Over Dalkeith Stables

We believe that our horses and ponies work well for us because we treat them well.  We believe that as herd animals horses and ponies need the freedom of large spaces to graze through and benefit from living in large, multi-sex and multi age herds.  We try to partition our horses and ponies as little as possible and that includes any we look after for owners.  This however has to be balanced with what is in the best interests of our animals and so some are stabled over winter with turnout and some spend their nights in our indoor school.  With modern day rugs and a good feeding regime however it is increasingly possible to keep horses out all year round.

Primarily, riding is about developing an "independent seat" and we believe that strong early fundamentals are essential to developing a great rider.  Children always learn better when they are having fun.  We have developed a unique person centred teaching style where high standards are taught within a fun and exciting environment with experienced British Horse Society (BHS) qualified tuition.

In addition to "traditional" techniques we find that a great way to develop riding skills is to use Gymkhana games.  Children have so much fun that they don't realise that they are learning.  They develop a natural balance without having to think about it and quickly get an independent seat whilst riding, stearing and lifting and replacing objects from poles and stands. 

Whether adults are complete beginners or returning to riding after a long break or experienced riders wanting to upgrade their skills we pride ourselves that our adult lessons are a combination of both practical riding experience and a thorough but clear understanding of the theory behind riding.  We believe in the importance of providing the individual riders with a "toolbox" of skills, techniques and tips which will enable them to maximise their own riding potential in their own way.

Our individual, person centred teaching style and our safe environment enables many adults to break through that fear or embarrassment barrier in order to discover or re-discover their riding selves.

This also benefits our horses and ponies as they do not get stale constantly riding to the rear of the ride.  That's not to say that we don't sometimes have to employ this tried and tested teaching method but having an 80m long and 30m wide outdoor school makes it a long way to the back of the ride.

Our lessons provide continuity of teaching with the same instructor and the group lessons are progressive, the same group members attend weekly and the lessons follow a structured lesson plan which feeds into long term development plans for the group as a whole.  Therefore you will not find yourself constantly performing the same excercises week in and week out with different teachers, different group members and no sense of progression.  You will find yourself in a group which increases its riding skills over time as you all improve together.

In addition to the BHS qualified instruction our teaching follows the latest UK Sports Coaching methodologies.  This is a new Nationwide standard across all sports coaching in Britain aimed at bringing best practice principles to all sports across the board.  We believe that any universally applied qualification that raises standards in teaching practices in sport is a benefit to everyone.  For more information on UKCC see www.ukcoachingcertificate.org