St Teresa’s School’s new facility will open in May and will give pupils from nursery to Sixth Form the opportunity to ride regularly on school grounds as an extra-curricular activity.
With 12 acres of paddocks and a natural “bio” area, the centre will comprise a 60m by 30m outdoor arena together with associated stabling and other resources.
Girls at the Beech Avenue school will be able to stable their horses and ponies on-site and benefit from expert tuition.
Head teacher Mike Farmer said: “We can now offer our girls and their families a unique combination: a modern, first-class yard at the heart of an award-winning school in a gorgeous rural setting.
“Riding has been an important feature of the school for many years. We strongly support our girls in their riding for fun and competitive careers and this is another extra-curricular development to give them some of the finest equestrian facilities in the country.”
A new equestrian director has been appointed to work in the centre.
Jen Pogacic comes to St Teresa’s after working with former European champions Lucy Thompson and Ockley resident Pippa Funnell in her youth.
She said: “I’m thrilled to be leading the development of St Teresa’s Equestrian (STE) and can’t wait to have it up and running.
“The emphasis will be on progression, variety and fun. We’ll be offering lessons for all abilities on STE-owned ponies and for riders with their own ponies as well as full and working livery.
“The centre will provide stable management training, pony club rallies and a range of fun days, summer camps and competitions.
“We aim to have a thriving equine community of riders, competitors and volunteers, all with the common aim of understanding, caring for and working with our equine partners.”