A family-run equestrian centre is celebrating its 55th anniversary during 2010 with an exciting programme of events.

Bunny Hill Riding Centre is also launching a search for some of the many thousands of people who have learnt to ride at the stables since it opened in 1955 so that they can be invited to a reunion in June.

The riding centre, which is on the Nottinghamshire/Leicestershire border near Costock, was founded by the late Bob Humphrey and his wife Freda. It’s now run by their son Sam and his wife Lou, who offer riding lessons to people of all ages and at all stages.

“We’re proud to be celebrating our 55th birthday and have organised several different events over the year which we hope will appeal to horse riders,” said Sam. “We’re hoping to hear from lots of our ex-pupils who perhaps learnt to ride here many years ago, and are looking forward to seeing some familiar faces at our reunion in June and at the other events we’ve got planned.”

Among those who have learnt to ride at Bunny Hill Riding Centre have been mayors and sheriffs of Nottingham who needed to be able to ride a horse for official parades, Nottinghamshire-born actress Sherrie Hewson, who played Maureen in Coronation Street and currently appears on ITV’s Loose Women, and several Nottingham Forest football players.

The centre’s horses have been used in many films, such as Gladiator, Lady Jane Grey, and First Night, which starred Richard Gere. They’ve also featured in TV programmes as diverse as Boon and Rosie & Jim, and have appeared in several adverts for Carling Black Label and Mars, amongst others.

The riding school has also taught many people who have gone on to professional careers in the horse world, including Sam’s daughter Emma Humphrey who is a professional international eventer.

The riding centre became known as the National School of Equitation in the 1960s after becoming one of the first riding stables in the UK to have an indoor riding school, until recently reverting back to its original name.

The Humphrey family is well-known in many equestrian disciplines. Bob Humphrey was a successful jockey. Sam Humphrey was a successful jockey and team chaser, winning the novice championship with his team. He hunts regularly in England and Ireland with wife Lou Humphrey, who has trained a successful racehorse and is currently a British Dressage judge and an NVQ assessor. Their daughter Emma Humphrey is an advanced event rider. Son Mark is a farrier with a special interest in remedial farriery, and partly owns the Knights of Nottingham jousters, which is based at Bunny Hill Riding Centre.

The celebratory programme of events launches with a social event on Saturday February 13th when skiffle band Kick n Rush will play in the bar at Bunny Hill Riding Centre. Tickets are £5.

A jousting tournament in the indoor school is planned for March 27th, with tickets priced £10 for adults and free for children.

Other events will include demonstrations and the reunion in June.

The riding centre will be raising money for the International League for the Protection of Horses during its 55th birthday celebrations.

Bunny Hill Riding Centre is appealing for any former pupils who’d like to attend the reunion and garden party in June, or any other events, to get in touch by emailing lou@bunnyhill.co.uk or calling 01509 852366 so that they can be added to the mailing list for information.

More information can be found on the riding centre’s website www.bunnyhill.co.uk or on the riding centre’s Facebook page.