A new equestrian centre has been officially opened at Lancing College by the son of a triple Olympic gold medalist equestrian and former college pupil.
Harry Meade, one of Britain’s leading event riders, opened The Meade Yard at the new stables, open to both pupils and the public, which is named in memory of his father, Richard Meade OBE.
Unveiling a plaque dedicated to his father, Mr Meade said: “My father would be delighted to know pupils were enjoying riding at the college.”
He was ‘a great encourager of anyone interested in riding’, especially young people, for the ‘competitive spirit’ it fostered, along with friendship and fun, Mr Meade said.
Set over 15 acres, the new centre has stabling for up to 20 horses, an all-weather arena and bridleway access to riding in the South Downs National Park.
Lessons are available to riders of all levels, privately or in a group, and pupils can work towards specific goals such as competition training or GCSE Physical Education riding assessment preparation.
At the college, 26 students are taking advantage of riding lessons so far.
Headteacher Dominic Oliver said the centre was ‘fantastic for the pupils’ and would ‘enhance’ their school experience.
“It is amazing that we are here just 12 months after starting building and renovation work on this exciting project,” he said.
The centre was a ‘natural fit for the school’ and an ‘exciting addition’ to the school’s co-curricular programme, he said.
“It also brings us closer to the community, which is really important to us,” he said.
Stable management, dressage, show jumping and cross-country clinics will also be held regularly.
Horses are mainly owned by the centre and are available to all riders, but Lancing College pupils who have their own horses can stable them at the centre.
Director and proprietor Jan Tupper oversaw the renovation and conversion of the farm buildings and the design of the centre, which she described as an ‘incredible’ experience.
She said it was ‘extra special’ to be part of the college.
“The pupils have been lovely to work with,” she said, adding: “Our doors are open for anyone to come and ride.”