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12 Aug 3:00am

Horse power: giving kids the ride of their life

The Guardian
In the unlikely setting of a tough south London estate, Ebony Horse Club offers a lifeline for children It’s late afternoon at the pony club, and a girl on a piebald horse is trotting confidently around the sun-dappled arena, a helmet above her pink hijab. We are not in the home counties, surrounded by galloping countryside and leafy bridle paths but in a paddock fringed by high-rise council blocks, and the stables sit under a row of graffitied railway arches. Grey Thameslink trains trundle past overhead and in the distance there’s the intermittent wail of police sirens. This is the Ebony Horse Club, where kids who would be as likely to go to the moon as learn to ride a pony get to do just that. One of the riders today is Marie, 13, who lives on the third floor of the tower block opposite and can see the stables from her window. “When I tell people I ride horses they say, ‘Where do you do that?’ And when I say ‘Brixton, right next to where I live,’ they’re amazed. Hardly anyone knows there’s a pony club here. People are surprised; it’s not what they’re expecting.” When things were really tough at home, I could come here and cuddle the horses. It helped
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