Over the past 60 years Hayfield has had many aims and has achieved almost all of them to one degree or another. Our present aim is to relocate to the west side of the park where we will be easily seen from the road, be on a frequent bus and cycle route yet still connected to nature in the park and the wider Countesswells forest.
On that new site we will build a new Hayfield Centre on a site secure for the next 50 years and more to be available to everyone.
The History of Hayfield
A Ride In The Hayfield – In 1958 a little girl just happened to be riding her black and white Shetland pony “Dinky” in a hayfield in the north east of Scotland when a passing tourist stopped her car to ask if her little girl could have a ride on the pony. Who would have imagined that from this one chance happening, Hayfield Riding Centre, now beautifully set in Aberdeen’s Hazlehead Park, would develop to become one of Scotland’s finest equestrian facilities.
Hayfield was successfully run by Morven Will and her family, with the first indoor riding hall north of Edinburgh being built in 1968. The Crawford family took over in 1970 and with John Crawford driving the progress as managing director, a second riding hall of international size was added in 1983, onsite accommodation for students and riders on riding holidays in 1992 and a new training yard for student instructors and college students in 1998.
Hayfield is the place where riders of all ages can experience the delights and thrills of their very first ride, yet we also offer a world of choice to riders of all standards! Hayfield succeeds because both the management and staff care about the people as well as the horses and ponies.
Nowadays, people who themselves learnt to ride at Hayfield, bring their children and grandchildren to learn about horses and ponies as they themselves did. Over the years, Hayfield riders have used their good training to go on to own their own horses, compete at national level and some to become professionals in their chosen equestrian field.
Hayfield now operates as a non profitmaking members club, but continues to be run by professionals who are careful to look after riders who simply ride for the fun and enjoyment as well as those who ride competitively. From the minute you become a member, it’s your Hayfield and whether you are five or fifty five you have a say in its future!
The only thing that we are sure of is that it began quite literally “in a hayfield” some sixty years ago and will continue developing in order to provide for the generations of riders still to come.
We first approached Hayfield when the small riding centre our daughter had been attending closed. The welcome was very friendly and it wasn’t long before we felt quite at home with all the staff, ponies and horses!
We like Hayfield because although the atmosphere is relaxed and friendly, the structured teaching is carried out in such a way that it builds confidence in the rider and encourages them to develop further. With lessons, hacks, pony care courses and fun camps there’s always something to get involved with.
Hayfield encourages everyone to enjoy their experience and have fun in a safe and friendly environment. We will continue to recommend Hayfield to anyone who is interested in getting involved with riding or who is looking for an alternative or additional riding centre to attend. – Debbie Benzie (Chloe’s mum)
Having ridden at Hayfield as a child and returned as an adult going to my lessons is one of the things I look forward to most each week. The instructors are always helpful and provide good advice and guidance. I enjoy being able to ride a variety of horses in my lessons each with their own unique personalities – Chantelle Robson
The instructors at Hayfield are second-to-none. As a nervous rider, my instructor enables to go at a pace that suits me, providing the right blend of encouragement and feedback to help me progress. The ribbon system is also very helpful, providing a framework for regular review and assessment by senior staff and setting out clear goals to work towards. The other riders are always friendly and helpful – you never feel that you are left to struggle alone at Hayfield! – Christina Cameron
Hayfield Riding Centre, work in partnership with a variety of organisations in order to enable them to support and develop their clients. We have found that using horses, as a tool for engagement, helps build confidence and self-esteem. We have enjoyed seeing many successes, one of them being the “Activity Agreement” initiative.
Nick Asante-Ampaduh from Activity Agreement says:
“Activity Agreements are an initiative targeted at 16 -19 year olds who have left formal education and do not have a job, training course or educational commitment. In Aberdeen, Activity Agreements are offered to young people from a variety of backgrounds, that require varying levels of support. The Activity Agreement partnership with Hayfield Riding Centre has been extremely productive, producing results such as various Saltire volunteering awards being gained and British Horse Society Qualifications, not to mention a vast improvement in soft skills and health parameters, such as confidence, self-esteem and physical resilience of all participants. A high proportion of those engaging at Hayfield Riding Centre go on to positive destinations after their agreement ends.”
As well as Activity Agreements we also provide riding to local schools and community groups.
Pictured below is our Activity Agreement group with their instructor Rebecca Souter and Club Chairman John Crawford, after their lesson.