Cannington Equestrian Centre going from strength to strength! - Bridgwater & Taunton College

In August 2015 Bridgwater College Cannington Equestrian Centre came under new management and Hatti Troake took over the reins as Equine Yard Manager.

Hatti said,

“Having developed my career at Bridgwater College for the last seven years it is great to now have the opportunity to take on the role as Equine Yard Manager. I have big shoes to fill and am grateful for all the help my colleagues and team have given me over the last few months. I’m extremely happy with how Cannington Equestrian Centre is developing and it’s been wonderful welcoming new and existing clients to the Centre and working to develop our facilities and events to meet their needs.”

The academic year began in September with a hugely successful Give Horses a Go day, in association with the Sport England ‘This Girl Can’ campaign. We saw over 230 visitors attend and take part in riding tasters as well as meeting the horses and raising money for Cancer Research UK. The day aimed to give people, both male and female, the chance to get closer to horses and try riding for free, with a unique taster session.

In 2015 Cannington Equestrian Centre was crowned as a Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) Accessibility Mark Centre which is a project run in conjunction with the British Equestrian Federation and RDA. It allows the Centre to support people with disabilities who currently ride and those who don’t but would like to do so. We have recently started working with other areas of the College to offer ‘equine taster’ sessions to students studying foundation level courses.

The Centre offers riding lessons to the public three evenings a week: Monday’s, Tuesday’s and Thursday’s. With our client base growing we are also offering lessons on one Saturday a month. Our wide selection of 25 horses can cater for riders of all abilities in both dressage and show jumping. We also offer ‘Equine Taster Experiences’ where groups or corporate teams can come along and ‘have a go’ at grooming, handling and even riding a horse.

Being a British Riding Club Centre, means our members get the chance to regularly train and compete with their own horses or one of the 25 wonderful horses at the Equestrian Centre. Weekly training sessions take place on Wednesday afternoons with a variety of instructors in activities including show jumping, dressage and simulated XC. There are also regular competitions held at Cannington Equestrian Centre that our Riding Club members can compete in.

Our 42m x 22m indoor arena along with our 50m x 40m outdoor arena provides a safe environment to learn to ride in and are great for hosting competitions, dog shows, schooling sessions or clinics. There is always plenty of events going on at Cannington Equestrian Centre and these can be viewed on the What’s On page of our website and on our popular Facebook page. We have also recently joined Instagram and Twitter so there are plenty of ways to keep up to date with what’s going on.

In January we saw the start of ‘Fit4Riding’, a five-week programme run by a Level 4 Exercise Specialist (and horse rider). The sessions help to improve cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength, muscular endurance, reaction time, core strength, balance and flexibility which will help to improve the performance of you and your horse as a team and help you meet the physical demands placed on you as a rider. It can also help to correct postural problems or physical imbalances which may be affecting your riding performance.

Physical training and nutritional advice is also available during and after the sessions to help you reach and maintain your optimal physical condition for horse riding. Fit4Riding involves a mixture of different training methods and practices such as Fitness Pilates, Fitball, Kettlebells, BOSU and TRX to ensure that every session offers something new! These sessions have been a good success with a second course about to finish and a new course due to start after the Easter holidays.

In February the equine team helped deliver training to 22 Trading Standards Inspectors from across the South West. They covered topics such as condition scoring, signs of health, identification and basic handling.

The College have been awarded funding from Somerset Sports Activity Partnership (SASP) which has enabled the Equestrian Centre to offer a course of reduced rate sessions titled ‘Give Horses a Go’. These sessions are being delivered to students across the College, who have never ridden a horse before to come along to six weeks’ worth of riding lessons to learn the basics. It was a great success and we are currently awaiting news on funding going forward to deliver the same programme across College, as well as a summer programme aimed towards in-active teenagers.

We are also running lots of new part-time training courses including, BHS training towards Progressive Riding Tests, Stage 1, Stage 2 and the Riding and Road Safety exam.

Our equine team are extremely dedicated and contribute to the success of Cannington Equestrian Centre. They play an invaluable role in continuing the smooth running of horses, facilities and students. All instructors are minimum BHSAI qualified and our yard staff were once students here themselves, therefore have a great understanding of what our students are going through and offer a wonderful supporting role to them.

More recently we have welcomed to the team our new riding instructor Patricia Bainbridge who is a qualified BHS Intermediate Instructor (BHSII). She has worked extensively at commercial establishments in the South East of England and also has many years’ experience working with private clients, helping them to extend their goals and achieve their full potential. Patricia has a background in competition, with a particular emphasis on eventing.

Whether you own your own horse or pony, are a seasoned competitor or a leisure rider, Bridgwater College Cannington Equestrian Centre has something for you! With our fantastic facilities and wonderful horses, we can provide a variety of services to cater for any horse lover.

Our Easter Holidays activities include: Dressage and show jumping clinics with Patricia Bainbridge and Pepsi Kohler as well as normal riding lessons and clear round schooling sessions.

If you would like to know more about Bridgwater College’s Equestrian Centre please visit or contact Hatti on 01278 655023.

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