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Choosing a First Riding School

6th September 2009, 19:22

Choosing the right riding school for you is very important. Firstly you should decide what you want from the school so you have standards to judge the schools against. Are you a beginner? Do you just want to hack? Do you want to learn to jump? Many riding schools in the UK are approved by either the British Horse Society (BHS) or the Association of British Riding Schools (ABRS). Both of these organisations set the standard for riding schools to make sure that they maintain a good standard of care to towards horses and ponies and safety towards their clients.


Although location of the school is important it is not advisable to choose a school purely on its convenient location. First shortlist a number of potential riding centres using information from a directory. Then visit them, meet the staff and the horses and view the yard and its facilities. It is advisable to ring or email before you visit to make sure it is a convenient time and that there will be someone available to show you around. It might be possible for you to observe a lesson so that you can see some of the horses in action and the quality of the instruction.


There are many types of lessons available, from beginner to advanced most riding schools will cater for your needs but it is important to check first. Riding schools offer a variety of lessons: from private lessons (where one rider has their own instructor), to lunge lessons (where the horse is secured on the end of a line) to group classes.  Whether you are a beginner or just new to this riding school it is often best to start with a private assessment lesson so that the instructor can give you one to one assistance and then assign you to a specific level or group.


When you have chosen your riding school and booked your first lesson it's time to get riding. It is important to wear appropriate clothing, ideally jodhpurs or stretchy trousers, boots with a small heel (1/4 inch) - trainers or sandals are not acceptable.  Most riding schools hire out British safety standard hard hats; these must be worn at all times when you are mounted. Don't worry if you don't have all the equipment right away as most riding schools can lend you anything you need to ride.


All that is left is to enjoy your riding experience and hope you continue with this very rewarding activity