Queen Elizabeth Riding School in Chingford in financial difficulties

(owner) and Graham and Cindy Evans with horses Jasmin and Remi at the Queen Elizabeth Riding School

(owner) and Graham and Cindy Evans with horses Jasmin and Remi at the Queen Elizabeth Riding School Buy this photo

First published in Chingford
Last updated
East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Photograph of the Author by , Senior reporter

A cash-strapped riding school which has played an important role in the community for 60 years could be forced to close as it struggles to pay the rent.

Bosses at the Queen Elizabeth Riding School in Forest Side, Chingford, felt they had no choice but to accept a quarterly rent hike to £4,500 from £2,000 after they were told by landlord The Orchid Group five years ago that there would be no negotiations.

Now the school, which helps troubled teenagers and teaches 50 people each weekend and more in school holidays, is running out of money and could be forced to shut down unless a solution can be found.

Owner Kevin Raby, 59, revealed he is nine months behind in paying the rent.

He said: "The rent has really crippled me. I've used private funds to keep things going but now those funds have gone.

"We're left in an awful position. It's my livelihood and means so much to the community but now we're in a very tough situation."

Cindy Evans, 53, who has ridden at the school for more than 20 years and has called in the landowner, which owns the adjacent Queen Elizabeth pub, to discuss the issue.

She said: "It’s absolutely stunning. When the renewal came up it was a case of take it or leave it so we took it. It’s a huge increase.

"At the time we had a certain amount of capital but it ate into that and now there’s nothing left to pay it with.

"We feel they’re trying to force us out. People are worried about the future."

"It’s such a shame. This is such a successful place and this is the only issue it has. We just want to know what The Orchid Group’s plans are.

"They’ve been reluctant to communicate with us at all."

The school helps teenagers with behavioural problems by teaching them a sense of responsibility as they look after the 20 horses and ponies at the stables.

Both Chingford MP Iain Duncan Smith and councillor Michael Lewis have agreed to write to The Orchid Group in an effort to keep the school going. 

Lance Renetske, chairman of Epping Forest Riders Association, said: "I have ridden here since 1971 and have introduced friends to the school and the sport of riding.

"The stables are a unique facility in this part of London, have excellent access to the forest and provide an outstanding opportunity for young people in particular."

The Guardian has approached The Orchid Group for comment.

Watch a video here: 

Comments (26)

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1:25pm Mon 4 Feb 13

Cornbeefur says...

Everyone's costs are rising and so are the Landlords.

Maybe they will have to put up their riding fees.

I am sure that many of the parents who attend can afford a bit of a hike?
Everyone's costs are rising and so are the Landlords. Maybe they will have to put up their riding fees. I am sure that many of the parents who attend can afford a bit of a hike? Cornbeefur
  • Score: 0

2:47pm Mon 4 Feb 13

decanibass says...

My son had lessons there and they weren't that cheap: not everyone who rides a horse is a 4x4 driving hooray-henry.

The land is in a prime-location in Chingford: the owners could build quite a few houses on this area - surely this is there agenda? They would make a bomb if they did this. Sod us local residents.

It would be a shame to see something pretty and useful be replaced by more fugly housing.
My son had lessons there and they weren't that cheap: not everyone who rides a horse is a 4x4 driving hooray-henry. The land is in a prime-location in Chingford: the owners could build quite a few houses on this area - surely this is there agenda? They would make a bomb if they did this. Sod us local residents. It would be a shame to see something pretty and useful be replaced by more fugly housing. decanibass
  • Score: 0

2:51pm Mon 4 Feb 13

tmann says...

Force the riding school out and fling up some crappy bug hutch flats for a quick profit.
Force the riding school out and fling up some crappy bug hutch flats for a quick profit. tmann
  • Score: 0

2:53pm Mon 4 Feb 13

LakeBreeze says...

It would be very sad if such a long-established institution had to vanish now, because of soulless landlords who may have some other use of the land in mind.

I used to live just around the corner from these stables and remember it being actively used and loved from the 1960s. It's part of local history and, as the person interviewed said, business is still going strong. No need to push this business into death by financial strangling...

Yes everyone's costs are going up, but there may be other less honourable reasons why these landlowners are pulling this crap move.

I feel for these stables and sincerely hope they can overcome this predicament and stay in business.

They provide not just riding lessons for those who can afford them but -- more importantly, animal therapy for troubled children, which is an immeasurably important function in the community.
It would be very sad if such a long-established institution had to vanish now, because of soulless landlords who may have some other use of the land in mind. I used to live just around the corner from these stables and remember it being actively used and loved from the 1960s. It's part of local history and, as the person interviewed said, business is still going strong. No need to push this business into death by financial strangling... Yes everyone's costs are going up, but there may be other less honourable reasons why these landlowners are pulling this crap move. I feel for these stables and sincerely hope they can overcome this predicament and stay in business. They provide not just riding lessons for those who can afford them but -- more importantly, animal therapy for troubled children, which is an immeasurably important function in the community. LakeBreeze
  • Score: 0

3:37pm Mon 4 Feb 13

Cornbeefur says...

I am sure there was a riding stable in the Snaresbrook Area of walthamstow and the elderly lady owner ran out of fees for her care home and was reluctant to sell it nut then a developer crossed her hands with much silver and she suddenly decided to sell it citing market forces. There were several flats built which sold for great profits and the horses were all relocated and nothing else remained.

You cannot prevent an owner for wanting to develop or capitalise on their assets and I think there is a riding school in Lea Bridge Road as part of the Olympic Show Jumping lagacy, is there not?

If not there should be after the amount of money that was spent, especially for the Paralympic? The horse riding is very important for the young disabled and blind who find this activity as the good thearputic.
I am sure there was a riding stable in the Snaresbrook Area of walthamstow and the elderly lady owner ran out of fees for her care home and was reluctant to sell it nut then a developer crossed her hands with much silver and she suddenly decided to sell it citing market forces. There were several flats built which sold for great profits and the horses were all relocated and nothing else remained. You cannot prevent an owner for wanting to develop or capitalise on their assets and I think there is a riding school in Lea Bridge Road as part of the Olympic Show Jumping lagacy, is there not? If not there should be after the amount of money that was spent, especially for the Paralympic? The horse riding is very important for the young disabled and blind who find this activity as the good thearputic. Cornbeefur
  • Score: 0

5:55pm Mon 4 Feb 13

ajay567 says...

Cornbeefur wrote:
I am sure there was a riding stable in the Snaresbrook Area of walthamstow and the elderly lady owner ran out of fees for her care home and was reluctant to sell it nut then a developer crossed her hands with much silver and she suddenly decided to sell it citing market forces. There were several flats built which sold for great profits and the horses were all relocated and nothing else remained.

You cannot prevent an owner for wanting to develop or capitalise on their assets and I think there is a riding school in Lea Bridge Road as part of the Olympic Show Jumping lagacy, is there not?

If not there should be after the amount of money that was spent, especially for the Paralympic? The horse riding is very important for the young disabled and blind who find this activity as the good thearputic.
If you haven't got a deceit comment
to make don't make one.
The riding stable in Lea Bridge Road
was there long before we got the
Olympic Games.
[quote][p][bold]Cornbeefur[/bold] wrote: I am sure there was a riding stable in the Snaresbrook Area of walthamstow and the elderly lady owner ran out of fees for her care home and was reluctant to sell it nut then a developer crossed her hands with much silver and she suddenly decided to sell it citing market forces. There were several flats built which sold for great profits and the horses were all relocated and nothing else remained. You cannot prevent an owner for wanting to develop or capitalise on their assets and I think there is a riding school in Lea Bridge Road as part of the Olympic Show Jumping lagacy, is there not? If not there should be after the amount of money that was spent, especially for the Paralympic? The horse riding is very important for the young disabled and blind who find this activity as the good thearputic.[/p][/quote]If you haven't got a deceit comment to make don't make one. The riding stable in Lea Bridge Road was there long before we got the Olympic Games. ajay567
  • Score: 0

7:00pm Mon 4 Feb 13

Cornbeefur says...

ajay567 wrote:
Cornbeefur wrote:
I am sure there was a riding stable in the Snaresbrook Area of walthamstow and the elderly lady owner ran out of fees for her care home and was reluctant to sell it nut then a developer crossed her hands with much silver and she suddenly decided to sell it citing market forces. There were several flats built which sold for great profits and the horses were all relocated and nothing else remained.

You cannot prevent an owner for wanting to develop or capitalise on their assets and I think there is a riding school in Lea Bridge Road as part of the Olympic Show Jumping lagacy, is there not?

If not there should be after the amount of money that was spent, especially for the Paralympic? The horse riding is very important for the young disabled and blind who find this activity as the good thearputic.
If you haven't got a deceit comment
to make don't make one.
The riding stable in Lea Bridge Road
was there long before we got the
Olympic Games.
Yes the Lea Bridge Riding School which is down lea Bridge Road can be an alternative venue if the hike rents are not reduced and people are forced out and have to use another venue.

They may want to use the land as flats but who knows? maybe they just need to get more monies in as things are tight these days?

The Lea Bridge Road Riding school is near the Ice Rink and families can go to the Ice Rink and then the Riding or visa versa, this will bring in more monies for surrounding business selling sweets and ices and people may even pop into places like B & Q on the way through or via the lovely shops cropping up in Hackney and in particular the Mare Street which have some very classy venues these days.

The Legacy of the Olympics must be proven and at the moment I see no evidence that there is one except derelict areas which were once fenced off now seem abandoned like nobody cares again.
[quote][p][bold]ajay567[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Cornbeefur[/bold] wrote: I am sure there was a riding stable in the Snaresbrook Area of walthamstow and the elderly lady owner ran out of fees for her care home and was reluctant to sell it nut then a developer crossed her hands with much silver and she suddenly decided to sell it citing market forces. There were several flats built which sold for great profits and the horses were all relocated and nothing else remained. You cannot prevent an owner for wanting to develop or capitalise on their assets and I think there is a riding school in Lea Bridge Road as part of the Olympic Show Jumping lagacy, is there not? If not there should be after the amount of money that was spent, especially for the Paralympic? The horse riding is very important for the young disabled and blind who find this activity as the good thearputic.[/p][/quote]If you haven't got a deceit comment to make don't make one. The riding stable in Lea Bridge Road was there long before we got the Olympic Games.[/p][/quote]Yes the Lea Bridge Riding School which is down lea Bridge Road can be an alternative venue if the hike rents are not reduced and people are forced out and have to use another venue. They may want to use the land as flats but who knows? maybe they just need to get more monies in as things are tight these days? The Lea Bridge Road Riding school is near the Ice Rink and families can go to the Ice Rink and then the Riding or visa versa, this will bring in more monies for surrounding business selling sweets and ices and people may even pop into places like B & Q on the way through or via the lovely shops cropping up in Hackney and in particular the Mare Street which have some very classy venues these days. The Legacy of the Olympics must be proven and at the moment I see no evidence that there is one except derelict areas which were once fenced off now seem abandoned like nobody cares again. Cornbeefur
  • Score: 0

7:46pm Mon 4 Feb 13

GlennW says...

I would think a greater worry would be if the riding stables are forced out then there would be attempt to acquire the pub and redevelop a much larger plot of land giving a greater return. The loss of the stables may be the thin end of the wedge.
I would think a greater worry would be if the riding stables are forced out then there would be attempt to acquire the pub and redevelop a much larger plot of land giving a greater return. The loss of the stables may be the thin end of the wedge. GlennW
  • Score: 0

8:23pm Mon 4 Feb 13

LakeBreeze says...

GlennW wrote:
I would think a greater worry would be if the riding stables are forced out then there would be attempt to acquire the pub and redevelop a much larger plot of land giving a greater return. The loss of the stables may be the thin end of the wedge.
Good point GlennW -- this indeed may be only the start. And if the pub too were to be endangered that's another piece of fine history in the area under threat.

There are some (relatively young) countries that make the grave mistake of razing established buildings and always, forever, building new over fairly new. Then they feel truly saddened that nothing around is a still-alive remnant of past times, operating in today's world and giving people a feeling of continuity.

Let this country not make those mistakes, developing more and more over soulfully historic establishments until all we have around us are "Little Boxes" housing, and memories.
[quote][p][bold]GlennW[/bold] wrote: I would think a greater worry would be if the riding stables are forced out then there would be attempt to acquire the pub and redevelop a much larger plot of land giving a greater return. The loss of the stables may be the thin end of the wedge.[/p][/quote]Good point GlennW -- this indeed may be only the start. And if the pub too were to be endangered that's another piece of fine history in the area under threat. There are some (relatively young) countries that make the grave mistake of razing established buildings and always, forever, building new over fairly new. Then they feel truly saddened that nothing around is a still-alive remnant of past times, operating in today's world and giving people a feeling of continuity. Let this country not make those mistakes, developing more and more over soulfully historic establishments until all we have around us are "Little Boxes" housing, and memories. LakeBreeze
  • Score: 0

11:49am Tue 5 Feb 13

Thunderbird4 says...

A higher than average rent rise usually signifies the landlord wants you out. The landlord has plans for making money, rather than, happy children. It would also mean a number of skilled people would lose their jobs, and I'm sure that Mr. Duncan Smith would approve of that, having more unemployed to look after.

It seems a shame that a stables so close to the forest, will close very shortly. Buildings are always being replaced with newer ones, it's progress, (or not), and it cannot be stopped.

People should lobby their MP or get together and form a protest group; but we just can't seem to be asked these days, and . . it will happen anyway, so why bother. Sad.
A higher than average rent rise usually signifies the landlord wants you out. The landlord has plans for making money, rather than, happy children. It would also mean a number of skilled people would lose their jobs, and I'm sure that Mr. Duncan Smith would approve of that, having more unemployed to look after. It seems a shame that a stables so close to the forest, will close very shortly. Buildings are always being replaced with newer ones, it's progress, (or not), and it cannot be stopped. People should lobby their MP or get together and form a protest group; but we just can't seem to be asked these days, and . . it will happen anyway, so why bother. Sad. Thunderbird4
  • Score: 0

1:03pm Tue 5 Feb 13

mdj says...

'People should lobby their MP or get together and form a protest group...'

Or put in an offer.
'People should lobby their MP or get together and form a protest group...' Or put in an offer. mdj
  • Score: 0

2:47pm Tue 5 Feb 13

LakeBreeze says...

It's not "progress" when a dearly loved and still-thriving business is forced out, possibly even a historic pub too, following shortly, jobs are lost that were still viable, children in need lose a therapy activity, and in place of these still-thriving, still-loved establishments are just a warren of faceless housing, probably not in the "affordable" category either.

Buildings don't "always get replaced" -- tell that to the Hunting Lodge folks. Some things need to be preserved, continued, and not just mown down for the sake of a few private enterprise quid.
It's not "progress" when a dearly loved and still-thriving business is forced out, possibly even a historic pub too, following shortly, jobs are lost that were still viable, children in need lose a therapy activity, and in place of these still-thriving, still-loved establishments are just a warren of faceless housing, probably not in the "affordable" category either. Buildings don't "always get replaced" -- tell that to the Hunting Lodge folks. Some things need to be preserved, continued, and not just mown down for the sake of a few private enterprise quid. LakeBreeze
  • Score: 0

3:00pm Tue 5 Feb 13

Thunderbird4 says...

Yes, what did happen to all those stuffed animals at the Hunting Lodge? There were literally hundreds!

All those massive fish in their show cases, which were caught locally, in Warren Pond, all the stuffed birds; mammals, reptiles; now there's not even a handful!
Yes, what did happen to all those stuffed animals at the Hunting Lodge? There were literally hundreds! All those massive fish in their show cases, which were caught locally, in Warren Pond, all the stuffed birds; mammals, reptiles; now there's not even a handful! Thunderbird4
  • Score: 0

4:17pm Tue 5 Feb 13

Helen, Walthamstow says...

Thunderbird4 wrote:
Yes, what did happen to all those stuffed animals at the Hunting Lodge? There were literally hundreds!

All those massive fish in their show cases, which were caught locally, in Warren Pond, all the stuffed birds; mammals, reptiles; now there's not even a handful!
Perhaps it was considered a waste of a beautiful Grade II* listed ancient monument to use it as a storage unit for a load of old tat that very few people would travel to view!
[quote][p][bold]Thunderbird4[/bold] wrote: Yes, what did happen to all those stuffed animals at the Hunting Lodge? There were literally hundreds! All those massive fish in their show cases, which were caught locally, in Warren Pond, all the stuffed birds; mammals, reptiles; now there's not even a handful![/p][/quote]Perhaps it was considered a waste of a beautiful Grade II* listed ancient monument to use it as a storage unit for a load of old tat that very few people would travel to view! Helen, Walthamstow
  • Score: 0

4:21pm Tue 5 Feb 13

Cornbeefur says...

Stuffed Fish command a massive amount of money these days so there is your answer.
Stuffed Fish command a massive amount of money these days so there is your answer. Cornbeefur
  • Score: 0

4:28pm Tue 5 Feb 13

LakeBreeze says...

I'm not sure why the subject of the old stuffed animals is being raised -- my point is that the Lodge is still there, not just "replaced" because the space is needed for housing...

But speaking of those stuffed animals, it sounds like they are still in storage -- there is an evening being held this May which apparently puts them on display again for one night, either that or some kind of slideshow of images of them, I'm not sure. But I think I'll attend as I have memories of those displays as a kid! A kind of warped nostalgia, lol.

Back to the article; I just strongly feel that some things that are part of local history need to be preserved from the developers who, if they had their way, would rid us of every piece of greebelt and every historic building or business, like these stables, and it's all about money, not a single care about the actual residents, community, and much-loved local history.
I'm not sure why the subject of the old stuffed animals is being raised -- my point is that the Lodge is still there, not just "replaced" because the space is needed for housing... But speaking of those stuffed animals, it sounds like they are still in storage -- there is an evening being held this May which apparently puts them on display again for one night, either that or some kind of slideshow of images of them, I'm not sure. But I think I'll attend as I have memories of those displays as a kid! A kind of warped nostalgia, lol. Back to the article; I just strongly feel that some things that are part of local history need to be preserved from the developers who, if they had their way, would rid us of every piece of greebelt and every historic building or business, like these stables, and it's all about money, not a single care about the actual residents, community, and much-loved local history. LakeBreeze
  • Score: 0

5:23pm Tue 5 Feb 13

inézc says...

This has been there ever since I can remember, my mother and uncles used to ride there, and so did I as a child. It is unthinkable it being closed and flattened to build hideous yuppy boxes to profit developers, particularly not given the service it provides in teaching troubled children about the care and handling of animals. Lakebreeze is quite correct, I have the idea too that the developers won't stop until there is not a single blade of grass left. IT's greed, greed, greed.
This has been there ever since I can remember, my mother and uncles used to ride there, and so did I as a child. It is unthinkable it being closed and flattened to build hideous yuppy boxes to profit developers, particularly not given the service it provides in teaching troubled children about the care and handling of animals. Lakebreeze is quite correct, I have the idea too that the developers won't stop until there is not a single blade of grass left. IT's greed, greed, greed. inézc
  • Score: 0

5:23pm Tue 5 Feb 13

inézc says...

This has been there ever since I can remember, my mother and uncles used to ride there, and so did I as a child. It is unthinkable it being closed and flattened to build hideous yuppy boxes to profit developers, particularly not given the service it provides in teaching troubled children about the care and handling of animals. Lakebreeze is quite correct, I have the idea too that the developers won't stop until there is not a single blade of grass left. IT's greed, greed, greed.
This has been there ever since I can remember, my mother and uncles used to ride there, and so did I as a child. It is unthinkable it being closed and flattened to build hideous yuppy boxes to profit developers, particularly not given the service it provides in teaching troubled children about the care and handling of animals. Lakebreeze is quite correct, I have the idea too that the developers won't stop until there is not a single blade of grass left. IT's greed, greed, greed. inézc
  • Score: 0

11:56am Wed 6 Feb 13

Cornbeefur says...

inézc wrote:
This has been there ever since I can remember, my mother and uncles used to ride there, and so did I as a child. It is unthinkable it being closed and flattened to build hideous yuppy boxes to profit developers, particularly not given the service it provides in teaching troubled children about the care and handling of animals. Lakebreeze is quite correct, I have the idea too that the developers won't stop until there is not a single blade of grass left. IT's greed, greed, greed.
Sorry, what has it got to do with the history of your family?

If we all wore Cranberry Tinted Spectacles, nothing would be built.

What about Docklands now and then? The Olympic Stadium now and Then?

There are many a family who could get the violins out but things progress.
[quote][p][bold]inézc[/bold] wrote: This has been there ever since I can remember, my mother and uncles used to ride there, and so did I as a child. It is unthinkable it being closed and flattened to build hideous yuppy boxes to profit developers, particularly not given the service it provides in teaching troubled children about the care and handling of animals. Lakebreeze is quite correct, I have the idea too that the developers won't stop until there is not a single blade of grass left. IT's greed, greed, greed.[/p][/quote]Sorry, what has it got to do with the history of your family? If we all wore Cranberry Tinted Spectacles, nothing would be built. What about Docklands now and then? The Olympic Stadium now and Then? There are many a family who could get the violins out but things progress. Cornbeefur
  • Score: 0

1:27pm Wed 6 Feb 13

inézc says...

Cornbeefur, I was thinking more of the animals that will need rehoming and the children that will miss out but please feel free to interpret it any way you will.
Cornbeefur, I was thinking more of the animals that will need rehoming and the children that will miss out but please feel free to interpret it any way you will. inézc
  • Score: 0

3:24pm Wed 6 Feb 13

Cornbeefur says...

inézc wrote:
Cornbeefur, I was thinking more of the animals that will need rehoming and the children that will miss out but please feel free to interpret it any way you will.
Yes there is a Stable in Lea Bridge Road and High Beech and other parts of Town and I am sure that the horses will go to a good home.
[quote][p][bold]inézc[/bold] wrote: Cornbeefur, I was thinking more of the animals that will need rehoming and the children that will miss out but please feel free to interpret it any way you will.[/p][/quote]Yes there is a Stable in Lea Bridge Road and High Beech and other parts of Town and I am sure that the horses will go to a good home. Cornbeefur
  • Score: 0

11:31pm Wed 6 Feb 13

Ferdy54 says...

If they have to close down, they can always sell their horses to Tesco! :-)
If they have to close down, they can always sell their horses to Tesco! :-) Ferdy54
  • Score: 0

1:19am Thu 7 Feb 13

Cornbeefur says...

Ferdy54 wrote:
If they have to close down, they can always sell their horses to Tesco! :-)
Hahahahahahaha!
[quote][p][bold]Ferdy54[/bold] wrote: If they have to close down, they can always sell their horses to Tesco! :-)[/p][/quote]Hahahahahahaha! Cornbeefur
  • Score: 0

3:30pm Thu 7 Feb 13

Thunderbird4 says...

The company have no plans for the site in the immediate future - they just want more rent at the present time.
They don't want to sell the stables off separately, which means they want to hold onto it, probably because there's more money in a bigger site.
The company have no plans for the site in the immediate future - they just want more rent at the present time. They don't want to sell the stables off separately, which means they want to hold onto it, probably because there's more money in a bigger site. Thunderbird4
  • Score: 0

12:40am Fri 8 Feb 13

Ferdy54 says...

Looks like they can sell them to Findus now as well!
Looks like they can sell them to Findus now as well! Ferdy54
  • Score: 0

1:01am Fri 8 Feb 13

Thunderbird4 says...

I think Findus were using seahorses - groan.
I think Findus were using seahorses - groan. Thunderbird4
  • Score: 0

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