Martin Clunes and Olympian Laura Collett launch scheme getting youngsters into horse riding

  • Video report by ITV News Meridian's Mary Stanley

He is known for his role as Doc Martin and more recently he has been on our screens in ITV's Manhunt. But aside from acting Martin Clunes has a passion for horses.Now, the Dorset actor has helped launch a new scheme to encourage youngsters to try their hand at riding. And he was joined by Olympic Gold medalist Laura Collett.

The British Horse Society chose Curdridge in Hampshire to launch 'Pony Stars': an awards scheme to encourage more youngsters to discover a love of horses and the outdoors.

They will also be educated about animal welfare and care.

  • Martin Clunes on his love of horses

President of the society, Martin said: "We live with lots of horses at home, we're very lucky and I've made a few programmes about horses as well."

"Out of that came this interest from the British Horse Society and I've been the president for ten years now which makes me smile with pride."

The young horse riders marvel at their certificates. Credit: ITV News Meridian

Joining the Doc Martin and Manhunt star was Laura Collett who won gold in the Tokyo Olympics.

She wowed the school children with her medal and hoped to inspire them too. She started riding at just 2 years old.

She said: "I came from a not really horsey background and not much money, but it's about wanting to achieve something and letting the kids understand that no dream is too big."

  • Laura Collett gives some advice for the young riders

One of the young riders was a boy named Alfie, has has Cerebral Palsy.

His mother said: "It's been a fantastic way of being able to achieve things that we did't think he'd be able to achieve actually and it's really lovely that he can do it with his little sister and his little brother."

Back with Martin, when asked what was next from him this year, he said: "I don't know, I'm not doing much this year. I did Manhunt in the winter."

"We've got a lot of Doc Martin next year so I'll just bide my time until then."

"I'll just be at home mucking about with the horses."