Ok I thought I would just have a chat about some of the pros and cons of Riding Schools and Pony Clubs.
We are so lucky in Australia, that kids especially, have so many different options of where to go and ride.
So, let’s have a look at Riding Schools.
One of the bonuses in a riding school is that riders get the opportunity to ride different horses. I think this is very important for all riders, particularly in the beginning because every horse is different.
Different types of horses move differently and have different length strides which means that the rider has to adapt. When we learn to ride we develop our balance, when we ride different horses I believe that we develop better balance because we have to adapt constantly to different horses. That’s a big plus.
The other positive about riding schools is that the horses are (generally/hopefully) safe and reliable. This comes from being ridden regularly in an environment that they are used to and that they are comfortable in. You can never under estimate the importance of a horse with good work/feed (life) balance. Horses’ behaviour and therefore, the rider’s safety, depends on it.
In a riding school you can also find very knowledgeable instructors and that is a very important bonus because it makes everything easier when you learn the right way from the beginning. A lot of riding schools also offer lunging lessons where the horse and rider are on a long rope/lead called a lunge line that the instructor holds and regulates the pace of the horse. These are very beneficial because the rider gets an opportunity to really work on improving their seat and balance. This is a great thing for all riders with all levels of experience.
Let’s have a look at Pony Club:
Generally, you take your own horse to pony club which means that the riders don’t get the opportunity to ride other horses there. Lunging is also not allowed in many pony clubs.
Where pony club is great is that they have lots of different activities like games, trail riding and cross country jumping, theory sessions and other things. Pony club also gives you the opportunity to start competing at Pony Club events at your appropriate level when the rider is ready.
The other great aspect of pony club is the social environment. Most clubs have kid’s lessons based on age groups and lots of lifelong friendships develop there.
The downside is that the environment can be quite overwhelming for inexperienced horses and so it is important that you have a suitable and safe horse to take to pony club.
Instructors can vary as pony clubs are mostly run by volunteers, some of the instructors are also volunteers and it depends on the individual club how much they give their riders chances to learn more to develop their skills.
Another great thing about pony club is that kids can take part in doing certificates. These are based on riding skills but also on theoretical knowledge and as the kids go up the ladder the certificates become quite difficult and in depth so there is a lot that can be learned.
I hope this will give you a little bit of insight to start off with and I will be adding more content weekly as we go along.