RIDING school Rein and Shine have been awarded lottery funding to run a Riding for Fitness programme as part of the Olympic legacy.

The school in Braydon, which only opened last August, expects about £2,500 to £3,000 to provide the programme with Wiltshire & Swindon Sports Partnership.

The six-year programme, funded by Sportivate, will be delivered as part of Sport England’s 2012 legacy plan and target teenagers and young adults aged between 11 and 25 aiming to inspire them to take up sport.

John McDonald, who owns the riding school and livery yard with his partner Jo Sharpe, was delighted that they could expect the money.

He said: “It’s great because it’s Sport England and lottery funding to develop programmes at Rein and Shine.

“It’s to target mainly 11 to 25-year-old girls who aren’t really interested in sport. Boys tend to play football or rugby and riding tends to be targeted at girls.”

John said that although professional riders made the sport look easy, it is actually an effective work out and weight loss tool.

He said: “When you see the professional jockeys and riders they make it look easy, but there is actually a lot of physical work going into it and it really works core strength. Jockeys have to kneel on the horse and stay in that position for 45 minutes.”

But the school, which has been highly commended by the British Horse Society, is not just for girls and instead markets itself to all ages, genders, and experiences including people who have never ridden and those who are returning to it after many years.

John said: “It’s for everyone, and we are fully inclusive of all skills, backgrounds and abilities as we had originally set out to do.

“We’re trying to open it up to all sorts of people and we have disabled facilities available.

“We want to reach out to kids in Swindon, particularly disadvantaged ones who might think they can’t afford to ride, or that it’s only for those who wear hats and smart clothes.”

Rein and Shine offers several programmes including Trot to be Trim, New Starters and Take back the Reins, as well as taster sessions.

People can go to open days throughout the summer to try out horse riding on May 25, June 14, July 20, August 16, September 14 and October 4.

Booking is essential as there are only 50 places available on each day. For more information about the open days and to book call 01666 860068, email info@reinandshine.co.uk or visit www.reinandshine.co.uk.