Torch Bearer Lewis Takes Up The Reins

Torch Bearer Lewis Takes Up The Reins

When Take up the Reins – a national initiative to get the country horse riding – arrived at the Festival of Alnwick with Queenie the mechanical horse, teenage Olympic torch bearer Lewis Denny was one of the first to climb into the saddle.

The 16-year-old, who was honoured with a Child of Achievement Award in the Pride of Northumberland Awards, was keen to try out a canter and promptly gave the scheme his seal of approval. “It’s great fun – I really, really like it,” he said, with a huge smile.

Lewis’s reaction was typical of that from many people – from toddlers to those in their 60s – who came along to sample an introduction to horse riding in a safe environment. For some, a ride on Queenie helped to fulfil a lifetime’s dream while, for others, it sparked a desire to take up a new hobby.

Take up the Reins is being run by the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) on behalf of the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) as part of the Olympic Legacy.

“There is a real myth that horse riding is only for the rich and privileged, but that’s simply not true,” said Claire Williams, executive director of BETA. “Take up the Reins is a great way to show that anyone can do it – it’s great fun, healthy, something you could enjoy with family and friends, and you’re never too old.

“We were delighted with the response from our first outing, in the North East. People were really interested in the scheme and responded with great enthusiasm. Lewis was one of Queenie’s first riders and we were really excited to hear that we had a torch bearer on board!”

Lewis and the rest of the riders were each presented with a certificate, goody bag and rosette to mark the occasion.