What should I wear?
You need a t-shirt or long-sleeved top (it must cover the shoulders), jodhpurs or leggings (no jeans please) and knee height socks. Please do not wear anything that has a hood (or the hood will have to be tucked in for safety reasons) and please remove all piercings, jewellery or anything else that could get caught or flap about. We will provide and fit a riding hat and boots if needed, but please bring your own riding hat, boots, body protector and any other riding wear if you have it. We will need to check that your equipment fits to our satisfaction and meets our safety standards (particularly riding hats) in your first session with us. If there are any problems you will be able to borrow our equipment (sadly many European standard hats do not meet the recently revised safety standards in the UK). You are also advised to bring a full range of waterproof clothing and plenty of warm layers as you can never predict British weather! Please note that body protectors are compulsory for pole work and jumping lessons, but air jackets/vests are not permitted at STE.
Are there any restrictions at STE?
Although we cater for all abilities, there is currently a weight limit of 11st (70kg) for riders. Our minimum age is 5 (School Year 1) for private lessons or Age 6 for Pony Days. Also, riders will only be allowed to work over poles or jump if they are wearing a body protector – we are able to provide and fit these (child sizes) if you don’t yet have your own.
Do you offer lessons for children not attending St Teresa’s?
We do, although Effingham School’s students get priority for booking sessions. If we have availability, we are happy to welcome other riders, both children and adults (when space allows).
What activities can you offer?
– Ridden training, usually private lessons. Shared lessons can be discussed with the office.
– Stable Management training. Learning about the care of horses and ponies.
– Pony Days in the school holidays.
– Arena Experience and Training sessions and small competitions on site for STE pupils.
– Join our Pony Club Centre and participate in PC Tests, from ‘E’ upwards, and earn Achievement and Mini Achievement Badges.
– BHS Challenge Awards, which will gain eligibility for BHS exams.
– Ride Safe training and preparation for hacking.
– Training towards the BHS exams up to Stage 2.
– Volunteering opportunities with the option to work towards the Young Equestrian Leaders Award (YELA) and Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) Awards.
– Training and access to local competitions with Pony Club and National Schools (NSEA) – only for those who have their own pony.
– Trips to other Equine Events such as Badminton Horse Trials, Hickstead Show Jumping, and the London International Horse Show at Christmas.
What happens in the school holidays?
In the school holidays we offer:
– Pony Days. As well as riding at least once each day, and taking care of the horses/ponies with us, riders will take part in plenty of games and activities to get to know each other/their ponies.
– Lead Rein mornings. These are aimed at those who are just beginning and are best on the lead rein.
– Private lessons and clinics, both on weekdays around the pony days or lead rein mornings and at weekends, by arrangement.
– Adhoc lessons. Individual lessons can be booked during the holidays by arrangement.
– NSEA Training. We run training sessions for our competitive riders in dressage, show jumping and arena eventing, at all levels.
– Arena Hire. Effingham Schools Trust pupils can use the arena free of charge, to fit around other users and regular lessons. Local pony clubs and riding clubs can hire the arena by arrangement, particularly on Sundays.
Do you go Hacking?
STE is situated in a wonderful area for hacking, nestled at the top of the North Downs with some wonderful views across the countryside. There is a small amount of riding on the road required in order to access wonderful off-road riding across Ranmore Common and around the National Trust Property, Polesden Lacey and the Surrey Hills.
We also have two hacking routes on site where all our riders can ride around our fields and along our woodland trail, to gain confidence riding out in an open space but in a more controlled environment than being out in the countryside.
Riders 11 years and over are able to hack off site, under supervision, providing they have passed either the Pony Club Road Rider Test, or the British Horse Society Ride Safe Examination. Over 18s are allowed to hack if they are assessed as competent by our staff. Riders are also required to wear hi-viz and we strongly recommend a body protector when hacking offsite.
When can I learn to canter?
We are passionate about our teaching, and we teach to the very highest standards we can. And we know that cantering is fun! However, riding is a risk sport, and one of the riskiest stages is that of learning to canter. Therefore we stipulate that, before you learn to canter, you must first be balanced in trot, and able to control your own balance and your pony in all basic school movements, in sitting, with or without stirrups, rising and light seat at trot.
Once you can balance and ride the trot work effectively, we usually recommend that your first canters are on the lunge or on the lead rein, where we can have more control over the pony for you. Once you can sit the canter (and the transitions in and out) safely and easily, you can start to canter “free” and enjoy moving on to more advanced work, pole work and jumping.
Am I able to do Show Jumping?
You will be able to work towards show jumping up to around 1m, depending on your weight and which horse you can ride. Remember that there is far more to jumping than the jump itself! We make sure that you are balanced and effective in a light (jumping) position in trot and canter over both single poles and a line of poles, and other turning exercises over poles, before you leave the ground. We also coach for eventing and arena eventing (jumping with style), and all NSEA events. Please note that riders under 18 who do not have a body protector will not be allowed to jump, and air jackets are not permitted at STE.
What is Stable Management?
Stable Management is the term we use for learning how to look after and understand a horse. It covers everything from day to day care of horses in the stable and field, being able to recognise when they are ill and knowing what to do about it, and understanding how their body works inside and out. Participants are able to understand how horses move, behave and survive in the wild and learn about their history. With our qualified staff we are able to train for all Pony Club Care Badges, and PC exams/BHS exams up to Pony Club AH Test and BHS Stage 4 Care.
In particularly bad weather where it is deemed unsafe to ride, we offer Stable Management sessions as an alternative to riding.
Do you offer Equestrian Scholarships?
The School offers a limited number of Equestrian scholarships, aimed at the more experienced riders, either at entry into Year 7 and occasionally into Year 9, or coming into Sixth Form. Please talk to us, then apply through the Admissions process as usual.