Where: North London – OakWood, Trent park (Piccadilly line, Zone 5)
My partner in crime Luiza had bought me what she considered to be “The best present ever” for my Birthday and told me to reserve a day. I considered all the possible options of what it could be —hot air balloon ride, wine tasting (wishful thinking), breakfast with Kate Winslet (and again).
On the day she lead me North bound on the tube to Oak Wood, she took me into Trent park where I saw signs for ‘Zumba’ lessons and golfing– I would need a stiff vodka to get into either of those activities. Luckily it was the wrong location phew. Eventually she found it and that’s when I was hit by a rush of extreme fear and excitement when I read the sign for “Riding for all, Oakwood equestrian centre”. HORSE RIDING!!!!
My first thought was “OH MY GOD I’M GOING TO FALL OFF AND SERIOUSLY INJURE MYSELF” followed by a flash back of the time when a horse attempted to devour the hood of my jacket when I was a kid. But either way I had never done it before so I was super excited to try.
Luiza had purchased ‘3 hour 1/2 day equestrian experience including 1 hour riding and 2 hours stable management’ online through Groupon and managed to get the £100 package for only £40, but to be honest it’s still worth £100 if like me you know nothing about horses.
The staff at the centre were excellent. Our teacher ‘Pops’ showed our group of 4 around the centre which houses over 100 horses. She introduced us to the horses with big personalities and told us funny stories about them. I was hesitant due to my hood trauma but we were allowed to pet them and take photos. I also now feel like I know everything there is to know about horses! It’s not something I’ve ever had an interest in but I was fascinated. Our teachers passion was infectious.
(He was going for the hood!)
(Pops educating us on grooming horses. This horse was nutso)
Onto the riding. In a controlled fenced environment I was allocated a giant pony and the others were given horses. This is due to me being vertically challenged, but I wasn’t complaining, I was happy to be closer to the ground. Due to the teachers making us feel so at ease all of my fears of mounting a horse had disappeared.
We had staff walking beside us so I didn’t feel worried at all. We rode for an hour and by the end of it we were trotting holding the reins, I felt like John Wayne, John Wayne riding out on his pony…
It was harder than I thought and quite uncomfortable on the nether regions but ultimately really enjoyable.
(On Mona the pony, wearing what looks like a helmet from World War II)
The others there asked if I would keep it up but it’s an expensive hobby. Our teacher told me that after 12 weeks of lessons they take the horses out into the forest. I imagine in Asia they would have you galloping along the beach with no saddle clutching onto horse hair. I guess I qualify for that now!
There was another guy and girl in our group in their 20’s but I would recommend this to anybody that wants to do something a little different. There are varied packages and tailored lessons through the Trent Park Website