Five minutes with Bev Griffiths of Equine Dreams of Bawtry
Bev is aged 49 and has created her vision at the site of the former Horseworld at North View, Bawtry Road in Tickhill.
Doncaster born and bred, she is the single mum of 27-year-old Deana and has a five-year-old granddaughter called Sophia Rose, who she calls her rock.
Deana is a nurse, but does help her mum out if she is needed.
Bev says: “My granddaughter lives and breathes this place.
“She’s properly on the ball, considering how young she is and what she knows.”
The business, which has been established for eight years, is not only a riding school, but also offers alpaca trekking, ponies, miniature ponies, donkeys, rare sheep, rabbits, a petting area, a friendly zebra and even a unicorn, which hosts its own parties and even visits nursing homes.
Bev says: “I’ve always ridden since I was two years old, and when I got to the right age I started training. I’ve had a lifetime of horses.
“I get my passion from my fathe, daddy Dave, who is also a fantastic horse man.
“When I came here eight years ago, there was nothing but a house and stables and I’ve created what you see today.
“Eight years ago I had nothing, I planted the seed and let it grow and by heck have I let it grow.
“My horses are my world and I’ve got 26 in total.”
One of the main attractions is Ziggy the zebra.
Bev says: “Ziggy is 12 years old and he came to me from racehorse trainer Bill Turner.
“He’s in his prime and has been around humans all his life.
“I have a specialist licence which I had to get to have him.
“It is private viewing only for Ziggy for his safety, but you can feed him, touch him, he’s very child-friendly.”
You do not get much better than Equine Dreams of Bawtry as it has been awarded five stars from Bassetlaw Council.
Bev says: “The alpaca trekking is just amazing, it’s great for the kids.
“We do pony rides for £5 as not everyone wants a lesson, or can afford one, and people are flocking in for them.
“You can feed them and just have a ride around for the experience.
“There’s also a cafe on site with a viewing area into the riding school.
“I do loan horses too, for people who can’t afford to buy their own.
“They come and do lessons but class it as their own horse, so they groom and look after it.”
Lockdown has been ‘difficult’ says Bev.
She says: “We had all the animals to feed and keep up to standard.
“It’s been very difficult. I had to lay some staff off, but some volunteered to come in anyway. We’re all animal mad.
“I’ve got 12 members of staff and lots of volunteers that are all amazing.
“I reward them with rides, I’ve taken them for days out and given them gift vouchers.
“I live and breathe this place.
“I’ve always wanted to have some unusual animals, which is why I got Ziggy.
“We’ve also got sheep from Switzerland that are rare and have only been in the country for four years, they are hand-reared and get lots of cuddles.
“We’ve got some fantastic customers who give fantasic reviews.
“I work constantly, and I can’t praise the staff enough.
“Now I’ve achieved what I wanted to achieve I am happy as I am, I’m at my happiest.”
But does Bev get time for anything else?
She says: “I like to go for meals in a nice restaurant when I’ve got the time.
“I like to glam up. I love the races and I get really dressed up.”
Bev also has another string to her bow.
“I’m also a horse whisperer,” she says. “A lot of horses come to me with behavioural problems.
“I learnt from world-famous horse whisperer Monty Roberts.
“I went to California to meet Monty at his ranch and did some work there.
“I love helping others.
“Obviously I have to charge people but if I was really wealthy I would hav e a section for the less wealthy to come and experience the animals.
“I like to make other people happy.
“I have a lot of autistic children that come and take part in therapeutic lessons, and they can groom the horses. They find it really beneficial.