As part of our collaboration with Great British Racing this Summer, I took the girls for a riding lesson at Wirral Riding Centre this morning.
Lily has lots of friends who ride horses a lot and has been to a few horse riding parties. She has also had a couple of lessons, but save for a tiny pony at the school fair, the twins hadn’t tried it before. To be honest I was secretly hoping they weren’t going to like it, as £19 for half and hour, times three children strikes me as an incredibly pricy hobby to get into!
Obviously they loved it.
We arrived shortly before 10am this morning, and watched a lady finishing off her lesson in the indoor arena. We all crossed our fingers that their lesson would be inside too as it was absolutely tipping it down outside and thankfully it was. I can’t imagine if you get into horse riding you bother too much about the rain but for this first time I was relieved we were inside.
A lady helped the girls find hats that fit and we had already gone wearing leggings and walking shoes as for some reason it didn’t seem right to put on wellies in mid August! Despite it being perfect weather for ducks.
After the horses were brought in and saddled up for them and the straps tightened it was probably about ten past 10 and it was time for the lesson to start. I was quite relieved that the horses looked half a sleep as the twins were quite nervous about having a go.
The girls listened carefully to the instructions from their instructor about where to hold the reins, how to sit and how to get the horse to walk. Lily’s horse was called Darcy, Izzy ‘s called Tippytoes and Eve had Charlie – well I think that’s what he was called (they listened more carefully than me).
I was given the job of walking with one of the horses, as the teens who normally help out had all sensibly stayed in bed this morning out of the rain, and off we set.
In the twenty minutes of the lesson, the girls learnt how to get the horse to set off, how to control whether it turned to the right or left (ish) how to stop and then did some gentle trotting. I think if there had been more hands available they’d have done a little more trotting but they seemed pleased enough with what they’d done and said the’d happily go again if I wanted them to!
I think for now we will stick to watching horse racing which is a lot cheaper and in my view a lot more fun, although the girls might disagree with me.
So if you’d rather watch the horses than ride them, it’s worth knowing that as part of Great British Racing’s ‘Under 18s Race Free’ initiative, there are 60 racecourses throughout Great Britain where under 18s are admitted free of charge to the vast majority of fixtures throughout the year, when accompanied by a paying adult.
Throughout the summer holidays there are more than 200 fixtures up and down the country, including 50 special family days like the one Louise experienced at Beverley Races and Emma will be heading to Ripon at the end of August too. The family days will have lots of additional activities put on for families and young people so do check these out below.