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When will my child be ready for lessons?

Children are probably best to start with some fun activities, like children’s leads or mini groom and rides. If they continue to talk about
the horses for weeks/months after their visit, then it’s time to bring them back! You can mix the fun with lessons in something like Pony Prep or Little Lessons. This is particularly appropriate for five and six year olds. To get the most of their lessons, children need to be able to tell their right from their left reliably and to be able to concentrate for at least fifteen or twenty minutes. They also need to have reasonable core strength (hard when you’re only five!).

While every child is different, children are likely to progress more quickly when they’re seven, eight or nine years old, as their co-ordination, problem solving and strength is all more developed than in younger children. We can, and do, teach younger children who enjoy their riding and progress slowly at their own pace, enjoying themselves while they wait to grow bigger and get stuck into more serious stuff!

Can I learn to ride at 40/50/60/70 years of age?

Yes you can, and lots of our riders do. 😊 So far as we know, our oldest rider has been 84. We’re very used to teaching beginner adults and have no particular expectations. Our aim is to get to know you, how you learn and what suits you and then tailor our lessons accordingly. You can be nervous, enthusiastic, focused, determined, laidback, very fit, unfit, overweight – or a million other things. Successful riders come in all shapes, sizes, ages and personalities.

Do I need to be fit?

If you’re not fit at the beginning, you will get fit as you go along! You don’t need to be super fit or flexible, however, if you work on your flexibility and fitness at home, as well as at riding, you will be able to ride for longer and achieve more.

What should I wear?

Long pants which are flexible enough that you can do a low squat in them without feeling restricted. The pants need to be long to protect your legs from rubbing on the saddle, which causes bruises and blisters. Leggings, loose cotton pants, moleskins are good.

Socks which come over your ankle bone. This is to protect your feet from rubbing inside the riding boot.

Riding boots and riding helmet, which we can provide.

A normal shirt or top, suitable for the weather. Horse riding is hard, sweaty work, so if you have a few layers, make sure they have a zip or buttons down the front, so they’re easy to take off during your lesson.

It’s best not to wear jewellery, especially chains or dangly earrings as they can accidentally get caught on things.

How do I make a booking?

You can telephone us (9331 8231) or email office@sydneyhorse.com.au We’ll be interested to know your height and weight plus any experience details and whether the booking is for an adult or a child. We take payment in advance and this can be by card over the ‘phone or by bank transfer.

If you’re thinking you’d like to keep riding provided the first lesson goes well, it’s best to book your first lesson at a time/day you can regularly come. That way you’ll keep the same instructor, which will help your progress.

What should I book?

A good place to start for children in a visit to the Stables (free) or a 15 minute child’s lead. Older children who are interested in horses will like our Mini Groom and Rides (5-7yo) or Groom and Rides (8yo+).

For adults or children who would like riding lessons, it’s best to start with a 30 minute private lesson. Longer lessons are for people who’ve had extensive experience and/or regular lessons, who can walk, trot and canter on their own.

Do I have to make a booking? Can I just show up?

Yes, please make a booking. We tend to be fully booked one or two weeks in advance, especially on weekends or after school.

When should I arrive for my lesson?

It’s best to arrive 15 minutes before your lesson, so that you have time to get ready and get on the horse, ready for your lesson. If you arrive on time, you will lose lesson time getting ready and getting on the horse. If you are late, you will also cut down on your lesson time. We tend to have back to back lessons all day, so if you are late, you will only have the remaining time for your lesson – we won’t run over to make up for you being late.

If you have a lesson on the weekend, it’s a good idea to check traffic reports to help plan your trip. When there are events or exhibitions on at the Entertainment Quarter, the football Stadium or the Cricket Ground, the traffic can be very heavy, so you need to allow for this.

What if it’s raining?

We go ahead with all riding, including riding to the Park, in light rain. Even if it’s raining heavily, we still teach in our undercover arenas. On rare occasions we cancel lessons because of the weather. In these cases, we can reschedule or give you a full refund.

What is your cancellation policy?

Please ring and leave a message or email 24 hours before your appointment time. In these cases, we can reschedule with no penalty or refund your payment, minus 20% for our administrative time.

If you cancel your appointment with less than 24 hours’ notice, we charge you in full for the appointment. We don’t reschedule and we don’t refund if you give us less than 24 hours’ notice of a cancellation.

Deposits paid for Riding Camps or Parties are not refundable.

If you have paid in full for a party and give us a week’s notice of cancellation, we will refund 50% of your party payment.

In the case of Riding Camps, if you have paid in full and give us a week’s notice of cancellation we will give you a full refund, provided we can find replacements for your camp spots.

Do you have Parking?

We have free onsite parking for clients, although if you come between 10am and 3pm on Saturdays and Sundays you might find there aren’t any spaces available.

The car entrance is on Lang Road. There is a boom gate which opens automatically as you drive towards it. Then follow the one-way-road around
to the left. As you go up the hill, opposite the main arena, the parking on the wall on your left is available. So are the spaces in the open car park at the top of the property. Please don’t park in any spots marked ‘reserved’ or ‘no parking’ as the Parking Police are vigilant and the fine is $190.

If the Centre car parking is full, you’ll often find parking in Cook Road, alongside the Equestrian Centre. There’s also paid parking at the Entertainment Quarter, next door in Lang Road.

How many lessons do I need?

Everyone learns at different speeds, so the answer changes depending on the person. Mostly, an adult or older child who has a lesson once a week could expect to be cantering a quiet horse safely in a quiet arena in nine to twelve months. For younger children, it can take a couple of years to reach this point. Some riders will come along faster and some more slowly.

If you ride more often, then it’s likely that your progress will be faster.

There are levels to riding skill. We like to start riders off with horses that are relatively easy to learn on. As the riders develop skills, we can change to horses that are a little less easy. Then we can move from riding in the relative safety of an arena, to riding in the open spaces of Centennial Park. We can also move from flatwork riding to learning how to jump. Then you might like to try your hand at competition. So, depending on your interests, you can always be learning and improving your riding.

If you’re learning so that you can do a riding holiday, then the more lessons the better! A year of weekly lessons would be ideal, depending on the holiday. If you haven’t got that much time, then you can learn skills in a shorter timeframe, particularly if you ride more than once a week. Think about someone giving you a half hour introduction to driving a manual car, including accelerating, braking, turning, changing gear, indicating and change lanes, stopping, parking. You’re going to be reluctant to drive after that level of training. Horse riding is much more tricky, so the more you learn and practice, the more comfortable and safer you’ll be.

What should I buy?

There’s no need to buy anything initially, until you make sure you like horse riding and are going to continue. We have riding boots and helmets you can borrow.

When you are ready to buy something, we recommend you start with jodhpurs – they make a huge difference to your comfort level. From there, you could buy your own helmet, boots and chaps. Make sure that your helmet meets current safety standards and that it’s well-fitted. There are lots of places to buy things and these include:

Sydney Horse also has a small selection of jodhpurs for sale – and can order in your size or colour.