Ealing Riding School
Riding school review score: 6.5/10
London has many riding schools. Ealing Riding School can found in Ealing, west London. It is around 10 miles from central London but easy to reach on the District and Picadilly lines on the underground train.
Typical prices for riding lessons in London are more expensive than in other parts of the UK. Adults can expect to pay an average of £40 for a one hour private lesson. Lesson prices tend to be slightly cheaper for children or for shared or group lessons. For a full list of the prices at Ealing Riding School please see the panel below and to the right.
This is a brief review of Ealing Riding School from my own personal experience. It's intended to give some guidance and choice to people who are looking to have regular horse riding lessons or for somebody who is visiting London and just wants to spend an afternnon horseback riding. Either way, hopefully it will be useful and anybody can comment below.
- London Riding Schools: Reviews and information on equestrian centres in the capital
Visit London Riding Schools web site to find the best places to ride and equestrian shops in the capital of England, whether you're a visitor or somebody living in the city.
Ealing Riding School is positioned very conveniently for access, The stables are just a five minute walk from Ealing Common tube station. The District and Piccadilly lines on the London Underground go through this station.
The riding school is also very easy to drive to. It is situated on Gunnersbury Lane, a couple of miles from the main North Circular road. Access is very easy (unlike many provincial horse riding and equestrian centres that are hidden away at the end of a road full of pot holes) and there is a fairly well sized car park.
Now, just a quick word on the location.
London is a very big city and horse riders are grateful to have any kind of facilities within such a built up urban area. However, to have riding schools in the city is a bit different from those that are in the country.
This means that space is often limited and unfortunately this means that horses are kept in their stables and have no land to be turned out in and graze on. This may have an effect on the temperament and overall health of a horse.This also means that this riding school is unable to offer hacks, treks or rides out into nature.
Overall though, the location of this equestrian centre is fairly good. Being next to Ealing common is also handy because people who are visiting can spend the afternoon enjoying the field or playing outdoor games there.
Group 1/2 hr
Private 1/2 hr
Semi private 1/2 hr
Horse riders who are used to paying £20 - £25 for a lesson will be in for a shock when they first go to ride in London. The average price in most parts of London is £30 - £40. it would be good to say that there is an increase in the value and quality of lessons, but the truth is that there's not. It's just because in London everything is more expensive than the rest of the UK.
Prices at Ealing Riding School are split between adults and children and one hour and 30 minutes. A 30 minute group lesson for children is £17 and a full hour is £29. Group lessons for adults are £30.
Private lessons for 30 minutes for children are £28 or for an hour is is £39. Adults will pay £30 for 30 minutes or £42 for an hour. Semi private lessons with one or two other people are £24 and £35 for children for 30 minutes and an hour respectively. For adults they are £27 and £38 for 30 minutes and an hour respectively.
There are some slight discounts available for people who book blocks of lessons, or £3 off for adults between 9am and 3pm weekdays.
Some places in London such as Hyde Park Stables or Trent Park Equestrian Centre are much more than this, while Lee Valley Riding School and Dulhich Riding School are cheaper. People who don't want to pay as much can also venture into Greater London.
The riding teachers who were at the school during the week were older women. There is also one older man there who gives lessons. Older teachers are often better as they are more experienced than younger ones. Sometimes - but not always - they notice things that younger teacher's don't. Sometimes it's good to have a wise and reassuring head, while other times it's nice to have a young person who's on your wavelength and you can be more friendly with.
Either way, the older teachers at Ealing Riding School are very professional, experienced and engaged during the lesson (this is using the teacher I had as a standard for all of them).
Having a private lesson also allows them give you 100 per cent of their attention. It also seems like their style there is to be in constant communication with the rider, which can be better than an instructor who sits back and stays silent while you ride. For me personally, it's very reassuring to have the instructor in constant communication with you and it can create a feeling of safety. They are also knowledgeable about horses, and able to asses how the rider is interacting with them.
Weekend group lessons at this equestrian centre are not quite of the same standard as weekday private lessons. Some of the instructors are younger, are already friends with many of the other young riders, and just lack the experience and professionalsm of an older teacher. I'm sure this doesn't apply to all group lessons, but it's what it was like at the one I went to, which was also a bit chaotic as two groups were in the same school.
There are around 20 - 25 horses and ponies at Ealing Riding School. They are all typical riding school animals. Most of the horses are the larger cold-blooded heavy-footed cob type horses. These are excellent for learning to ride on because they are calmer and safer for beginners (and insurance purposes for the school).
The horses here are fairly well-schooled in the basic horse riding aides and in basic lateral movements such as leg yielding and turning on the forehand. Some may be slightly more advanced and able to perform shoulder-fore, shoulder-in and traverse.Many of them are also able to jump to a basic standard.
Unfortunately, because of the location and the reasons explained above, the horses do not have anywhere such as a field or pasture to be turned out for grazing. This can effect their temperament, and at weekends when they see the other steeds out in the schools in lessons they may become impatient and agitated wanting to join them.
There are three outdoor floodlit schools, or menages here. They have bark chipping on the floor which is quite a good surface. There are stables for two dozen animals.
There is a small reception area that is heated and covered. It includes a small tack shop selling boots, hats, whips and other small essentials. There are also vending machines for drinks, indoor toilets, changing rooms and a nappy changing room. The school also has a 'lecture' room with TV and DVD player to be used during severe whether. There are picnic benches indoors and also outdoors, which are nice to sit on and watch the lessons on a nice Summer's day.
Overall, these are fairly standard facilities. Other schools will have better facilities and others will not be as good.
Ealing Riding School
17-19 Gunnersbury Ave
Ealing, London W5 3XD
Phone: 020 8992 3808
The overall impression of this London riding school is generally positive. The teachers are helpful, experienced and professional. The horses are generally the standard expected from a riding school. The location is good and the price is about average for the capital. The staff are friendly.
It's not a school recommended for an advanced rider. For that go Trent Park Equestrian Centre. But for children and for beginner and intermediate riders it is a useful place to ride. Overall, it's probably a 6.5/10.
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