I have to admit I've resisted the clamour for riding lessons from my two little girls before now. Mostly it's because of the cost and also with three ponies of our own I felt it was a matter of waiting until the girls fitted the ponies rather than forking out for them to ride other people's equines.
But then Pony magazine carried vouchers for £5 off for new or lapsed riders to have a lesson at their local ABRS riding school and suddenly it seemed a good idea for the summer holidays.
|(Left to right) G9 and Beau, H9 and Tally, R7 and Dylan.|
Then the girls and the two other riders were taken into the school to meet their ponies. The latter were standing in a line, parked side by side down the centre of the school. Not tied up, just ready and waiting, ears pricked, for the lesson. That was impressive. Any pony quiet enough to be 'parked' like that is quiet enough for your precious child to ride.
G9 was riding Beau, a pretty chestnut mare, Hannah was on Tally, a little bay, and Rosie rode Dylan, the spitting image of our own Bullseye, who proved to have the one speed, slow, which was as it should be for a complete beginner.
Parents watched through the windows of the cafe which overlooks the indoor school, as the instructor explained the rudiments of riding, including stopping and steering (in and out of traffic cones) and then everyone had a go at trotting.
The hack part was a loop along a track around the riding stables. It was the perfect confidence-giving session and none of them wanted to get off their ponies when the hour was up.
They want to go back again, of course they do, and ride the same ponies, which may or may not be possible. The staff at Marros Riding Stables are friendly and fun. They take safety seriously and they know novice riders are going to feel nervous. They were experts in taking the absolute beginner and giving them confidence. I'm pretty sure we'll be heading back for another ride before the end of this summer holidays.