Sandhurst Equestrian Centre joins The Armed Forces Equine Charity

Amanda Smith, Sandhurst Equestrian Centre Manager

The Brunei Stables Saddle Club at The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst faced the same challenges as us all during the COVID-19 pandemic. Routine lesson activity could not go ahead as normal and the ponies were moved to the Royal Artillery Saddle Club (Larkhill) for a few months where they could continue providing children’s lessons and enjoy some time on Salisbury Plain.

This period of closure provided the time and space for reflection on how equestrian activity operates at RMAS. As restrictions have eased, RMAS Sandhurst Support Unit and The Armed Forces Equine Charity are delighted to announce that the new ‘Sandhurst Equestrian Centre’ has been established, under the banner of The Armed Forces Equine Charity. The charity has successfully restored the fortunes of similar centres and the future is looking bright for an equestrian welfare facility to form part of the Sandhurst stables again.

The Sandhurst Equestrian Centre will be a welfare facility for the Armed Forces Community. Lessons for the children of military personnel should commence in January 2022, once the ponies have returned from Larkhill and completed their routine health checks and quarantine. Lessons for adult military dependants and civilians will be offered in the future, once more horses have been recruited.

The centre will also accommodate the Sandhurst RDA group and will work with The Armed Forces Equine Charity to offer Equine Therapy to veterans and other charity beneficiaries.

Chairman of the Armed Forces Equine Charity, Maj Gen (Retd) Robert Talbot Rice CBE commented:

“The Equestrian Centres across our Armed Forces sites are hugely valuable sporting facilities and welfare hubs. This is especially important for a community where so many are away on military duty or moving locations to meet the needs of the Service. I am very happy we can work with Sandhurst Equestrian Centre to provide an affordable facility for the local community. I am looking forward to seeing the centre develop and grow over the next few years.”

Station Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Samantha Hull RLC adds:

“It is fantastic to report that the new Sandhurst Equestrian Centre will open in January 2022. The opening will be phased with lessons for service children starting first and as the Centre becomes more established adults and the wider community will have the opportunity to get involved.”

The Armed Forces Equine Charity began its journey in Tidworth, Wiltshire, home of Tedworth House and park.  

We are a welfare and wellbeing charity that utilises the power of human and horse interaction to meet the needs of the armed forces community.

Our beneficiaries are those who are serving and their families; veterans and those that have been bereaved, and the local community around where the armed forces are based.

Our focus areas are therapy; including recovery and rehabilitation, learning, sport and providing ‘firm base’ centres accross the Armed Forces community.  We help people recovering from physical injury or trauma, those with special needs or suffering with isolation, bereavement, addiction or mental illness. 

Members of the Armed Forces community are given opportunites by the charity, to participate in active lifestyles. Our support is accessible to all and we work with equine centres across the UK to achieve our goal.