Here are a few answers to questions which we are asked on a regular basis. We hope you find it helpful. Please remember we are here to assist you and will be more than happy to answer your questions and guide you through the world of horses.
I am thinking about booking a Horse-riding lesson. How do I go about it?
Please telephone us on 01273 832989 or call into the office at AEC. You cannot book or cancel lessons by e-mail. There is an answer-phone service and if you leave a message we will endeavour to get back to you as soon as possible. We are open 6 days a week Tuesday-Sunday incl. We are closed every Monday and Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day.
Can I come and have a look around?
Yes, we welcome site visits but please telephone us first so that we can ensure there is a Member of the Team available to show you around and answer any queries that you may have.
Do you have any age or weight restrictions?
There is no upper or lower age limit as such however there may be certain guidelines and restrictions which will be of a common sense nature. The maximum weight of rider we can accommodate is approx 141/2 stone and a maximum height of approx 6ft3ins.
Are you insured?
Yes, we have Public and Employers Liability Insurance however we always recommend that riders take out their own personal accident insurance. The British Horse Society have a policy which is very good value but please check exactly what this covers you for as you would for any other insurance.
Are your Instructors qualified?
Yes. We are a BHS approved Riding School and our Instructors all have Qualifications from BHS Stage 11 to Intermediate Instructor Level BHSII We also have regular visits from 3 Senior Instructors who all hold the BHSI Qualification and are all BHS Examiners. They teach our staff and some of our liveries and are sometimes available for clients by arrangement. Prices for lessons with these Instructors may vary and are not listed on our price list. All of our Instructors and most of our yard staff hold a current First Aid Qualification.
I am a bit worried about falling off. Will I be safe?
We consider ourselves to be very safety conscious however you should be aware that Horse-riding is recognised as a RISK sport. Your choice to ride is voluntary. If you choose to ride, the chances are that at some time or another you are going to fall off but in the majority of cases you will be unhurt and back on your feet before you know what happened. We take every precaution to minimize the associated risks however it is also important that you understand that horses are large sensitive animals who can behave unpredictably at any time so please take care, and accept that accidents do happen. The bottom line is--- IF YOU REALLY DON’T WANT TO FALL OFF, DON, T GET ON
I do not have any Riding gear or equipment. What should I wear /bring?
We have riding hats in a variety of sizes which meet the current safety standard and which you may borrow for your first few lessons. Footwear should be of sturdy construction but not too bulky, with a smooth sole and a 1/2inch heel to prevent the foot slipping through the stirrup. Trainers, Wellington boots, Doc Martins and fashion boots like Dubarrys and similar are not permitted for riding. Parents leading children on ponies for lead rein lessons must also wear appropriate footwear. Open toed shoes are not permitted (even on a hot day)
Jogging Trousers, thick leggings or comfortable stretchy trousers are generally considered more comfortable than jeans which seem to have thick seams in all the wrong places and can be quite uncomfortable for some people. Trousers must be long not ¾ length. A sweatshirt or T-shirt is fine but please take note that we do not allow riders to ride in strappy t-shirts, those which fall off the shoulder or those which show the midriff.
With the exception of a watch and a wedding ring jewellery should be removed where possible. Looped earrings are never allowed. Clients who prefer not to remove stud type earrings must sign the disclaimer on the Rider Registration Form. Mouth braces or glasses should also be removed if possible. Riders should always empty pockets before riding and never ride with any solid items like keys /mobile phone in order to prevent personal injury.
It is a good idea to get into the habit of wearing gloves when you ride and these can be purchased for only a few pounds. Please ask when you arrive.
Whips should be carried by all but complete beginners who are on the lunge or very novice children. More advanced riders should have both long and short whips. New clients may borrow whips but regular riders should have their own.
Long hair should be secured in a pony tail or similar. Hair which is exceptionally long should be tied up.
NB. When purchasing equipment remember any safety items should be professionally fitted to ensure maximum protection.
How much are your lessons?
Please click on Prices for this information.
Riding fees are reviewed twice annually on 1st April and 1st September
Gift vouchers are also available Please ask.
Are there any discounts available?
Yes, but they only apply to private lessons. If you pay for 8 lessons in advance you will receive an extra lesson free. These lessons will have an expiry and must be used within a 4 month period from the date of payment.
How do I pay?
Payment is required in full at the time of booking and can be made by cash, cheque or debit card. We do not accept credit cards.
What happens if I need to cancel my lesson?
We require 4 full days notice for any cancellation for any reason whatsoever.
What happens if I am ill on the day? Do you waver the 4 days notice or do I lose my money?
Unfortunately from our point of view it doesn’t make any difference why you cancel, the fact is, you are cancelling, and it is usually far too late for us to replace your booking. We understand totally how difficult it is when you are suddenly taken ill and so we have in place a system which works as a compromise for us both. This means that you cannot get a refund, or transfer the money you have already paid over to your next lesson but you will be offered an alternative ride in a group lesson of similar ability. If it is a private lesson you are cancelling your catch up lesson will still need to be in a group.
Will my lesson still go ahead if the weather is bad?
Yes, horse-riding is an outdoor activity and therefore we aim to ride in all but exceptional weathers. Riding in the indoor school is not guaranteed so please ensure that you wear suitable clothes at all times. During extreme weather conditions when it may be unsafe or uncomfortable to ride outside we supply interesting practical on the ground sessions as an alternative. We do not give any refunds due to weather conditions.
What happens if it snows and I cannot get there because of the road conditions?
This is something which we have really had a problem with in recent times as the winter before last it snowed three times which was an absolute disaster for us. We have decided that the normal cancellation requirements will apply to include snowy conditions but we will be more flexible about when the catch up sessions are taken. We hope you understand and thank you for your co-operation.
How long before my lesson do I need to arrive?
If it is your first time with us please arrive at least 15 minutes before your lesson to enable one of our team to welcome you and so that you may complete one of our Rider Registration Forms before you ride. If you are a regular rider 5 minutes is sufficient however please be aware that we run a fairly punctual timetable and if you are late you may lose valuable lesson time.
What is a Rider Registration Form
This is a mandatory document which must be completed (by an adult 18yrs.) before you ride or participates in any activities at Albourne Equestrian Centre. It asks for personal details, people who can be contacted in an emergency, medical history including any previous injuries you may have incurred horse related or not and Doctors details. We also need to know about your riding ability/experience.
Will I have the same Instructor each time?
Yes, we always try to maintain continuity with Instructors however you do need to take into consideration factors such as sickness, holiday and so forth. If you would simply like to try another Instructor you are more than welcome to do so
Can I bring my dog to the Centre?
We would prefer that you didn’t as we have several dogs ourselves but if you are unable to leave them in the car they must be kept on a lead at all times and you must bring your poop-a-scoop with you.
Can Parents watch?
Yes of course you are very welcome to watch but please remember that it is in your Child’s interest to build a bond with their Instructor and children sometimes behave differently when parents are watching. You must also resist the temptation of talking to your child while the lesson is in progress. Please do not attempt to teach your child from the sidelines as it is very disconcerting for all concerned.
Where will I ride?
We have 2 large outdoor schools, 1 small indoor school and a lunging pen so there is plenty of space for lessons. Sometimes we ride in the fields when the ground conditions are suitable.
What sort of horses do you have?
We have approximately 30 horses and ponies of various shapes, sizes and types who will accommodate most levels of rider up to and including those of BHS Stage 111/1V Note for advanced riders: Spurs may only be worn with permission from the relevant Instructor and by students training at BHS Stage 111 and above.
I am interested in learning about caring for horses as well as riding them. Is this something that you offer?
Yes we offer courses for both adults and children in various formats. Please click on adults or children tuition or courses for more information.
Can I bring my own horse to you for a lesson?
Yes you can. You will need to have a private lesson first but may join a group after this if that is what you want to do or you can have private sessions if you prefer.
Do you cater for Birthday Parties?
Parties can be arranged in the form of either a group lesson which usually consists of games or a Pony Walk or a combination of both. A maximum of 6 and a minimum of 4 riders are easily catered for. We do require an adult to lead each child. Rosettes with Happy Birthday on the tails are available to purchase should you wish to.