If your child is new to riding, Kingston Riding Centre can offer a number of different options which can introduce your child to the joy of riding in a safe but fun manner.
For very young children we can offer Pony Rides into Richmond Park. These can be for 30 or 45 minutes and your child will ride one of our Shetland ponies. The bridle of the pony is held by one of our instructors at all times and the ride can either be fun or more instructional depending upon age and previous experience. We offer Pony Rides from the age of two and a half years.
The next stage on from Pony Rides is Lead Rein Lessons. These are more formal lessons held in the outdoor arena under close bridle contact with the instructor and your child will start to learn very quickly how to control the horse. They will learn how to start and stop and also how to use the reins and their feet to steer the horse in the desired direction. They will also learn how to balance in the saddle through fun exercises such as riding backwards, walking without stirrups and “round-the-world” where they turn round in the saddle whilst the pony is stationary. The ideal age for Lead Rein lessons to start is five.
The next stage up from Lead Rein Lessons is Flat Lessons and you will hear us talk about lunge lessons, the first stage of flat lessons. The pony is on a lunge line, some distance from the instructor. The instructor has control of the pony via the lunge line as well as the rider learning to control the pony. This is the safest way to ride until the rider has the confidence and skills to ride independently. Once they are able to ride off the lunge they are able to progress to canter – the timing of this will be based upon an assessment by one of our senior instructors.
As young riders progress they will learn to move the pony around the arena at walk, trot and canter in a controlled manner. They will learn how to carry out ‘school movements’ – for example circles, figures of eight and serpentines. It sounds simple but requires a good deal of skill to ride accurately.
For children who are able to walk/trot/canter confidently we offer group lessons, where there are up to six riders in the group. This teaches riders good riding school discipline and prepares the young riders for eventually riding out in groups on hacks. Group Lessons also offer the junior rider a chance to socialise with other riders of a similar age and riding ability. Group lessons often cover dressage schooling techniques and jumping
We also proud to be a Centre Member for the Pony Club. This institution has been the start point for a number of our London 2012 Olympians and further details can be found on the Pony Club page on our website.
We can also offer the more able and confident junior rider options such as jumping lessons all year round and Private Hacks out into Richmond Park during the Summer months.
We have half hour Stable Management courses for older children which covers important areas such as care of the horse, equipment and stable and is a positive way of highlighting other areas of responsible riding
We run Helpers Courses for junior riders aged 10 and over and these cover key elements of Stable Management and yard safety and once completed will allow the junior rider to become a registered Helper at Kingston Riding Centre.
The aim of Helpers on the yard is to enable young people to gain experience and confidence around horses, whilst helping the staff in the running of a lively and busy yard. Helpers are allocated a colour grade according to their current skills, abilities and confidence level in undertaking the various tasks that are required around the yard. This ensures that Helpers will not be asked to perform a task beyond their current capabilities and experience. Helpers are continually assessed and monitored by the yard staff so that they can move up through the various levels.
Helpers can earn rides through a points system. They need to demonstrate that they have been helpful and have a positive attitude. The award of points and rides is at KRC’s sole discretion.
We are grateful for the commitment shown by each and every Helper at Kingston Riding Centre and the Helper System is designed so that people of all abilities and skill are able to come to the yard and help.