Despite being a huge city, London has a wealth of horse riding options on offer. So it’s time to saddle up…
If you grew up horsey, constantly smelling of saddle soap and used to getting up early to muck out your pony, before dashing off to school, then you’ll know what we mean when we say we miss the country. Doubtless, you’ll want your little ones to learn to ride themselves, too. Not only are horses wonderful, calming creatures but they can also enhance childhood. They imbue a sense of responsibility in children early on, get them outside and breathing the fresh (ish, remember the hay!) air and doing exercise all at the same time.
But just because you live in the city, it doesn’t mean you can’t get out for a gallop. London is, not that you’d know it, full of riding opportunities. From hacking in Hyde Park to lessons with a countryside feel in a leafy London village, there’s horseplay all around. You just have to know where to look.
We’ve rounded up the best places to take your children riding, whether you’re after a taster session or a more substantial outing. And when your little Londoners are well and truly besotted with their four-legged friends, then check out the clever Pony Share Membership scheme at the Shetland Pony Club just outside London. And you never know, you might just fancy getting back on board yourself. We know we’d love to.
Where to ride in London
• Hyde Park Stables, W2
For the ultimate horse riding experience, trot along ‘Rotten Row’ and alongside The Serpentine lake. Lessons for all levels as well as Pony Club sessions. | hydeparkstables.com
• London Equestrian Centre, N12
Family-run and set in 34 acres on the Mill Hill/Finchley border. Pony days, lessons, hacking, sessions for tiny tots, livery and birthday parties. | londonridingschool.com
• Wimbledon Village Stables, SW19
With 25 horses and ponies, lessons take place on nearby Wimbledon Common or in the riding school. | wvstables.com
• Dulwich Riding School, SE21
Runs ‘own a pony’ days, riding in Dulwich Park, group or individual lessons and birthday parties. Family-run and owned for over 50 years. | dulwichridingschool.co.uk
• Aldersbrook Riding School, E12
Based on the Wanstead Flats, this charming School offers lessons, picnic hacks, holiday competitions and even theatrical plays with the ponies! | aldersbrookriding.com
• Stag Lodge, Richmond Park, SW15
From Shetland pony sessions to dressage and jumping for the more advanced, there are also Pony Week courses and outings to big equestrian events. | ridinginlondon.com
• Ealing Riding School, W5
For children aged five and over, there are ‘own a pony’ days, stable management and pony handling lessons. Also a tack shop. | ealingridingschool.net
• Shetland Pony Club, Cobham, KT11
Plan the perfect pony party complete with invitations, rosettes and party bags. Just off the A3 or the M25, you can bond with one of their ponies through the Pony Share Membership scheme. | shetlandponyclub.co.uk