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Riding high on 2012 hopes

PUBLISHED: 10:36 20 August 2009 | UPDATED: 10:59 23 August 2010

AB4601-09	
28-04-07	
Gravesend	
Meopham Horse trials

AB4601-09 28-04-07 Gravesend Meopham Horse trials

RIDERS training for the equestrian events in the 2012 Paralympic games can benefit from some of the best facilities for disabled riding in the UK. The Arrow Riding and Carriage Centre, Darenth Park Avenue, Dartford, is one of the venues in north Kent tha

RIDERS training for the equestrian events in the 2012 Paralympic games can benefit from some of the best facilities for disabled riding in the UK.

The Arrow Riding and Carriage Centre, Darenth Park Avenue, Dartford, is one of the venues in north Kent that will provide training facilities for the Equestrian dressage.

Bosses at the centre are currently trying to raise enough funding to build an international sized indoor arena in time for the Olympics. If they succeed, it will make the venue one of the largest facilities for disabled riding in the UK.

Ken Blake, chairman of the facility, who also works as a volunteer, said: "We could be used as one of the venues for some of the smaller teams competing in the Paralympic Games.

"The major teams, like the US for example, already have their own sites over here that they can use.

"We are obviously very happy to have been chosen and a potential training venue. Now we are in the process of trying to get the funding we need to extend the centre in time for the Games."

If they can secure the money, bosses also hope to improve some of the existing buildings and other outside areas, and will have more stables, changing rooms and rest facilities for the riders. These plans could also provide an accommodation block to sleep eight riders.

The Arrow Riding Centre has been a training facility for riders from the British Paralympic riding team many times in the past. It has also been the venue for the Riding for the Disabled Regional Dressage competitions every year since 1999.

One of the riders who uses the centre regularly is, Emma Kent, 22, from Dartford. She hopes to make it into the full squad in time for the Games in three years time.

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