The owner of a riding school which has provided pleasure for hundreds of children for the last 40 years says she fears she might have to close.
Ida Thorne, 75, set up the Aldersbrook Riding School in Empress Avenue in 1973 and lives on the site.
She runs private lessons but also provides special classes for partially sighted children using the nine horses and ponies at the school.
Buts she says she has only been able to stay open after ploughing her own savings into the business and is now running out of cash.
She said: “I don’t have much of my own money left and our financial forecasts are dire.
“We try to stay as cheap as we can because the whole point of this place is to make horseriding as accessible to as many people as possible
“But we have been hit hard with all the snow and the price of hay, straw and feed have gone through the roof.”
The school is seeking sponsors for its animals in an effort to raise funds.
Mrs Thorne has already struck a deal with Wanstead pub, The Nightingale, to sponsor one of its ponies, Danny.
She said: “We are delighted that the Nightingale are getting involved, but we need more help, so we hope some other businesses might get in touch.
“I can’t contemplate life without this place, I love the work we do so much – especially with the children.
“I have always thought that horses and children are good for each other and that’s what we have built our reputation on.”
Shaheda Patel, 45, of Coventry Road in Ilford sends her daughters 16-year-old Uzma and 14-year-old Zainab to the school.
She said: “They have been going since last year and they absolutely love it.
“They even come down to do voluntary work with the horses when they are not riding.
“It has been so good for them and I think working and interacting with the animals has been very character building.
“I can’t imagine how upset they would be if the place had to close. It would be very sad.”
To find out how your business can sponsor one of the ponies at the Aldersbrook Riding Schoolcall Ida Thorne on 020 8530 4648