Congratulations, you’ve chosen Poppyfields Equestrian Centre.
We offer you a warm welcome and hope you’ll enjoy your riding experiences with us!
What happens next?
If you’ve not yet booked your first lesson, please drop a message to us on the number listed below, stating your level of ability, height and weight and availability and we can get back to you to arrange a lesson; you’ll need to complete a Rider Registration Form* too. You may wonder why we ask for your weight and height, it’s nothing personal but our horses/ponies have maximum weights that they can carry so we just need to be able to match you to an appropriate ride. If you are a complete beginner, we will ask you to provide someone to walk alongside you for your ride and they may be asked to lead your pony. Please ensure that anyone accompanying you can jog alongside you for short periods of time.
*Rider Registration Form – this is a document that you should complete on our website and bring with you to your first lesson. This documents your personal details and your current ability. Please note that returning riders should also complete this form to ensure we hold your up to-date information.
You’re all ready to come for your first lesson – but what do you need to know about being at a working stable?
Firstly, we should direct you to appropriate clothing. For your comfort and safety, we advise long trousers and sturdy boots with a small heel, no less than ½ inch, please note that trainers are NOT permitted for riding, wellington boots with small heel are a suitable alterative as an interim measure. We ask that you do not wear strappy tops or tops that show your midriff as these tops do not provide adequate protection to your body, and this is a family setting. All facial and body piercings, necklaces and bracelets/bangles must be removed before your ride, if this is not possible then they should be covered with tape or a plaster – this is for your safety as they create a ‘catch’ risk and could get tangled with your tack or the horse’s mane; wedding rings are permitted but you must wear gloves over them. All riders are requested to wear gloves, and anyone providing walking alongside/leading you will need to wear them too. Anyone accompanying you should ensure they have appropriate footwear and be aware they will be in an area where horse poo will be present, so closed toe shoes are a must! You will need to wear a hard hat for all lessons, we do hire these out for a small fee of £1 and all our hats conform to the latest British Standards (BS) guidance. Of course you can provide your own hat, but we will need to check that it conforms to the latest BS guidance and that it fits properly before you ride. Sometimes young children find the idea of hats a problem, we often have them telling us the hats hurt but we know our stuff and won’t put them in anything that is too tight! Please tie long hair back, we would suggest that you avoid French Plaits as they can be uncomfortable under hats and can also create a false fit. If you decide to buy a hat, please go to a reputable store that offers a fitting service – hats vary in design so where one size from one manufacturer fits, it may not from another.
Now that we’ve got you all kitted out and dressed appropriately, we need you to arrive for your first lesson 20 mins prior to the ride time; once you return for any subsequent lessons, we ask that you arrive at least 15mins prior – arriving promptly allows us to ensure smooth transitions between rides, check stirrups and girths and to fit hard hats, where appropriate.
On your first visit we will check your Rider Registration form and talk to you about any anxieties you may have, we’ll take your payment (preferably cash, please) and fit your hat. From there you’ll be shown to the waiting area and taken to your horse, you’ll be helped with adjusting your stirrups and girth, if you don’t already know how to check, and we’ll get you on safely. At the time of booking in, we usually ask if you’d like to book in again for the following week, however we appreciate that you might want to see how your first lesson goes and come back to us after the ride. Once you’re a returning rider (e.g., each week/fortnightly/etc) we’ll ask you to book for subsequent weeks at the time of booking in – this ensures you’re booked for when you want. Please note that there isn’t a choice of times as your instructor will grade your ability and we’ll fit you in to an appropriate lesson. Group lessons take place at weekends and are in high demand; we may be restricted to which day we can offer you rides. We ask that you keep your family group to as small a number as possible, especially during times where there may be government restrictions on group sizes, etc. We do have a viewing area in our indoor arena but please note that space is limited, and other riders may have family present too. Taking photos and videos is permitted, however please ensure that they are only of your family member/friend – this is especially relevant if wishing to post on social media. You may be happy to post pictures of your child, but other parents may not wish images of their children to appear on such platforms; please be mindful of others’ wishes/opinions.
Should you not be able to attend your lesson, we ask that you give us as much notice as possible. Where notice is less than 24hrs prior to the ride time, you will still be liable to pay the cost of that missed lesson. If you have a private/semi-private lesson booked, please be aware that cost of your lesson remains payable even if you have to cancel, regardless of the notice period given. It is unfortunate that we need to do this, but private lessons are arranged specifically for you and will incur lost time for the instructor.
Poppyfields Equestrian Centre holds your personal information for purposes of registration and operational safety. We use your data to record your ride times and contact details and it is held in a secure manner with restricted access and passwords, when handling digital data. Your information will only be used for administration purposes and in accordance with legal requirements. We will never pass details to a third party, unless legally required do to so by a government agency or Police.
We do occasionally take photographs of our rides, to use on social media platforms, please let us know if you do not wish to be included in these pictures.
Smoking is not permitted on the yard but is acceptable outside of the fenced areas. Please be considerate of others and dispose of your smoking materials sensibly. There is a cigarette bin located on the fence of the outdoor arena.
Should you discover a fire, let a member of staff know immediately and shout “Fire, Fire, Fire”, do not attempt to put it out yourself! In the event of a fire, a continuous bell alarm will be sounded. Should you hear this, please quietly make your way to the car park, and wait by your vehicle, do not run and keep your family members together. Please keep the main driveways clear for the emergency services and DO NOT leave the premises until told to do so by a member of staff. If you are in your lesson and the alarm sounds, dismount your horse and follow the directions of your instructor or the member of staff.
Other Yard Rules
1. Children must be supervised at all times and under 16’s must be accompanied by an appropriate adult for each lesson. You may choose to remain with your vehicle during the ride, but please escort your child to the arena and collect them at the end of the ride.
2. Please keep young children under control and never let them run behind the horses. Ask a member of staff for assistance if you’d like your child to be shown how to approach a horse safely – we’re willing to encourage safe practices and to help children overcome any anxieties they may have around our equine friends!
3. Do not run on the yard as this may startle some of our horses; likewise, please be aware that horses can ‘spook’ for the silliest of reasons, so please do not wear coats that flap in the wind or shake water off umbrellas near the horses. Sudden loud noises can have the same effect, so please be mindful.
4. Do not feed the horses without prior approval from a member of staff. Some of our horses are on strict diets and treats may not be allowed, although all our horses will mug you for treats if given the opportunity! Our staff members will also be able to show you how to feed horses safely, so you don’t risk getting bitten by accident, as mentioned our horses love treats and can sometimes be a little enthusiastic in getting them off you!
5. Do not enter the arena’s until invited to do so by either the instructor or member of staff – this is for your
safety as well as that of other riders. Please ensure you put your hat on before entering the arena and close the gate behind you if you’re the last one to enter/exit.
6. Do not mount your horse until told to do so – again this is for your safety as well as others, and NEVER mount your horse whilst not wearing a hat.
7. Your instructor will guide you through your lesson, please listen to their instructions and follow them, if you’re unsure of what you’ve just been told then please ask your instructor to repeat them.
8. Please DO NOT bring dogs to the stables, we cannot accept them running loose or being in an area where they may bark and startle the horses. We do not condone leaving them in a vehicle whilst its unattended, especially during warmer weather, therefore please leave them at home.
9. Please treat all members of staff and other yard users with the level of respect you would wish to receive. We will not tolerate rudeness or aggression to our staff, nor our horses, and may request you to leave the premises should we feel that your behaviour is not appropriate.