SUMMER 23/24

STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSE’S MOUTH – HORSE RIDING SCHOOLS AND CAMPS
It is the dream of so many children to ride a horse; to spend time with these fascinating animals and, along with other like-minded young people, discover how to interact and care for them. COAST magazine’s specialist equestrian writer took a look at riding schools around the Central Coast and Lake Macquarie that offer individual and group lessons, as well as many that hold clinics and camps during the school holidays.

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GLENWORTH VALLEY OUTDOOR ADVENTURES 

69 Cooks Road, Glenworth Valley 

• Lessons and riding tours through Australian bushland. 

• School holiday camps, catering from the complete beginner up to advanced pony club riders. Kids will learn new skills and meet new friends. 

‘At Glenworth Valley you’ll discover the timeless adventure of riding horseback through Australia’s awe-inspiring wilderness,’ says owner, Barton Lawler. ‘With over 1,200 hectares of natural bushland, you’ll idle down spectacular trails and splash through pristine creeks. With 250 horses, we are Australia’s largest horse-riding centre, and you’ll hand-pick your horse to match to your size and riding experiencing.’ 

THE OUTLOOK RIDING ACADEMY 

Gate 2, 256 Scenic Highway, Terrigal 

• Set on more than seven attractive hectares bordering extensive natural bushland and Avoca Lake. 

• Combines well-schooled, calm and sound horses and ponies, with an expert team of professional instructors. The Academy offers private and group lessons for all ages and abilities. Accommodation is also available at the Outlook Cabana. 

• This family-run business is known for its lessons, pony parties, school camps and picnic hampers. It also provides psychology services and corporate programs. 

‘We value horsemanship and horse wisdom as much as mounted learning so riders will be provided with opportunities to learn with, from, and on the horse,’ says owner Sarndie Remond and her daughter Lucy. 

BENSVILLE RIDING SCHOOL

8 Bula Place, Bensville

• Everything from trail riding, private and group lessons, pony rides and birthday parties.

• Holiday camps for all levels and ages with swimming, games and a lot of riding and horse care. 

• Pupils can also have a safe sleep-out with their favourite pony. 

‘We also have a great individualised NDIS program,’ says the school’s owner, qualified instructor and show judge Chantelle Allaries. ‘We provide equine-assisted therapy for all ages and unique abilities.’

YARA BALBA STABLES

102 Midway Road, Mandalong

• Yara Balba in the Darkinjung language translates as ‘Gum Tree Hill’ and lies on the western side of Lake Macquarie.

• The Stables, on 23 hectares, offers after-school lessons, specialist clinics and activities.

• It has a covered arena, show jumping area, a long grassy riding track and a cross-country course.

• Also has a farm stay, art studio and gallery. A place for both horses and creativity.

‘We run a small boutique accredited riding school with EA/Pony Club Australia-qualified coaches, and we cater for all levels,’ says Margrete Erling, managing director of the stables. 

COAST KIDS HORSE RIDING

4km north of Sparks Road, off Hue Hue Road, Wyee

• Instruction for all ages and abilities, and lessons in horsemanship.

• For tiny tots: Introduction to ponies. Children are led on quiet school ponies; helmets and safety vests are supplied. Because every 

child is different, instructors progress slowly, building confidence by playing games on horseback and introducing fun into their lessons.

• Adopt a pony for the day is an opportunity for children to learn what it is like to own a pony.

• They also supply ponies for parties.

‘At Coast Kids, all riders are supervised and instructed by experienced staff with the focus on safety,’ says owner, Patti Solomon. 

EQUINE SENSE

32 Dicksons Rd, Jilliby

• Private and group lessons for young and old. 

• As well as holding kids’ camps, Equine Sense runs an adult riding club and working equitation clinics.

‘Instructors with world-class experience teach all levels of riders here in the beautiful Dooralong Valley,’ says accredited EA Level One coach Sandy Langsford. Sandy is her own best advertisement, having competed very successfully in a number of disciplines including dressage, hacking, eventing, Western and sidesaddle, as well as having been an instructor for the mounted police and has broken-in and trained the police horses.

FOXHILL EQUESTRIAN CENTRE

142 Pacific Highway, Ourimbah

• Caters to complete beginners through to competitive riders. 

• Beautiful facilities and surroundings, and indoor and outdoor arenas. 

• Sound, safe training and care are our priority.

• They also run EA Horse Management Courses and Train to Teach sessions.

‘Foxhill Equestrian Centre has a holistic approach to training horses and riders,’ says BHSI (UK) and EA Level Two instructor Jacquie Baker. ‘Emphasis is on the whole horse and rider, including emotional, physical and mental wellbeing to produce the best outcome.’ 

BLUE GUMS EQUESTRIAN

79 Baileys Road, Ourimbah

• For riders of all ages, Blue Gums offers a wide range of lessons from basic horse handling on the ground, learning to become a competent rider, through to riding at competition level. 

• All-weather indoor arena. 

• All aspects of horse handling and training can be explored with school master horses or BYO. ‘The horses are your teachers, the instructors are your interpreters.’

‘Children’s Saturday morning lessons are an opportunity for kids to be with other children and horses to experience the fun of riding,’ says owner and Equestrian Australia Coach (NCAS) Irene Gavenlock. ‘To be able to groom their horse, become aware of saddlery and where it goes, learn to ride and understand basic control requirements, and to know that this can all be so much fun.’

EMERALD PARK EQUINE

200 Crooks Road, Mandalong

• Set on 45 hectares, offering lessons, camps, clinics and other equine activities with the Watagan Mountains as a backdrop.

• It has two arenas, a jump area, 24-hour care, camping and glamping.

• One of its features for children and/or beginner riders is that Horsey Helpers is held regularly from 7am to 4pm.

‘Horsey Helpers activities include feeding all the animals at Emerald Park, learning about horses and their care, interacting with the horses, exploring the hiding places where ponies go during the day and having a picnic lunch in the bush,’ says the owner.

WORDS SUZY JARRATT

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