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Friday, 16 August 2013

Portuguese riders to visit Hebden Bridge

On Monday 26th August until Monday 2nd September, Hebden Bridge Equestrian Centre will be host to five young Portuguese riders, their instructor Nuno and Secretary Thelma.

Portuguese riders to Hebden Bridge

Karen Clithero owner of the centre told the HebWeb, "This is the third time the horse riders from Portugal have come to Hebden Bridge. The young riders come specifically to learn show jumping, our horses and ponies are very happy to show jump and therefore give the riders confidence and help them to learn how to ride show jumping courses accurately and safely. In return each spring several of our horse riders from Hebden Bridge visit Golega in Portugal. They are taught the skills of Working Equitation on Lusitano horses. The Portuguese horses are well trained in classical dressage and our riders get the chance to ride quite complicated dressage movements such as flying changes and piaffe which these horses do easily!"

The exchange visits are subsidised by Hebden Bridge Equestrian Centre and the riding school and town council in Golega. Tamzin Cowens manager of the equestrian centre says, "When we visit Golega in the spring we are looked after very well, we are accommodated in beautiful apartments overlooking the courtyard and treated to a full continental breakfast in the local cafe every morning.

"On the first and last nights of our visit the Mayor of Goleta hosts us at the top restaurant in town and this year we even had a local folk dance group entertain us all!"

The parents of the riders both in Portugal and in England also provide meals and this keeps the cost of the trip down so that these visits are affordable. Both riding schools provide very low cost accommodation and horse riding lessons, take the visitors on tours and pay for the riders meals out.

Karen says, "The exchange visits began three years ago. We were contacted by the ABRS (Association of British Riding Schools) asking if there were any riding schools able to offer show jumping tuition in exchange for Working Equitation tuition. Out of all the riding schools in the UK we were chosen!! We got on so well that another trip was organised and now so long as there are riders wanting to go we will continue to run the trips”.

Portuguese riders to Hebden Bridge

Golega is a small but historically very important town one and a half hours drive north of Lisbon. Like Hebden Bridge its history goes back over 500 years when a horse fair began there on the main Lisbon to Porto road next to the river Tejo. Every year since then people from all over the world swell the town from 6500 inhabitants to many hundreds of thousands, watching horses parade and perform in the huge arena in the centre of the town.

But it is not just for horses that the small town of Golega is famous, Carlos Relvas world renowned photographer built the first purpose made photographic studio in the town, now a museum housing many of Carlos Relvas photographs and photographic equipment.

Famous artists and writers have come from this area, some of their work is exhibited in the newly built art gallery in the town.

There is a wild life reserve, dance and musical groups and many other activities and features in the town. Like Hebden Bridge, Golega is very community minded and the town attracts tourists and visitors to enjoy its cobbled streets, historic buildings, cafes and restaurants.

Whilst here as well as horse riding the Portuguese children will be sampling some local attractions. Sue Day of the horse boating society is treating the children to a ride in a horse drawn canal boat, the Mayor of Halifax is welcoming the children to the historic Town Hall and Jenny from Just Jennys ice cream is letting the children watch the cows come in for milking and then the children can sample the delicious ice cream that she makes!

Karen says “We aim to give the children a real Northern welcome and show them as much of our area as we can. If anyone would like to help provide meals or activities please get in touch, there is always the chance of a return visit to Golega!”