Clare BaldingWhen TV presenter Clare Balding visited us last year, she tweeted “You know when you visit a place and it stays with you? I keep thinking about the people I met @EbonyHorseClub

It seems that it really did stay with her as we recently received a very exciting call from her publisher at Puffin Books asking if Clare could launch her new children’s book, The Racehorse who Wouldn’t Gallop, at Ebony Horse Club – and of course we said yes!

Clare arrived with her usual breezy energy despite having flown in from Rio only 48 hours earlier where she had been for the last month presenting coverage of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

We were also joined by TV and radio presenter Lauren Laverne and a film crew from The Pool to cover the launch.Clare Balding

An area was set up outside the hay barn and Lauren and Clare settled on their hay bales for the interview.

Then at 4o’clock the flood gates opened! As soon as the children were released from school they rushed to the stables to meet Clare. Each one of them was presented with a copy of the book and lined up for Clare to sign them. ‘Who is your favourite pony?’ she asked them. Una and Archie got the most votes!

It was back to the barn for story time, as Clare read a chapter from the book to an enraptured audience. The story about a horse mad 10 year old who dreams of owning her own horse definitely resonated with our children as did the message that it’s alright to be different. It was clear that the children couldn’t wait to read the book themselves.

Clare BaldingOf course Pedro had to get in on the act! Clare took charge of him while all the children gathered round her for the photocall. She commented that he he could have been the model for Tony Ross’s delightful illustrations that appear in the book.

Everyone agreed it was a fabulous afternoon with delicious refreshments provided by Puffin Books. We were also very pleased that some of our funders were able to join us and meet some of the young people that they so generously support.

As a charity, we rely on generous grants from charitable trusts, fundraising support and donations from individuals to ensure we can provide much-needed services and support to children and young people in the local community. 

Find out how you can help by visiting our support us page or make a donation via our Virgin Money Giving page.