One of London’s oldest stables is in a fundraising race to stay open so it can continue providing horse riding lessons and therapy services.
Park Lane Stables is one of the only truly urban riding schools in London. Its main yard is located on a residential street just a few minutes’ walk from Royal Bushy Park and close to Hampton Court Palace. It is only 35 minutes from Waterloo Station. The riding school in Teddington in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames has a long history, dating back to 1830, when it was the home of Teddington Fire Station and was surrounded by grazing and farmland.
Teddington has changed a lot since then, but the stables are proud to be carrying on the tradition of being a part of the community. As well as hacking and riding lessons, the family-run business and registered charity also has a growing Riding for the Disabled (RDA) programme for children and adults with disabilities and learning difficulties.
But now Park Lane’s landlord is selling the property, and stable owner Natalie O’Rourke has a month to raise £1 million ($US1.4m, $NZ1.9m) to buy the stables and keep the business running. She has already raised more than £180,000 (nearly $US250,000) and has until February 24 to come up with the remainder. Its lease expires at the end of May.
Park Lane Stables hit the headlines during the London 2020 Covid-19 lockdown with #tinyponyatyourwindow, when stable volunteers spread cheer by bringing one of their ponies, Annie’s Whizz, to visit Londoners who were self-isolating. In all, they visited more than 300 people st their homes, schools, hospitals and care homes.
You will often see the horses and ponies at school fêtes, village fairs and parades in the local area, or raising funds for local charities and good causes.