A new initiative aims to provide welcome escape for desk-bound horsemen. The Riding Club of London, officially launched tomorrow, has a growing programme of equestrian activities, from week-night lessons with the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery in St John’s Wood to weekend rides in Windsor Great Park with the Honourable Artillery Company and dressage at the Spanish Riding School in Jerez. ‘There is tremendous passion among Londoners for riding,’ says co-founder Ashley Parasram. ‘People love being able to ride after work and to learn new disciplines.’

Members benefit from top-class instructors, such as Major Dicky Waygood, former Riding Master of the Household Cavalry, Argentinian polo player Vieri Antinori, and great Irish hunting man Aidan O’Connell. ‘We’re surprised how many people in London are pro-hunting,’ remarks co-founder Rosie Ruck Keene. ‘For those who are keen, we run hunting clinics in England and Ireland. We feel it’s important to support rural equine businesses, such as hireling yards.’

Membership costs £195 per year, with riding lessons from £35 and cross-country weekends from £340. Potential members must complete a riding assessment to ensure they are capable of handling spirited horses. The social side is thriving. ‘We use venues such as the Savile Club and the Household Cavalry Museum, and run events from lectures and dinners to course walks at Badminton and polo demonstrations at Englefield in Berkshire,’ says Mr Parasram. ‘We create the strong sense of a rural community, in London.’ With a clothing collection about to be launched and trips planned as far afield as Russia, the club is gathering momentum.

Visit www.ridinglondon.com