Learning to ride is horse play - VIDEO

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Local riding school Coloured Cob Equestrian Centre, on Mansfield Road, Creswell, has just won a Healthy Places Award from NHS Derbyshire County PCT for its work with people with mental health difficulties.

Coloured Cob is run by Sharon Tolley who fulfilled a lifelong dream when she opened the riding school last year.

Feature on the Coloured Cob riding school which has won an award for its work with riders with mental health problems, pictured is owner Sharon Tolley, centre with from left Abi Hutchinson and Pippa Roberts

Feature on the Coloured Cob riding school which has won an award for its work with riders with mental health problems, pictured is owner Sharon Tolley, centre with from left Abi Hutchinson and Pippa Roberts

She has ridden since she was seven and in taking a compassionate attitude to training horses.

“Kicking horses to get them to do something is forbidden here,” she said.

“There is no need to kick them. If we want them to move forward we squeeze them gently, the same with turning left or right.”

“Horses can sometimes get confused about what they are being asked to do but if that happens our horses just come to the instructors for a cuddle.”

Sharon, 43, who lives in the farmhouse at the riding school with her partner and sons, has 20 horses and said they all have a home for life.

“Once a horse has worked for me, even if it’s only for six months, it won’t be sold on, it will always have a home here.”

“We don’t work the horses constantly either, they get a break from lessons and go back into the field with their friends.”

One of the horses, called Grace, appeared on TV’s Come Dine With Me when the show featured cooks from Chesterfield.

Sharon has also teamed up with the Clumber Park Hotel to offer trek and treat weekends.