The information below should help you come to your first lesson well-prepared, but feel free to call us on (06) 752 2851 or 021 652 858 if you have any questions.
Every rider must wear a correctly fitted and adjusted riding helmet, which we can provide. We have clean, modern helmets to fit heads of every shape and size. If bringing your own helmet, it must be certified, have a three-point harness and be less than 5 years old. Bike helmets do not provide adequate protection for horse riding.
Regular riders are encouraged to purchase their own helmet. New Plymouth's local tack stores are the Tack Shack
in Moturoa and Warehouse Saddlery
You do not need to purchase special clothing right away, but all clothing needs to be fitting without being restrictive. Tight or baggy clothing will be uncomfortable and sometimes unsafe to ride in.
Trackpants or leggings are ideal. Jeans are often too tight, and rub because of the positioning of the seams. Regular riders should purchase jodphurs (stretchy, reinforced, close-fitting riding pants), which cost from $30 at the above tack stores.
Any comfortable, fitted top with sleeves (short or long) may be worn – t-shirts and polo shirts are suitable; singlets are not. Long-sleeved tops do offer more protection from grazes in the event of a fall. As the weather can change quickly, we recommend you bring a zip up jersey and/or jacket.
Women may find it more comfortable to ride in a sports bra. Men are advised to wear snug briefs rather than boxers.
Gloves are highly recommended during winter, and some riders (especially younger ones) find their fingers get rubbed and prefer to ride with gloves year-round. Basic riding gloves (reinforced where the reins are held) can be purchased from around $5 at the above tack stores.
It is important to wear solid, covered footwear that has a small heel and a relatively smooth sole. Thin-soled gumboots and some work boots, provided they are not too large or grippy, can be used initially. Redbands, sneakers and most fashion boots are unsuitable. Regular riders should purchase their own jodphur boots (available at the above tack stores for $35 upwards).
All jewellery, other than a watch, should be removed or taped. This includes tongue studs as they are a choking hazard.
Recent research has shown that carrying more than 20% of their body weight can cause long-lasting health problems for horses. Ideally, horses should carry no more than 15% of their weight (including tack). Because of this, we have a weight limit for each horse, and we currently cannot accommodate riders over 72kg. We do not wish to cause offence or embarrassment, and we are always happy to discuss your concerns with you.
Regardless of weight, the best thing you can do for your riding is to be generally fit. Having a strong core and good cardiovascular fitness will make it easier for the horse to carry you as you can better control your body, stay in balance and won’t fatigue as quickly.
Riding is a physical, outdoor activity and you will be exposed to the elements. We recommend all riders wear sunblock year-round, and bring layers (including a waterproof coat) so you can be comfortable.
If the weather looks unsuitable (any more than light showers or moderate winds), Kelly will contact you at least an hour (longer if you are travelling far) before the lesson to discuss the situation/reschedule.
Riders are encouraged to ride through light showers of rain. This is Taranaki, after all! Why not bring a thermos of hot chocolate/tea/coffee to have afterwards?
Prior to each lesson, the ponies are brought to the yard ready to be groomed and tacked up. Riders should arrive 15 minutes before private lessons and stay 15 minutes afterwards to help with grooming, tacking up/untacking their horse and cleaning gear. You will be taught basic grooming and tacking up during this time so that you become able to do this by yourself. The tacking/untacking time is included in the group lesson (and semi-private, if using our horses) time allowance.
- Our riding school is also our family home and farm. Please respect this by not running, shouting, smoking or littering, and by keeping any extra children under your control.
- Take care around the tacking up area – loud noises or sudden movements can startle a horse, which might cause them to pull back or kick out.
- Young children in particular need to be kept close to their supervising adult.
- Covered footwear is essential if you want to get close to the horses.
- When watching a lesson in progress, please stay outside the arena and do not distract your rider.
Parents should stay and watch the first lesson to make sure their child is comfortable and confident. After that, you are welcome to drop your rider off and pick them up promptly at the end, or stay and watch some or all of the lesson. Some riders are more focused without a parent on the sidelines - you will know your child best. If you elect to drop your rider off you must be contactable via cellphone in case of emergency.
Internet banking, completed prior to the lesson, is our preferred payment method. Please enquire for account details, and put the reference as the rider's name. To pay by credit card, either pay when you book or click "Pay Now" when you get your invoice by email. We also accept cash or cheques at the time the lesson.
We don't have a strict minimum age, but offer a variety of lesson options to suit different stages of development. Our 30-minute lead-rein lessons are appropriate for children from three or four years of age. Formal riding lessons can begin around five to eight years of age, depending on the physical and mental development, confidence and prior experience of the rider - every child is different. Our 30-minute lessons are a low-pressure way for younger children to begin to learn to ride, while our 45- and 60-minute lessons provide more intense instruction for those with greater fitness and focus.