BUSINESS bosses proved to be the mane attraction when they walked away with a top prize at an awards ceremony.
Bob Ayre, who owns Pony World, at Crimdon, won a gold rosette at the Know Your Durham Coast (KYDC) awards this week.
Bob, 66, was among more than 40 representatives from Durham attractions who picked up prestigious rosettes and Local Tourism Business and Skills training awards.
He and his wife Carol, 64, attended a number of business skills workshops through the KYDC tourism initiative in the run-up to the awards ceremony.
Bob said: “We began Crimdon Pony World in 1984 when this coastline looked very different because of the effects of the coal industry.
“After a lot of hard work this area has been returned to nature and it is beautiful.
“More and more people from outside the North-East are coming to realise that, which is why tourists are playing a greater part in our business.
“The Know Your Durham Coast business skills workshops have helped me gain a better understanding of how we can make the most of visitors to this area and how to market Crimdon Pony World to them.”
Niall Benson, project manager for Durham Heritage Coast Partnership, said: “Crimdon Pony World is already making a positive contribution to tourism in this area by attracting visitors from across the region and beyond.
“Bob and Carol’s plans to develop this element of the business will no doubt help secure the future for what is a thriving community resource.”
Pony World has been providing holidays to visitors from all over the UK and abroad for the last 27 years.
Planning permission was recently given for 10 luxury holiday lodges on the site.
The Ofsted-registered centre now has 24 horses and ponies and provides lessons for riders of any ability over the age of three.
It has facilities for disabled riders and currently has a residential capacity of 18 in two dormitories.