Sisters turn back the clock to open riding school at farm site

from left, Gill Mair, Shannon Simpson, 16, Molly Squires, 16, Lizzy Squires, 16 and Anne Squires at the new Riding Academy at Croston Mill in Whittle le Woods
from left, Gill Mair, Shannon Simpson, 16, Molly Squires, 16, Lizzy Squires, 16 and Anne Squires at the new Riding Academy at Croston Mill in Whittle le Woods
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Two Chorley sisters are getting back in the saddle as they re-open their old riding school.

Gillian Mair and Anne Squires first launched the Riding Academy at Croston’s Farm in the 70s, but took a break while they both had families.

Now, they are looking to kick-start their venture in Whittle-le-Woods once again.

The McKay family moved from Blackburn to Croston’s Farm in 1978 so that Gill and Anne could follow their ambition to open a riding school.

Croston’s Farm was a derelict property with no facilities.

Over the next few years stables were built and eventually when the business became established the indoor arena was built.

When Anne married local farmer Anton Squires, she moved up to the road to run Squires Riding School at Dolphin Farm.

Gillian married and moved to Bretherton and continued to run the stables at Croston’s Farm where their parents still lived in the Farm House.

The sisters concentrated on the livery side of the business while they had families, and now say they’re ready to take the business up once again.

Gillian said: “My two sons are now at university and Anne’s girls are now wanting a career with ponies. They have always had ponies and competed locally.

“This seemed like the ideal time to re-open.

“We are doing lessons for all ages as well as things like summer courses.

“We’ve got lots of children and adults interested, and we are also offering classes for people with disabilities.”

Gillian says she and Anne are both qualified instructors and will continue to do all the instruction until Anne’s daughters, Molly, Lizzie and Shannon are qualified.

She said: “Our parents gave us a fantastic opportunity to follow our dream and we want to do the same for our children.

“We have made some fantastic friends over the years and some of our livery clients have been with us for over 20 years.

“It is hard work but it is a very rewarding job and we are all looking forward to the future.”

To contact the Riding Academy call Gill on 07973 780331 or Anne on 07980 066613.

* Do you have any memories of Croston’s Farm? Email charlotte.wareing@lep.co.uk or call 01257 265911.