New Place to ride06/07/2016
I’ve been riding since I was five years old and without giving away my age, that’s a long time! I’ve had several breaks from it over the years due to children and work commitments but I always end up back in the saddle.
This time following a break of a couple of years after selling my last horse I found myself in the position of looking for a riding school, after deciding that my riding skills needed to be improved and updated!
So what do you look for when trying to find a new place to ride?
So first things first, what are you looking for in a riding school? Do you want to improve your general riding skills like me, or focus on one specific discipline such as jumping, dressage or cross country?
If so, you need to check that they have the correct facilities to meet your needs; there’s no point wanting to become a whizz at cross country if the riding school doesn’t have a cross country course!
Secondly are all the instructors qualified? They should be at least BHAI (BHS Assistant Instructor) which means they have passed lots of exams that test their knowledge, riding skills and teaching skills. Riding lessons are expensive so make sure you are getting a great instructor for your money!
Use a BHS approved riding school. This means that they have to maintain high standards of equine welfare, tuition and customer service.
They should also be registered and approved by the local council who will issue them with a riding school license. This is a legal requirement and they should have their licence on display or be able to produce this if asked.
The Riding Establishments Act 1964 makes it a legal requirement for a Riding School to hold a licence and Public Liability Insurance. In fact, Riding Schools along with Nuclear Power Plants are the only busineses required by law to hold Public Liability Insurance!
Always make sure they hold adequate insurance.
Make sure you are happy with the way the Riding School is run, do the leaders wear riding hats when leading clients and working with the ponies? Do they teach clients not to walk behind the horses and be aware that riding is a high risk sport? Are the horses/ponies happy and well looked after?
Finally does it look like people are having fun and enjoying their lessons? Visit, stay and watch some lessons so you can judge the level of tuition, watch how they interact with the children and ponies and most important of all – is everyone having fun?