Last year, during a family holiday, the girls tried horse riding for the first time and they completely fell in love with it. From the moment they mounted their ponies they just had a natural confidence and, having been several times since on various trips, I have loved seeing that confidence grow and grow. Harry on the other hand, the child who is afraid of nothing, is incredibly nervous around horses and until now has had just one pony riding experience which I’m not quite sure he enjoyed very much at all!
So when we were invited to try a horse riding session as part of our collaboration with Great British Racing, it felt like a great time to introduce Harry to riding and hopefully get him just as confident as the girls.
Our local riding school Club Equestrian is just a short drive away and offers both private lessons and class lessons each week. We were booked into a class lesson and, after putting on their boots and helmets, the children were introduced to their horses which they were very excited about.
With Megan riding Whisper, Eva riding Duncan, and Harry riding Comet, each horse was led by either an instructor or one of the young helpers, and began with just a gentle walk around the paddock to get the children used to the horses.
Club Equestrian runs different classes for different abilities and although the children were in the beginners class, I was really impressed with just how much they did during the first lesson. Some of the children in the group had clearly been attending for a little longer as they were fully in control of their pony without a helper guiding them along.
After ten minutes of walking and practicing changing direction, each child took it in turn to trot around the paddock and this was by far the children’s favourite part. When it came to Harry’s turn I was very nervous as, not only is he just five years old (not to mention extremely clumsy!) but I was worried he lacked the confidence on hold on tight and stay upright! It turns out I couldn’t have been more wrong and he came trotting past, a huge smile on his face, looking like he had been riding his whole life!
Although the lesson only lasted 30 minutes the children loved every moment and I was so impressed with Club Equestrian and made enquiries about signing up for more horse riding lessons before we left. I won’t lie to you, it’s an expensive hobby, especially for three children, and yet it’s the first real activity the have fully fallen in love with and I can see it becoming a big part of their childhood.
Alongside lessons we will be making sure we visit the next family race event at Haydock Park where we enjoyed a fun filled day earlier this summer. As part of Great British Racing’s ‘Under 18s Race Free’ initiative, 60 racecourses throughout Great Britain are allowed under 18’s to be admitted free of charge to the vast majority of fixtures throughout the year, when accompanied by a paying adult.
Over the summer holidays there are more than 200 fixtures up and down the country, including 50 special family days with additional activities put on for families and young people. To find out more about ‘Under 18s Race Free’ and find a family race day near you go to www.under18sracefree.com.
** This is a collaborative post with Great British Racing. We were gifted horse riding lessons and sponsored for our part in the campaign. **