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Stackyard News May 07

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    Horsforth Farm Ride helped by Growing Routes

The freedom to ride around 50 acres of rolling grassland, with a range of jumps along a cross-country course to suit all abilities - it sounds an ideal scenario for any rider.

The Horsforth Farm Ride includes a water complex to suit all levels and has plenty of space for schooling horses and ponies, as well as offering a structured course.

It was set up by farmer Rory Kemp at Springfield Farm, on West End Lane in Horsforth, West Yorkshire, who wanted to make more use of the land. "It was our family dairy farm," he explains. "I bought an arable farm in Ryedale, but I saw a need for a safe place to ride based at Springfield, and so found an extra use for the farm."

"We already had some horses on livery and their owners would ride around our land, so it seemed a natural progression to develop a more formal course. We opened The Horsforth Farm Ride last summer, but we've been working on it over winter so this year we will soon have more jumps and better facilities for riders."

Rory was helped to realise his ambition by Growing Routes. Run by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, the organisation helps farm-based enterprises in the region to diversify and start new businesses. Its support ranges from offering advice and mentoring to providing practical and financial assistance.

Debbie Phillips, West Yorkshire Co-ordinator for Growing Routes said: "Rory Kemp spotted the opportunity to develop his Farm Ride, being in an ideal location and making good use of available farm land. Rory also realised the benefit of using the help that was available to make this a successful venture." Growing Routes is supported by Yorkshire Forward.

The formal course runs for just over two miles, with jumps ranging in height from 18 inches to 3ft 6ins. Many have the added bonus of being portable so, if the weather is bad and the ground becomes muddy and slippery, they can be moved and still used safely. This reduces the chance of the course having to close during bad weather.

The Horsforth Riding Club has held its shows at Springfield Farm for the past three years and the course is a venue for the UK Chasers Challenge, a cross-country competition open to all. This year it takes place on Sunday 29 July.

"We're hoping as many local riders as possible will come along and see what we can offer," says Rory. "We have jumps, rides and schooling space all in the same place, and we charge a 'per horse' fee - so you can come along and spend all day on our site if you want to."

Horsforth Farm Ride has no fixed opening hours but generally operates from around 11am-8pm, Thursday to Sunday. Booking is essential, and anybody interested in going along is asked to telephone or text 07899 775775.

The Yorkshire Agricultural Society was formed in 1837 and is a charity dedicated to supporting the farming industry and rural life. The value of the support it provides to regional farming and countryside initiatives has risen year on year to nearly £1m.

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