Ealing Ponies Go to London to See the King

Trip to Buckingham Palace for Ealing Riding School campaign

An Ealing pony outside Buckingham Palace
An Ealing pony outside Buckingham Palace


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September 18, 2023

Two ponies from Ealing Riding School had a special day out earlier this month when they went to visit the King.

Unfortunately, on Monday 4 September, the day Pumpkin and Foxy visited Buckingham Palace, his Royal Highness was at Balmoral.

The ponies were driven to a spot near Hyde Park where they were unloaded and walked through the park. They were trotting where horses have trotted for centuries, along the famous Rotten Row, down Constitution Hill to Buckingham Palace. They even caught the end of the Changing of the Guard and were amazed at the huge horse being very well behaved even with all those noisy trumpets. They had lunch in St James's Park and made lots of new friends, before heading back to Ealing to tell everyone all about it.

The purpose of the trip was to raise awareness of the plight of Ealing Riding School which is looking to secure its future by persuading Transport for London (TfL) to grant it a long lease for its stables. At the moment it occupies the site only on a four-year lease.

This would underwrite the future of the school in the Ealing area. A petition in support of the campaign has already received nearly 4,000 signatures.

When the stables were under threat some years previously, Buckingham Palace directly intervened on behalf of the late Queen Elizabeth II.

The ponies got to see the Changing of The Guard
The ponies got to see the Changing of The Guard

Ealing Riding School & Gallivanters Stable Meadow is the urban home and turnout of 40 horses and over 50,000 visitors every year. Both riders (abled and disabled, child and adult, novice and advanced) and non-riders coming to enjoy the company of horses, and the unique fitness and well-being therapy they provide. Plus, there is a workforce of over a thousand adult and teenage volunteers, vet & school placement students, and a regular staff of 70.

It was founded in 1986 with the discarded horses from the Rothschild Gunnersbury estate and the redundant ponies from the Acton & Chiswick dairy & coal carts.

TfL has a policy of not granting long leases, but this makes it impossible for the school to invest in the stables for horse welfare and adult & child education. It also leaves the site potentially exposed to development and the school wants it extended to 40 years.

A Transport for London (TfL) spokesperson said,“TfL is proud of its long relationship with Ealing Riding School. The current lease runs until the end of 2026, and TfL hopes and expects that the lease will be renewed to allow the riding school to carry on its great work in the borough.”


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