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Riding lessons - just what is involved costwise?
18

Housemum · 23/07/2013 20:05

Sorry for total numpty question, but DD2 is pony mad and I gave in today and took her for an own-a-pony day where she had a go at riding/cleaning/grooming/mucking out/weeding. She was absolutely hooked, telling me about trying to learn the rising trot whatever that is (I have NEVER ridden a horse!) and would like to swap from dance lessons to riding.

The place we went is too far away from home to consider, so I didn't talk costs with them, but what is a general sort of expectation re how many lessons it takes to get to a sensible standard, how much the "kit" costs, how often you should have a lesson etc.

We are in the South if there is a premium for riding in the Hampshire/Berkshire area! Dancing costs around £15 per week

thanks in advance for the expert advice :)

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goodasitgets · 23/07/2013 20:09

Re equipment, jodhpurs are v cheap and often on eBay, you could pick a pair up for less than £10. Leggings would do for a short time. Jodhpur boots - again eBay or equestrian clearance, maybe £15/20
Hat is most important to get and fitted by a good shop. Not sure on child hat prices but £40 ish?
On top half I wear polo shirts/jumpers/gilet/waterproof depending on weather. Long socks are good too
Lessons - once/twice a week seems fairly average

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goodasitgets · 23/07/2013 20:10

p.s I gave up ballet for riding... My mother still refers to riding as "a passing phase". 25 years later Grin

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Lovesswimming · 23/07/2013 20:22

Group lessons should be about £10-£15 so not much different, gear isn't expensive except a good hat (£40 is about right) u can probably loan one from the riding school until she is sure (sometimes a fall off needs to happen and if she carries on then that's it for life!) when she gets better (maybe 3 months in) body protector, again £40 - £80 depending on which one. They all give good protection as long as they meet the correct standard (riding shop will point u in the right direction) hats and protectors can last 3 years as some adjust. I'm guessing at the minute she needs new dance shoes, dance wear and money for exams? It will be similar as long as u don't get carried away and buy her a pony
Riding schools vary widely try and find out which ones are good. There are local forums on Horse and Hound where people may know if no one on here is local to u

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Pixel · 23/07/2013 21:10

I gave up ballet for riding too. They don't really go together anyway, took me ages to stop riding with my toes turned out Grin.

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Pixel · 23/07/2013 21:14

Hate to break it though, we are in south east and I've just looked at the website of our local 'family friendly' riding school (not the posh competitive indoor school one down the road) and it says 1 hour group lesson for child £27, which is quite a bit more than the ballet.

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stealthsquiggle · 23/07/2013 22:00

Even I rural middle-of-nowhere I am paying £16 for a 30 minute group lesson for DD and £19 for an hour long group lesson for DS.

Agree that kit (except hat) is easy to get second hand - I fine want new jodhpurs, boots, etc then they go on Birthday /Christmas lists. Lots of places also do vouchers so (extra) lessons, pony days etc could be presents.

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Housemum · 23/07/2013 23:30

Ouch, sounding pricey! Have sent an email to a local-ish school, will see what they say!

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basildonbond · 23/07/2013 23:51

dd(10) gave up ballet for riding .. riding is a lot more expensive ...

We pay £25 for a weekend group lesson of 45 minutes (and that's the cheapest option round here - south London) - sometimes she has a private 30 minute lesson if she wants to work on something in particular and that's £33 and I take her for the occasional 'treat' hack in Richmond Park - £40-£50 per hour

Dd's been having regular weekly lessons for nearly 18 months and is confident at cantering, jumping a 2'6" course, doing a simple dressage test and had her first taste of cross country last week. However there are children who started at the same time as her in the lead rein class who have only got as far as the walk, trot off-lead class so I think it must take some children a bit longer to get the hang of things.

Dd has a couple of pairs of jodhpurs, one pair of jodhpur boots, couple of pairs of half chaps, gloves, whip, body protector and skullcap plus hat cover - I get pretty much everything in the sale or from sites like Equestrian Clearance and have told all relatives if they want to get her birthday/Christmas presents to get something pony-related

She absolutely loves every minute she's on a pony - plus all the tacking up, grooming etc - seeing her face when she's so happy is worth every penny imo :)

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Littlebigbum · 24/07/2013 01:32

May be best to ask Dd where her friends ride, as there is a lot of differents in riding school.

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poppysaid · 25/07/2013 07:56

Group lessons for £10-15: you'd be lucky!
Ensure your chosen centre is licences by the council (an absolute minimum requirement, to hire horses without this is illegal) - and you then know they have correct insurance in place (a pre-requisite of the licencing)

Ideally, pick a BHS approved centre so you can guarantee a minimum standard of quality, safety and training of staff. Instructors are likely to have had more training in coaching techniqes and qualifications to prove this. All BHS qualified teaching staff, from the most basic assistant level, must have a first aid qualification and have undergone training in child protection.

I will say that there are some poorer approved centres and some brilliant non-approved ones, as with everything else, but if you don't know what you are looking for its a safe benchmark. perhaps try to find a Pony Club affiliated centre, if your dd becomes hooked there will be a wide range of activities and events she can do as a centre member under the PC banner.

Word of mouth is best recommendation, please don't just try to find the cheapest as they will be cheap for a reason! The more expensive places are likely to have better traines ponies, be funding/providing ongoing training for their staff and helpers, better, safer facilities etc and all this is reflected in the price you pay.

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Lovesswimming · 25/07/2013 08:21

I agree with poppysaid, just to say though where I got group lessons for that price was BHS approved a d very well run with well looked after ponies/horses, I stayed there on livery for awhile, it was a couple of years ago.
I've just had a look to see if its changed much, 1/2hr group is £12 1 hr group £18 it's Carrington riding centre in Manchester, maybe where u live plays a big part

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poppysaid · 25/07/2013 09:32

I think geography does very much come into it! Cost of land, council rates etc.

The other thing I meant to add was numbers in groups, I have heard horror stories about 8-10 in a group in a 20x40 where the instructor 'never noticed' someone falling off and subsequently climbing back on and carrying on!

I've previously worked in yards that expected me to do nose to tail sessions of 6-8 kids when working my way up the qualifications ladder and its impossible to give each child quality attention and ongoing development, its just crowd control!

Not my cup of tea, I run a small yard now but its targeted at quality coaching rather than a mass market of bums on saddles!

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DontCallMeBaby · 25/07/2013 17:07

South west - £15 for 30 minutes, £18 for 45 minutes, group lessons. DD may need a private lesson or two to get her confidence back up after a couple of falls and a near miss, and that's a slightly more painful £30 for 45 minutes.

Gear-wise she started with nothing - wellies, leggings and a hired hat. She got her own hat fairly early on, gloves as the weather went colder, jods, boots and body protector when she started at a new school where they seem to take such things a bit more seriously.

I would say she was competent at walk, trot and canter after about ten months of roughly fortnightly lessons - she was very nervous about cantering though, and really should have given it a go a good few weeks before she did.

Previous school, btw, was one of those accredited, Pony Club ones which is nonetheless not very good. Pony Club mornings under-supervised, and a horror story from an ex-instructor of finding herself in sole charge of the school, with an injured child and the air ambulance on the way.

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gordyslovesheep · 25/07/2013 21:52

eeek! Midlands I'm paying £30 x's 2 for pony club and £16 for a half hour lead rein lesson

I didn't buy much until knew it would stick so my smallest uses the schools hat (loads to choose from) leggins and her sisters old boots

the big girls have all the bits and bobs - it can be an expensive hobby but the love it and I sneak in a lesson while they are doing theirs Grin

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Housemum · 27/07/2013 10:59

Looking around here (Hampshire/Berkshire) the cheapest group lessons are £28!

Is it the sort of skill that you can start and stop, eg could she have a block of 4 or 5 lessons, then give it a rest for a while so we can save for another block? The place she went for a taster day did say that if you volunteer as a helper you sometimes get a ride if the ponies haven't had much exercise, so was thinking that once she had the basics she could volunteer to muck-shovel/weed pick once a month on the basis that she might get an extra ride if she's lucky

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Gilbertus · 29/07/2013 13:54

Yes my oldest daughter only had lessons in the holidays to start with and she came on fine - I must add that we started 6 years ago with holiday lessons and now we have 2 ponies of our own Grin

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Littlebigbum · 29/07/2013 14:08

Yes Housemum very expensive, there is a post on here about how much riding they do get, differs with every yard.

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BehindLockNumberNine · 29/07/2013 21:18

Dd is ten and has been riding for around 2 years, having a lesson roughly every second week. She is now confident in walk, trot, canter, can jump a small course (up to 2ft6 ish) and do a small dressage test. She loves hacking out and 'bombing across the common' as her riding instructor puts it Grin She has also progressed from most of the safe plodders to the slightly more lively or cheeky ponies, much to her delight. (although was put on one of the plodders last week and taken to the jumping field where she was delighted to find that this pony known for being a bit of a plodder was actually a responsive and fun ride)

We pay £25 for an hour's group lesson. This involves grooming, hoof picking, tacking up, riding for 45 minutes and then untacking, hoof picking, grooming / sponging down if hot and returning pony to the field.

The stables dd rides at do take helpers, and these do get rides in return, but they have a strict over 13s only policy so dd will have to wait a few more years Smile

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