Posted on 10th November 2019
If you’re deeply interested in riding, then perhaps the best place for you to study is a school with stables filled with horses, or at least the opportunity to bring your own pony to school.
On its own merit, riding is an excellent activity for children to take part in. It’s great from a physical perspective, as it requires balance, coordination, and lots of flexibility. It also requires you to do lots of mucking and grooming, which come with their own physical demands. Riding also teaches you valuable soft skills, such as patience, determination, and responsibility. Without these, you cannot adequately take care of a horse and learn to ride.
With the success of the British equestrian teams at multiple international events, including the Olympics, interest in riding a serious career sport, rather than a mere hobby, has increased dramatically among teenagers and younger children across the UK.
Riding schools in the UK
There are lots of independent schools and riding venues capable of enabling children to pursue their passion for horse riding without necessarily compromising on the academic side of things. For example, Millfield School in Somerset has 53 horses in its tables and great facilities, including trainers, stable staff, coaches, and a polo pitch.
Another example is the Stonar School in Wiltshire, which has 65 horses and has taught horse riding for many decades now. Mayfield, located in East Sussex is yet another school that takes horse riding seriously. They have a paddock, stable, and indoor sand school. Finally, there is the Sidcot School, also in Somerset, which has allowed pupils to bring their horses to school for over two decades now. Moreover, they have plenty of horses on site, and this has been true since the establishment of the school over 300 years ago.
All these schools are excellent for both beginners and experienced horse riders. Pupils can either bring in their own horses, or adopt a school horse and learn to care for it, or simply start out with riding lessons to get a handle of the sport.
Some students may prefer to turn their passion for horses into a full-fledged career. As it turns out, there are schools which include horse riding in their formal curricula, going as far as including it as a module for the physical education subject at GCSE or A-Levels. Many schools also offer qualifications for the British Horse Society and Pony Club.
At Stonar, for example, there’s a rider development programme, for which one can attend up to 3 lessons per week as part of the formal school curriculum. At Millfield, serious horse riders can opt into the British Horse Society Assistant Instructor exam, either by dropping a subject in Year Nine, or taking an extra option in their sixth form. British Horse Society qualifications are recognized internationally, carry their own UCAS points, and can lead to lots of gap year opportunities.
All that said, training in horse riding can take up a lot of your time and it is understandable that you might find it hard getting enough time to study. Do not despair, because you can always use the Writix service, where professional writers can help you do your homework.
Even if you aren’t considering taking on horse riding as a career, the lessons you learn can be valuable to your life. The soft skills, in particular, will enable you to thrive in whatever career you eventually choose for yourself. Also, the sheer enjoyment that pupils get prompts many of them to find a way to manage their time better, so they can fulfill their academic responsibilities without missing out on riding lessons.
How do you fit riding into your schedule?
Part of the burden is on the school staff to make it work. The riding and academic staff need to cooperate to support pupils in learning all they need, both academically, and with regard to riding. Fortunately, riding can be fit anywhere into the day, from morning, to lunch, to any other free periods. You can even do it after school and on the weekends. Students who bring their ponies to school can also make use of the livery services to help with the daily care of their horses. Millfield is one of the schools with full livery for horses. At Mayfield, the school performs livery services in the morning and the pupils take over in the evenings and on the weekends.
The same applies when one is in senior school. You don’t have to have been a rider all your life to do it at your A-Levels. Many pupils take their first lessons in their senior year using the school’s horses, and learn a lot about taking care of an animal as powerful as a horse, giving them a deep sense of achievement by the time they are done.
One of the most beautiful things about learning to ride is that pupils often develop a strong emotional bond to their horses. Considering how stressful the teenage years can get for a pupil, having to meet academic demands and also deal with the raging hormones and identity crises that come with adolescence, having a horse for a friend can be a balancing experience. They are quiet, non-judgemental, intelligent, and often very loving.
Jeremy Raynolds is a writer, editor, and sports enthusiast. He loves to write about different sports in a way that makes them accessible to the average person who has never tried them but is interested. When not writing, he loves to ride horses on the weekends.
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