Horse riding:

To ride or not to ride? This is a Hobby! Horse riding is a big part of Britain’s history, and nowadays it is considered a sport and entertainment nowadays.

Here are a few benefits your child could get while learning horse riding:

  • Self Assurance and Confidence Booster: Learning and mastering the skills in riding a horse and caring for an animal that is double of a child’s size could be inspiring and empowering. Through continuous encouragement and constructive guidance, the children will learn to be sure of themselves while following instruction, and each jump is a positive stimulation to train their brain to make decisions on their own. The children will also train to be more focused and in control, and those experience acquired from horse-riding ign will improve their concentration and managing of different things in life include time and emotion management.

Megan Hawkins, PR Executive for the British Horse Society, emphasises: “Riding is suitable for all ages, and especially for children with special needs, interaction with horses can really help build their confidence.”

  • Outdoor time free from Modern Household and Electronic Devices: With nearly 10% of 4-and-5-year-olds are obese while approxiately 13% are overweight, letting the children go outdoor and learn how to ride or groom a horse will make them physically and mentally active with plenty of fresh air and sunshine. Staying indoors is not always bad, but it is very tempted to just sit in front of a screen and have a soda pop.

  • Physical Development and Lifelong Fitness and Health: Lucy McCarthy (née Wiegersma), the only British rider and eventer to have won all three national eventing titles (junior rider in 1995, young rider in 1998, and senior in 2006), stresses that: “The value of perseverance and dogged determination, hard work, the rewards of empathy, how to deal with disappointment and losing, while also experiencing the sweet taste of success are all aspects that come into play.”

Beside these mental development, horse riding significantly improves the child's balance and motor coordination, which also contribute to training a child’s core strength and muscular development just by riding a horse for a mile.

  • Making friends and Expanding Social Circle: Horse riding as a social event gives rise to the benefits of meeting and fostering new friendships outside of a school setting. A city and modern life does not always allow children to understand what it is to live in the country: horse-riding location is a great way to get the children curious about nature, leading to social-life benefits, meeting new friends, and sustaining life-long friendships. It is not uncommon for some of the professional equestrians who have met and become friends for a long time--- and very often starting with a Saturday pony-riding club for juniors.

Show rider and producer Natalie Reynolds continued: “The friendships gained within riding disciplines are often life long, and it can be beneficial that children have different sets of friends to only their school friends.”

Here are some of the best schools for equestrians in Britain:

For those who are in prep school:

Beaudesert Park School (Minchinhampton, Stroud GL6 9AF) This school doesn't have their ponies on the grounds, but the students can use the Beaufort Polo Club and some weekly visits on nearby stables. They participate in both local and national events. One of their most notable alumni is Laura Bechtolsheimer who is an Olympic gold medallist.

Knighton School (Durweston, Blandford Forum DT11 0PY) The school provides simple lessons depending on what you need, and they have 14 boarding ponies that students can use from riding arena to exploring the Dorset countryside. It is perfect for first-time young riders and also as a holiday or weekend trip to explore the beautiful and spacious nature.

Sandroyd School (Rushmore Park, Upper N Rd, Tollard Royal, Salisbury SP5 5QD) This school accepts day and boarding students after vetting them. The school encourages the students to learn the whole experience of horse-riding, from grooming to mucking out, apart from learning riding there. They also compete with the national competition, so there are a lot of opportunities available to the students.

For senior schools, here are a few schools:

Stonar (208 Coombe Ln, Atworth, Melksham SN12 8NU) This British Horse Society-approved Equestrian Centre has first-class indoor and outdoor schools, having 65 horses and a cross-country schooling field with a variety of fences. It is open to anyone to book lessons at their leisure, but the school also has a competition for more experienced riders, which includes Stonar’s prestigious Inter-schools One Day Event Championships.

Mayfield School (Pedley Rd, Dagenham RM8 1XE) One of the few that is located near London, the school's riding department has seen beginners turn to international competitors thanks to their experienced teachers, fantastic facilities and extensive course. The school also the National Schools' One Day Event. It is ideal for those who would want their children to take part into more professional training.

Millfield School (Street, Somerset, BA16 0YD) A combination of equestrian and academic education, Millfield offers one of the best opportunities for students. The school is the only one in the country that has its polo ground, and they have 53 horses in a house, with 17 equestrian staff to work with students. Somerset is also famous for Cheddar Gorge, sandy beaches, and old British leather industry-- it is a full-on journey to take beside horse-riding, and perfect for a family day out.

We have partnered with a number of boarding schools that run day horse-riding courses alongside with academic courses. For more information, please contact Karen Li Foster, our Education Consultant at James-Lee Consultancy:

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