Commonly Asked

Weight: Why 14 Stone?

I dont know about you, but I appreciate an open and honest answer when dealing with someone, you'll find most Riding Schools state their Weight Limit, but with no reason.

The reason we have a 14 stone weight limit is as follows:

There are many ways of determining the maximum weight a horse can carry, a simple way is to not let them carry any more than 20% of their bodyweight (including Rider, Saddle and Bridle). If you take an average 17h Sports Horse,  he will weigh 600kg, that means he should never carry more than 120Kg (18.8 stone) including tack. Now we need to take into account, the horses age, breed and build, his level of fitness, whether he's had any injuries in the past, how regularly he is used, and what he is going to be used for.

Riding School horses tend to be older, as the horse is going to be more experienced, typically calmer and better trained (Schooled), which is a must for teach beginners. But this does mean they could have wear and tear (past history, such as injuries), so a reduction to that maximum weight needs to be made.

We then need to protect against injury from over training, a horse being used daily will adapt to a certain level of fitness, it's quite easy to cause muscle/tendon/ligament strains/sprains by carrying extra weight without a suitable recovery period, heavy exercise can require 4 days for the muscles to recover/strengthen to the new work load, often longer.

The riders fitness is also important, beginners won't have built up the core strength for a balanced riding posture for quite a few lessons, this can cause them to be unbalanced on the horse, and typically bounce more during gaits such as Trot and Canter. Essentially, the rider will feel heavier to the horse, whenever he/she is off balance/centre, this has potential to course injury. It's similar to holding a weight out straight in front of you with 1 arm, the force is 5 times what you're holding on your lower back, the same applies to a riders weight, when they are not riding balanced.

An experienced rider, will "ride light" by having an independent seat, and have good core strength, it's unlikely the rider will be off balance during normal riding, this means, we can be a little more flexible with experienced riders who've been riding a few years or had their own horses. The same applies to taller riders, providing their Height/Weight is proportional to the 14 stone limit at 6ft, it might be possible subject to availability to take them.

Why don't you use Shire Horses, they can carry more weight?

This brings me onto breed and temperament, Larger horses (like Shires) could be used to for a Walk Out for much heavier riders or slow Private Lessons, but then it's down to economics, we charge £15 for an Adult Walk Out. Larger horses have higher costs to keep, the shoes they wear can be twice as expensive (£120+ sometimes) and they wear out fast due to the extra weight. They also they eat/drink more, need a larger stable, tack is more expensive as well as rugs, because it's all oversized. And their breed/nature is rarely suited for teaching Riding Lessons, which require a calm forward going horse to allow beginners to learn how to ride. A horse that won't "go" can be very frustrating, as the rider will feel like it's their fault, which will hinder progression towards becoming a good rider.

There are some horses which are exceptions to this rule, you'll find individuals argue against what I've said above, but in reality, they are very lucky to have such a unique and gifted horse. Occasionally a horse can natured differently, or have above average atheltic potential, than what's common across a breed like a shire horse, but finding a well schooled horse of that size, which is suitable for a Riding School can be difficult, otherwise this problem wouldn't exist in the first place.

Under revision, more information soon.

Is your stable yard competitive

The Riding School runs Gymkhanas most bank holidays, which are a mixture of different events.
We have done Dressage competitions in the past as shown here:
Here are some photos from a Jumping Orientated Gymkhana:
We always provide medals to everyone who takes part, not just the highest places.
As for outside events, people who have their own horses at the Livery Yard, sometimes do take them, but Riding School horses are not generally allowed to take part in outside activities.

How many horses and ponies do you have and what are there names - pictures?

There are between 30 and 40 horses staying at the Chestnuts between the Livery Yard and the Riding School.

Not all of them are available to Riding School clients.

Pictures are available under the Image Gallery.

Proprietor S.M Hazelden - M.S.D.C Licence No 0506 (Mid Sussex District Council)

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