Horse Riding for Children
Do you have a pony-mad child who wants to learn how to ride, care for ponies and meet other pony-mad friends? If the answer is yes then we are the stables for you!
Here at Stag Lodge Stables we cater for children from the age of 3 on our little Shetland ponies right up to 16-year-olds who want to take on the slightly more challenging disciplines such as jumping or dressage. We offer everything from one-off lessons to full courses, for total beginners right up to advanced level, and we even organize regular fun competitions.
We offer Pony Week courses on all school half-terms and holidays for children from the age of five, and also hold our hugely popular Pony Club meetings every weekend (except during the school summer holidays). Riding for children at Stag Lodge can be irregular through individual private lessons or if you wanted to make more of a commitment then we hold private individual and group lessons that take place on a weekly basis.
Stag Lodge is one of the largest Pony Club centres in England, enabling children who do not own their own pony not only the chance to learn how to ride but to be able to care for and look after ponies while gaining badges and certificates (not to mention gaining confidence, experience and having a great time!). We have been the Pony Club Quiz Champions and have been runners up and placed in the National Pony Club Championships several times! We offer a variety of outings for our Pony Club members to big equestrian events throughout the year including the Badminton Horse Trials in May, the Royal Windsor Horse Show in the summer and the London International Horse Show at Olympia in December.
As a British Horse Society-approved riding centre we are inspected at least once a year and only pass if we meet the most stringent standards of safety, instruction and horse care. Furthermore, a BHS inspector could just arrive unnanounced at any time, so we always keep our standards up!
Stag Lodge also offers fully approved BHS Courses for children from the age of 14 years upwards – please see the Courses & Training page for more details.
If you’re interested in holiday riding courses for children, please see Pony Week Courses.
Pony Park Lesson (Horse Riding for 3-6 year olds)
Our Pony Park Lessons are the perfect way to introduce your child to horse riding. We take children from the age of three (the only stables in the area to do so) on our gorgeous Shetland ponies, Scooby Doo, Honey Bee and Comet. A Pony Park Lesson is a 30-minute lead-rein lesson in the gorgeous Richmond Park on the edge of London. It is a safe and incredibly rewarding introduction to the equestrian world.
These are lead-rein sessions, meaning that one of our trained Instructors leads the pony at all times so children are fully supervised. Designed to develop familiarity with ponies whilst building confidence, the lessons are instructional as we also enhance skills slowly and safely. The riding lessons will include walking and trotting and may also include on-pony games such as ’round the world’, but will not include cantering. A Pony Park lesson will not only be instructional but great fun too.
If your child is five years or older and confident in walk and trot then he or she can move on to private one-to-one Lunge Lessons. If you are unsure whether your child is ready to move up, please feel free to discuss this with one of our qualified Instructors or staff members.
Horse riders of all levels can benefit from Lunge Lessons, but for the beginner it is the natural progression from a Pony Park Lesson or one of our popular 30/60-minute one-to-one lead-rein lessons.
Our Lunge Lessons take place in one of the six Arenas we have at Stag Lodge 2, where we offer a safe and enjoyable way to introduce the beginner to the art of horse riding. Lunge Lessons help to improve posture, balance, rhythm and will highlight problem areas and points of weakness. Even our most experienced horse riders occasionally use lunge lessons as a way to perfect their skills since they can be tremendously beneficial for all levels of riders.
A Lunge Lesson is one-to-one, with the Instructor in the Arena holding the lunge lead and in control of the horse while the rider performs a variety of exercises. Lunge Lesson courses run over a number of days or weeks. Typically, most novice riders will need anywhere from five to 10 Lunge Lessons at Stag Lodge Stables before they are ready to be ‘unclipped’ and go solo.
Lunge Lessons will help you:
- Learn to balance and follow your horse’s movement in walk, sitting and rising trot.
- Learn to maintain ‘position right’ and ‘position left, in order to remain upright and straight on the circle.
- Learn to develop feel for the horse swinging through his back correctly.
- Learn to feel the horse’s rhythm and how to use your momentum to maintain regularity in the rhythm.
- Learn how to use your body to ride resistant-free transitions.
- Learn how to regulate your breathing to promote relaxation in your horse and to maintain your ‘down connection’.
The Instructor maintains contact and control of the horse via a lunge line at all times. Confident rising and sitting trot must be reached before the client rides independent, off the lunge.
The next progression would be to move to Arena-based off-lunge Private Lessons at our purpose-built Stag Lodge 2 site.
Children’s Private Horse Riding Lessons
Private lessons are individual 30 or 60-minute one-to-one lessons that take place in one of our seven on-site Arenas at Stag Lodge 2 or in Richmond Park. Perfect for the novice rider just off the lunge and in preparation for joining group lessons, these lessons are also ideal for the more advanced rider whose own needs and requirements determine the content of the session.
Private lessons are also ideal for those wishing to build upon their riding skills or to progress towards a personal goal; regular private lessons can provide this development on a one-to-one basis, at a pace and level to suit the rider individually.
Initially a private one-to-one lesson will be off-lunge in an Arena at Stag Lodge 2 (Lunge Lessons must have been completed to progress to this stage). There is no commitment at this level – you can pay as you ride – but our most popular option is to buy a block of 10 lessons, as you then also get one free.
Once the Instructor is happy that you are confident and in control of the horse, you can progress to a Ride & Lead in Richmond Park or on Wimbledon Common. Here, the Instructor rides alongside you, with your horse on a lead rope. Again, once the Instructor is confident in your abilities you can be unclipped and ride solo. Reach this point and you have accomplished a real milestone – horse riding solo through some of the most beautiful green space in London!
Children’s Private Horse Riding Group Lessons
Our weekly one-hour Group Lessons, which take place all year round in one of the seven Arenas at Stag Lodge 2, are taught by some of our most experienced Instructors.
We operate Group Lessons with a maximum of six children to a group, always with the same Instructor from session to session, and all riders will be a similar age and ability. If your child is new to us or you are not sure if your child is ready to start a Group Lesson then a 30-minute assessment would be required; in order to take part in Group Lessons, all riders must be off lunge.
We like to keep the Group Lessons fun and engaging. You’ll practice many different exercises, not always on the same horse, with the aim of improving your confidence, posture and riding ability. The great thing about Group Lessons is that you’re taking part in an activity with other like-minded individuals, so it’s a great way of meeting new people and making friends while having a good time.
Group Lessons are incredibly popular at Stag Lodge Stables, but these are not lessons where you can turn up as and when you want; joining our Group Lessons requires commitment to complete the course.
For more information about Group Lessons please either call in at either location or contact firstname.lastname@example.org