Last term many Fyling Hall students took horse-riding lessons and we know they’ll be looking forward to coming back to school and seeing the horses and ponies again. With the stables being so close, students look forward to spending their break times visiting the horses. They have a very welcomed chat and cuddle with them. For many, it is a calming, happy (and outdoor) pause in the middle of the school day.
Some students simply like to visit the horses, others opt for horse-riding as one of their two sports lessons each week. People may not consider horse-riding as a sport, but in fact it was the first Olympic sport! As our school is perfectly situated within the beautiful woodlands, moorlands and fields, the students get to experience the fresh air of the countryside and even the sea breeze of the beach on horse-back. The beach is a favourite place for both horses and riders. There is a lot of knowledge and skill required when it comes to horse riding, therefore some lessons are spent refining skills and understanding in the arena we have marked out in one of our fields.
More Than ‘Simply’ Horse-Riding
At Fyling Hall it is more than simply riding – students learn about the all-round horse care and stable management. They learn to name and recognise fundamental equipment and how to use it correctly, thus allowing the student the responsibility of getting their horse ready to ride. They study a range of avenues from the equipment that is used (even historic equipment such as side saddle) to the health of the animals. For example, riders learn about the circulatory system, teeth, hooves, skeletal structure, coats, breeds and the list goes on. The students may also be invited to observe as and when the equine dentist, farrier or vet attend. At Fyling Hall we also look at horse behaviour, reading body language and how to approach a horse correctly. This is a transferrable skill into everyday human life! It is extremely important for the safety of both rider and horse and it makes the riders more confident. It also means that those thinking of a long term career in the equestrian world will be well prepared.
During the Spring term stable manager, Coleen McQue taught students how to plait up the horses (amongst many other things). “Horse turnout” is something that any groom is be required to do to a very high standard, whether it be for racing, dressage, showjumping, showing or eventing. It is a skill that requires much practice and we were delighted to see student’s getting stuck into this.
Horses and Mental Health
Horse riding, or even simply being around horses can have an extremely positive effect on well-being. We find it benefits the students’ mental health and supports them in their school studies. Many of the boarders enjoy riding as part of their weekly lessons too. Horse-riding can help with confidence and, of course, it ensures people get outside in the fresh air. The stables are a happy and safe place for many students.
They are also a happy and safe places for our horses and ponies. We make sure they are cared for to the highest standards – one of our new ponies, Talyan was a rescue pony. He had suffered severe neglect but is doing amazingly well. Here, below, is his reaction after his recovery – out of his box after a long rest and feeling fantastic!