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Chair’s Welcome

I am delighted as Chair of the Friends to welcome you to our website. Bushy Park and Home Park are two wonderful large green oases in the south west corner of London. Feeling wild, they are natural places with ancient histories, fascinating heritage and superb wildlife. Both are Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) containing rare species. These are places to be enjoyed and conserved. Which is why the Friends exist, campaigning, supporting and protecting the parks, and enhancing visitors’ enjoyment with information, advice and guidance.

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Report on Horse Rangers Talk

Report on Horse Rangers Talk

Horse Rangers on parade, Chestnut Sunday 2008

On October 27th 2011 Jackie Bryans (Director) and Anna McCrum (Development Manager) from the Horse Rangers gave us an excellent talk.

Many of us will be familiar with the Horse Rangers as they are often to be seen in the Park and take part in the parade on Chestnut Sunday. The miniature Shetland pony, Prince Cameo, is their mascot and can be seen walking on a lead rein in the area of the mews. There is also a display team and a band.

This inspiring talk gave interesting background information and brought to life the work of the Horse Rangers with stories about members and the horses.

The Horse Rangers was founded in 1954 by Raymond Gordon in Shepperton before moving 40 years ago to its current home in Hampton Court Mews.

The organisation is a registered charity and caters for children and adults both able bodied and with special needs covering all aspects of horsemanship.
9 paid staff and 5 stable staff (who also act as volunteers) look after 29 horses and ponies and 340 riders each week. Ages range from 8 to 25 years with 30% receiving financial assistance. Every Sunday afternoon up to 100 older members help with the younger ones as they ride in Bushy Park.

Emphasis is on team work and having fun. Members progress, are promoted and can become officers at the age of 25. HRH Princess Michael of Kent attends Founders day on the last Saturday in February where awards are given and a gymkhana is held on the first weekend in September.

The horses include 2 on loan from horse welfare and 2 from the horse trust; one has been rescued from a notorious farm. Some Metropolitan police horses are involved with special needs riding. They work for 2 weeks then rest in the paddocks for one week.

Riding for the disabled has a separate squadron running 8 classes each week involving 80 trained volunteers. 3 special schools send 70 – 80 riders and some are brought by parents or carers. There are only 6 in each class with each rider needing 3 helpers.

Disabilities include children with walking problems, sensory/ visual/ hearing difficulties and those who have problems expressing themselves or understanding others. Horse riding can help with a huge range of problems both physical and mental and learning about colours, shapes etc. can also take place whilst riding. Some of the individual stories were very moving and it is obvious that many people have benefited hugely over the years.

This is an expensive operation; £300,000 annual running costs including £7,500 per horse. It even costs £1,000 per month to get rid of muck! Riding for the disabled organise a sponsored fund-raiser Barn Dance at the Stockyard and Young Carers Days are also sponsored.

More information van be found on the website www.horserangers.com

Many thanks to Jackie and Anna and best wishes for the future.

Jane Cliff
November 2011

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Walks & Talks

Forthcoming event

Thursday, 23rd Nov 8:00 pm

The Royal Parks in the Great War. Talk by David Ivison

Latest report

A perimeter walk of Home Park led by Nicholas Garbutt was enjoyed by over 45 people on 2nd September.Walk in Home Park- 2nd September

Full report...

Information Point

The Information Point next to the Pheasantry Welcome Centre café is where our volunteers help visitors to find out more about the parks and where visitors can purchase souvenirs of your visit to support our work.

Click this panel to visit our Information Point section and also to find out how you can get involved as a volunteer.