BUSINESS AND FARM DIVERSIFICATION

WEST CORNWALL

£35,211.69 FUNDED

Foundation First Equestrian Centre: Start up facilities

Foundation First Equestrian Centre

To set up the new business delivering Natural Horsemanship training, Natural Horsemanship Holidays, Horse Health Rehabilitation and facility hire through the creation of a Steel framed barn, sand surfaced riding school, hard core parking area and new access track .

Fourth-generation farming

Growing up on a farm in Ruan Minor on the stunning Lizard peninsula, Sophie and Holly Bennetts started riding as young girls, inspired by their mum, who has a passion for horses.

After leaving school, the sisters both chose to work in the equine industry, both in Cornwall and across Europe, training and building up their skills.

Holly teaches and trains horses; Sophie also trains, and specialises in horse health, advising owners on diet and health and rehabilitating horses after illness or injury, working alongside vets.

Drawn back to Cornwall, where they are the fourth generation to live and work on the family farm, the sisters started pursuing their dream of building their own equestrian centre on land owned by the farm. Their vision was to create a base where they could both work, combining their skills, and to provide a facility where people could ride in all weathers. The vision also included offering horse-riding holidays to attract more tourism to the area.

LEADER helps to realise a long-held ambition
The dream became a reality thanks to a grant from the LEADER programme, secured through the West Cornwall Local Action Group, which enabled them to build a barn with an indoor training arena, an outdoor school and the infrastructure needed for access and car parking.

“We wanted to offer something to the local community in the area where we grew up, that was the initial idea,” Sophie says.“Our passion is to empower students to help them achieve their goals, whether that is through horse training, rehabilitation, or teaching; we want to set them up on a pathway to success,”

“We are so grateful to have received LEADER grant funding, it has enabled us to achieve a long-term ambition to set up a facility on our family farm,” adds Holly.

The Foundation First Equestrian Centre predominantly caters for leisure riders, but professionals from Cornwall also use it for horse training. Located in an area of outstanding natural beauty, surrounded by hundreds of acres of farm land, the centre provides a safe haven for riding in an area rich in moorland, woodland and beaches; a perfect environment for enjoying nature from horseback. There has been a flood of positive feedback from the community, who really appreciate the centre as a place to meet and ride, whatever the weather.

Foundation First now offers holiday packages, with on-site glamping or stays in local B&Bs, as well as livery packages where customers can leave their horses in safe hands whilst they’re away.

Sophie and Holly have big plans to build a thriving, profitable business that provides vital facilities to the community, creates local jobs and attracts more tourists to their picturesque corner of Cornwall.“Without the LEADER grant funding, none of this would have been possible,” says Holly.

To find out more look for Foundation First Equestrian Centre on Facebook or at www.foundationfirst.co.uk

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