After an absence of about 15 years, I've been desperate to get back into riding for ages, but have finally decided there's no time like the present! So am looking for a really good riding school, on problem is I'm in London, so it's likely to cost a fortune. Can anyone recommend a stable. I was looking towards Ridgeway, Stag Lodge, or Kingston as they are about 20 minutes from me, but am willing to try anything!
Dd has lessons at Deen City Farm, and goes out on hacks with Ridgway and Stag Lodge. The instructors at the city farm are great and dd's improved in leaps and bounds. They have adults in the group lessons as well but have a weight restriction of 11 stone.
However all dd's lessons are in the arena so she also goes on rides out into the park with Stag Lodge and on Wimbledon common with Ridgway. Ridgway is marginally cheaper but has no arena and you don't get quite the same sense of freedom on the common as you do in Richmond Park. Dd loves the exhilaration of cantering across the park and she's fallen in love with one of the ponies at Stag Lodge so we go there whenever finances and time allow. As far as I can tell the instructors at Stag lodge seem better at interacting with the riders than at Ridgway where they seem a bit grumpy - the ponies seem happy enough though
We've never been to Kingston so don't know anything about them but would definitely recommend Stag lodge and Deen city farm with Ridgway marginally behind
I really love Trent Park which is accessable by tube. Tues.-Friday at 11am there is a women's riding club. Most of us have had a long break and are returning riders. Very friendly but busy. Great social life with the club.
I kept ponies at all of those yards when young! I'd leave out Wimbledon Village or Ridgeway because of the road journey - their horses are probably fantastic but drivers are unpredictable. I also much prefer hacking in Richmond Park. Of the other two, Kingston has much better facilities but I am out of date on instructors / horses. They used to do lots of social stuff in the bar there if that floats your boat. You might want to find out whether Minette Rice Edwards at Ham House stables is doing lessons - she is an inspirational, brilliant, wonderful teacher and although her yard is mainly livery you might get lucky. I can't recommend her strongly enough and her yard is small, beautiful and has its own outdoor school then hacking on ham common into Richmond Park. Given the size of the yard, there's no hanging around and hundreds of teen helpers - that may also be a great appeal. There are a few yards that ride out in Hyde Park but I don't like the traffic getting there, and I don't like the way they're kept (one place is in a mews and when they close up at night, they shut the mews garage doors and they horses are in an enclosed, dark, stuffy space in very small stalls. It's not nice)
Thank you all so much for the help. I've booked in for a private lesson this week at Stag Lodge just to see how it goes, and see if I still have the bottle for it! If all goes well, I'll then go and recce all your recommendations and hopefully make a permanent commitment back to horses.......what to wear?!
If you dont mind going a little further there is a wonderful stables in Cobham called Pointers. Very relaxed family run stables with incredibly knowledgeable people and great horses. Not your average Surrey stables and very reasonably priced. Both our daughters rode there prior to our move to the midst of Dartmoor and loved it. There are also several great country pubs very close for lunch afterwards!