Eight wonders of 2016

This has been one of the most exciting years we have ever had here at Cannock Chase Trekking Centre.
I think every month has brought us something thrilling, from the start of the redevelopment to putting the gorgeous Tia back in foal to my Dutch warmblood stallion Zidane; from starting our lovely Longdon weekend trail rides to a hugely successful Sheriff’s Ride.
I am looking forward so much to what 2017 brings us, but here is my look back – Eight Wonders Of 2016.

Number One: This has to be the start of our new build back in January. I had been waiting for so many years to redevelop the centre, and here were the diggers to break ground and get under way with our fabulous lodge building and our covered arena.

Unfortunately the weather was wet and it was the start of weeks of living and working surrounded by mud, but it was a small price to pay. It was very strange working with machinery and builders all around us and sending treks out from the back field, but staff, clients and horses all took it in their stride. W
e were all so excited – we were going from “The Pits” to “The Ritz”.
Number Two: The completion of the indoor riding arena. It was fantastic to have such great facilities, with mirrors, flood lights and a state of the art Martin Collins floor. Now we could start riding lessons, bring on board our coach Karen Hudson, and ride in any weathers and at any time of day or night. The world is our oyster!
Number Three: Starting pony clubs for young riders. We now offer club activities in three age groups ranging from four to sixteen. There’s lots of games, fun, riding and learning about ponies. Now I am looking at one for adults too! And I have loads more plans, including Western riding, horse ball and mounted archery.
Number Four:

Fitness classes. I am a strong believer in the importance of physical fitness to aid riding, and as the year came to a close we were able to hold our first mounted fitness classes. Equifit and Equilates – which combines elements of yoga, pilates and Tai-Chi – will continue next year. Book in to get fit and toned for the summer!
Number Five: I have always used bareback riding as a way of keeping fit and strengthening my core. It is also a wonderful way of feeling at one with your horse. We have now started Intro to Bareback Riding sessions in the arena and I think they will prove very popular.
Number Six: Our beautiful bistro. The Lodge is everything I dreamed of and more. We are offering Barista coffee, amazing hot chocolate and delicious home cooked food. We are really excited about the future and what we can do here. Think of early morning breakfast rides, barbeque rides, parties and corporate events. We seem to be evolving in a tex-mex ranch style and we want to make sure we carry on serving fantastic food and drinks.

Number Seven: Another exciting first for the Centre was when I became a qualified first responder. I have installed a medical room in the lodge and I can now carry a trauma kit. We will be holding first aid training courses from basic to advanced here at the Centre.

Number Eight: Over the years we have had lots of enquiries from people wanting to hold corporate events or birthday parties, so we now have the facilities to do that here in the new lodge. We have held our first ‘Trekworking’ event when our business visitors combined their meeting with lunch and a trek out on the Chase. It was such a success that early booking will be essential for the next one!
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