How To Get Started
Hayfield is both friendly and professional with fantastic facilities and well trained enthusiastic coaches of all ages and experience.
Well cared for horses and ponies are Hayfield’s pride and joy and are chosen to suit the needs of our riders, from those which suit absolute beginners ranging through to more forward going horses and ponies favoured by more experienced riders. Hayfield, having long been a BHS instructor training centre now embraces UKCC training programmes delivered through the modern Pony Club system. As a club Hayfield encourages participation where volunteers may gain experience from our qualified staff.
Having two indoor schools, outdoor arenas for flatwork and jumping and over four hundred acres of traffic free parkland and forests to ride in puts Hayfield in a class of its own. Increased horse and pony choice (70 in total) combined with our facilities give you a great flexibility of lesson choice through all the seasons of the year whether you are a welcome visitor or a regular member.
Safety and care being a priority all new riders are required to complete our Rider Registration Form.
We are open seven days a week. Bookings and payment can be made over the phone. To avoid disappointment it is best to book ahead.
If you wish to meet the horses and ponies before booking a lesson we will be more than happy to show you around the yard and introduce you to Hayfield, the best riding centre in town!
New Rider Information
We welcome all standards of riders, from beginners to advanced and offer a range of lessons following our Progressive Rider System. Our introductory assessment lessons for riders that have previous experience aims to lay the foundations for future lessons with our team of instructors at the club. Bookings can be made over the phone or you are welcome to drop in, have a look at our facilities and book in person at reception.
Lessons are given in one of our arenas and first and foremost, all pupils are taught to mount and dismount safely as part of their first lesson. We go onto provide lessons for the complete range of ages and abilities, all given by our friendly and experienced instructors who always welcome the nervous rider who needs to progress at their own pace.
We are proud of our confidence giving horses and ponies, keeping them fit, healthy and most importantly happy.
Beginner riders (adults and children) are advised to book onto one of our Paddock Hack taster sessions. These sessions allow you to meet our fantastic horses and ponies and consist of 20 minutes basic instruction (learning how to stop, start and steer) followed by a walk through the surrounding woodland. Upon returning to the paddock riders can have a go at trotting.
Riders can then progress on to one of our beginner group lessons that start up regularly throughout the year.
We advise all riders to arrive at least 15 minutes prior to the lesson starting time. This gives you time to have a look round, ensure the relevant forms are completed and get a suitable hat if you don’t have one of your own.
Hayfield Progressive Rider System
All of the classes are part of a matrix which provides for riders of all standards from beginners up. Classes are taught either in one of the two indoor schools or in one of three outdoor arenas.
Wherever you are learning you will be following Hayfield’s time tested progressive system of learning which is enjoyable, structured and maps out your progress so that you always know how well you are progressing as well as what you need to learn next.
For 40 years our system has been turning out confident riders and it can do the same for you.
Our Hayfield Progressive Rider Scheme is divided into 12 sections starting with beginners and takes riders through stage by stage at their own pace to advanced.
Beginner lessons spend the first 6 weeks working towards their Orange ribbon. Upon achieving their Orange ribbon riders then begin working towards their Pink ribbon which is normally achieved after around 12 lessons. Riders then continue to work towards the next ribbon in their lessons and are assessed every 6 months.
Upon completion of the Pink ribbon riders aged 8 and over are then able to attend Pony Care 1 which runs in the Easter, Summer and October holidays. After riders have passed Pony Care 1 and are at least 10 years old they are then able to apply to become a Hayfield Helper.
All of our group lessons follow our Progressive Rider Scheme. Group lessons are the most affordable way to learn to ride and have an enjoyable sociable side to them. Children’s classes run on weekdays after school and our adult lessons run in the evening and both adults and childrens lessons run throughout the day on the weekends.
Riders in group lessons get to know each other and get to share in the joy of riding. Many lifelong friendships have started from meeting someone in a weekly riding class!
We regularly start beginner group lessons throughout the year. If you already have some riding experience then we advise that you book in for a half hour assessment lesson and we can let you know which of our group lessons would be suitable for you to join.
Private lessons are normally for 30 minutes as they are very intensive for both horse and rider. They are ideal for people looking to improve a certain aspect of their riding, for a confidence boost or as a treat for a special occasion. We offer private lessons from 11am during the week and 9am at the weekend. Booking a couple of weeks in advance is highly recommended as slots fill up quickly. All of our private lessons must be paid for on booking.
Pony Care Lessons
We offer Pony Care courses for our junior members during the school holidays. Levels 1 and 2 are 4 day courses and run from Tuesday-Friday and levels 3 and 4 are 5 day courses that run Monday-Friday. The courses run from 10am to 3pm.
The courses are always great fun and include a riding lesson each day as well as time in the classroom, demonstration, supervised practice and assessment. Children are able to achieve various Pony Club badges.
We place a lot of emphasis on pony care as we believe it is an integral part of learning to ride. For this reason certain pony care elements are part of each assessment standard, which also enables us to ensure our members have been correctly trained before going to get their horses from the stable. Keep an eye on our Facebook page and in our newsletters for our next Pony Care course dates!
Most riding schools fail to realise the importance of combining horse handling and horse care with learning to ride. Here at Hayfield we have found that by combining all three, riders become more confident, enjoy their horses and ponies more and therefore progress well. It was for this reason we developed our own series of Hayfield Horse Care Certificates. The great value of the 6 Hayfield Horse Care Certificates is that they take you from knowing nothing to being able to consider owning your own horse. Parents and carers, even if they don’t ride, will be able to understand what their children are learning. If they decide to buy a pony then they will be able to help, enjoy and avoid potential hiccups!
• Introduction to Hayfield and how to stay safe on a yard
• Catch a horse using a head collar and lead rope and tie it up using a quick release knot
• Be able to lead a horse correctly in the walk
• Give a horse a basic groom
• Tack up a horse that is tied up and un-tack with some assistance
• Identify parts of the saddle and bridle
• Be able to put on a rug safely with assistance
• Learn colours and markings
• Identify basic parts of the horse
• Recap how to enter a box and tie up safely, tack up and untack
• Groom a horse, picking out both the front and back feet independently and oiling the hooves
• Skip out including a water check
• Fill and tie up a haynet safely
• Clean tack including taking it apart and putting it back together
• Know the safety checks to carry out on tack
• Know the parts of a saddle in greater depth
• Learn the parts of the horse in greater depth
• Identify basic parts of the hoof
• Identify when a horse needs shod
• Learn about snaffle bridles, martingales and breastplates
• Identify, fit and describe the use of different types of boots
• Identify and apply a tail bandage
• Know the rules of feeding and watering horses
• Be able to identify different feeds
• Recognise signs of good and ill health
• Be aware of certain injuries, illnesses and treatments
• The function and parts of a horse’s foot
• Identify the farrier’s tools and explain how they are used in the process of hot shoeing
• Know the process of removing a shoe in an emergency
• Have knowledge of different types of bedding
• Have knowledge of different management systems for bedding i.e. deep litter
• Be able to set-fair
• Give a full groom and plait the mane and tail
• Signs of a good field and a horse sick field
• Identify poisonous plants
• Worming and vaccinations
• Identify different nosebands and their use
• Families of bit – snaffle and Pelham
• Prepare a horse to travel
• Parts of the digestive system and how it works
• Insurance, the country code and our rights and responsibilities when accessing the countryside.
• Identify and have knowledge about the treatment of specific injuries further to those in Level 3
• Be able to apply a stable bandage and a poultice
• Clipping and trimming
• Learn the skeletal structure
• Understand the different types of remedial shoes
• Have knowledge of the different families of bit – gag and bitless
• Discuss forage and feeding in greater depth than Level 3
• Learn about the different vitamins and minerals horses require
• Learn about respiration and reproduction systems
• Understand the basic procedures for sick nursing and bio security measures.
• Bandage a hock and a knee
• Learn about different muscles
• Be able to load a horse for travel
• Have knowledge of weight ratio for trailers and legal requirements with regard to towing.
• Discuss common stable vices and possible causes.
• Discuss stable construction and different types of stabling
• Think about a good yard layout and yard maintenance.
• Have knowledge of the structure of a tooth and ageing characteristics.
• Describe the structure of the mouth and common problems that result through poor conformation.
• Know the procedures for improving pasture (cross-grazing, drainage, re-seeding and fertilizer.)