission and now, this month, ground can finally be broken.

The new centre will comprise a visitors’ centre containing a contemporary coffee shop, a training and conference area, toilets, showers and a shop. A brand new indoor arena will complete the first phase.

The second phase will include 46 new stables with wash areas, laundry rooms, tack rooms and foaling boxes.

The visitors’ centre will be built of cedar wood and glass with a lovely viewing area. We see it as a relaxing place to come and we envisage all sorts of activities going on there.

We will be able to host hen parties, birthday parties, well being days, corporate days and a retreat centre with a holistic theme.

Food and drink will be healthy – but we’re planning a few naughties as well, especially as my mum is a cake designer. You can be sure there will be some delicious treats on offer.

We’re also planning kit hire and merchandising and we’re looking forward to organising some pony club evenings.

There will also be a medical room and myself and the staff are undertaking our training to become a first responder horse unit. We felt we needed to be self contained following the closure of the A and E Unit in Stafford.

The development will give us the chance to offer all sorts of fun activities, including breakfast rides and evening barbeque rides.

I’ve never intended to provide formal lessons because there are a lot of excellent riding schools in the county.

But we have a lot of clients who would like to push themselves a little further with the horses they love and trust, especially our younger riders. So we have some exciting plans for unconventional activities that we hope lots of clients will enjoy.

This is such an exciting time in the history of our centre. The future is looking really bright – come along with us for the ride!

Horse Of The Month – Larosa, March 2015

Welcome to horse of the month – our new regular feature here on the centre’s website.

Every month we’re going to feature one of the horses you all love so much – and who better to start with than our beautiful Larosa.

All the centre’s regulars will know that the excitement is growing because Larosa is expecting a new addition to our herd.

Larosa, a gorgeous bay Welsh Section D, is in foal to Zidane, our coloured Dutch Warmblood stallion. Everyone is talking about what the new arrival might be. The due date is May 20 – but breeding horses is always a case of wait and see.

We have had Larosa – Lola for short – for three years. She arrived as an unbroken five-year-old and proved a quick learner, always bold and confident. It wasn’t too long before our clients were enjoying riding her on the Chase.

That was one of the reasons we decided to breed from her, even though she is quite young. She is very popular here at the centre. We haven’t got enough Lolas to go around, so we decided we needed a baby one coming along behind.

Another reason for putting her in foal is that she is the ‘Nanny McPhee’ of our herd. She loves the youngsters and becomes surrogate mum to all our weanlings.

Our stud vet has loved her from the moment she first met her, and recommended it was time she had a baby of her very own.

We are counting down the days now. It is the first time we have covered a bay with Zidane and we are so excited to see what colour the little one will be.

Zidane’s offspring here at the centre start with Dakota, who was born coloured, a flashy black and white just like his dad. Now he is a spotted Appaloosa – the same as Nicoh, his mum.

Then there is Whispa’s son Oregon, who is dun with black points and a dorsal stripe. Last year’s foals are Indiana – Nicoh’s second baby – who was born a chocolate bay but is now steel grey, and Arizona, who was born a skewbald like mum Tia and has retained her original markings.

All their colourings seem to take after their mothers, and I have seen pictures of some of Zidane’s earlier babies, born before he came to us. One was coloured and another was bay.

In my mind Larosa is having a boy and he is bay. But one of the exciting things about breeding is that you simply don’t know, so we will be having a sweepstake for a bit of fun. Keep a lookout when you come to the centre and have a go. There’ll be a prize for the winner.

Larosa is thriving in pregnancy. She looks great after wintering out, but she’s now coming in at night to the comfort of her foaling box. For a maiden mare she has a really big baby bump so we’re keeping a close watch on her.

The cameras in the box are linked to a monitor in my house and I am studying her night time routine carefully so that as the due date gets closer I will spot any tiny changes in her behaviour. From now on we will also be looking for signs of the formation of her udder. I will take pictures so we can identify the changes.

When the birth is imminent I will go into the stable with her to make sure everything goes smoothly and she has no difficulties. Once the foal is standing and drinking I will leave the pair of them alone to enjoy some quiet bonding time together.

I have no doubt at all that Larosa will be a wonderful mum. She has wanted a baby of her own for so long that it is just great her time is nearly here.

We know how interested all Larosa’s friends are so we are looking into the technology of showing the foaling box feed on our website. We would love you all to share in this beautiful experience so keep an eye on our Facebook page for news.

Summer’s Just Around The Corner

Summer’s just around the corner and here at the centre we’re already getting excited about sunny days, long leisurely rides with pub lunches – and exciting gallops on the beach.

All our summer activities are great fun, but the highlight is our holiday in Wales. We’ve been going for four years now and we have a fabulous time. The horses enjoy it as much as we do!

We are based at Abergwynant Farm, near Dolgellau, for three days of beach and mountain rides and swimming the horses in the sea. We stay in comfortable self-catering cottages on the farm, and your horse is exactly that – yours to care for and ride for the whole of your stay.

And we have a brilliant time in the evening too. The social side is great and our riders have all become firm friends.

The holidays are so popular that last year we branched out and ran two – one in July and a second in August.

That experiment was such a success that this year we’re doing the same – and have come up with another new plan to ensure that as many of our clients as possible can join in the fun.

I will be based in Wales with the horses for a whole week in July and another in August, and the riders will come to me.

There will be a three-day holiday on July 13th, 14th and 15th (cost £510), followed by another on July 16th, 17th and 18th.

A third three-day holiday will be on August 8th, 9th and 10th.

August 11th will be a one-day beach ride (£150), something we are doing for the first time. I hope this will be a real treat for any riders who can’t make one of the three-day breaks.

Then the horses will have a day off before we finish with another three-day holiday on August 13th, 14th and 15th.

We still have some vacancies, so contact the centre for more details. This will be Cannock Chase on tour – come and join us!

I have another plan for short riding breaks – but this time we’ll be staying on the Chase. The idea is to do some two-day weekend trail rides, staying overnight at a lovely B and B that we have used before. We’ll stop for pub lunches or have a picnic delivered to us on the trek.

We’ll be catering for small groups only and my ultimate aim is that at some stage we will be able to let experienced clients ride the trail by themselves.

We haven’t set any dates for this yet, so please contact the centre if you are interested and we will put our plans into action.