Where do I start?!
I am in Belfairs woods on an almost daily basis and have been riding practically all my life but I don't think you need to be a 'horsey' person to notice that things are not right here.
I often see lessons hacking out in the woods. The poor horses are unkempt and usually look like they've not seen a grooming kit in a few months. The snippets of instruction i hear are usually poor. How can you possibly correct a rider's position, aides etc when you are riding at the front with your back to them. There are times when I've seen the group turn round and the instructor then rides at the back and gives pointers from there but they are still riding in a long line so how can the instructor possibly see everyone from there?? I appreciate there is not a 'school' for them to take lessons in and that riding in the woods is appealing to customers, but I still feel instruction could and should be far better. I am told it's cheaper than a lot of other local riding schools but I don't think customers can possibly be getting value for money as far as making progress goes and I would suggest paying a little more and getting quality tuition elsewhere.
It's the children's pony rides that scare me the most though. Ok, so it only costs a couple of quid and the kids get a little ride on a pony BUT...
the riding hats are never 'fitted', simply plonked on a child's head, sometimes too small and often waaay to big to the point of children not being able to see because their hat keeps slipping down. If it's that poorly fitting they may as well not be wearing one! The pony rides take place in the car park, which is a little worrying in itself and although the ponies used seem to be very obliging and almost 'unspookable' (credit to the poor ponies) the people leading the ponies are often children and seem as young as 11 or 12. In my eyes that is far too young to have the responsibility of a child on a pony's back in an often busy car park. what if something went wrong? The implications are huge.
In summary; filthy horses, poor tuition, unsafe at times.
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