April Newsletter 2024

Hi everyone and welcome to the April newsletter! We have been thoroughly soaked with rain for the last month, but hopefully things will start drying up soon and we won’t need water wings to come riding!


A warm welcome back to Holly into lessons this week – as you can see from the pic above, she did some ridden sessions with (small lightweight) adults to make sure that she was sound and happy to go back into work and has now done some Pony Stars and group lessons.

Taking ponies back into work is a bit of a longer process than our members often realise – once the pony has the all ok from the vet to return to work, we then need to make sure the pony is given suitable work initially for their level of fitness, then mimic a lesson situation to ensure the pony is happy and behaving as would be normal for that pony, then they can go back into lessons. This isn’t something that’s required for our license or external quality assurance schemes, but more what we think is best practice with the smaller ponies as they normally carry smaller, often beginner level riders. With the bigger horses, we tend to have the staff ride them first and then put them straight into a more advanced adult lesson.

Neco has also now started to do some private lessons and he was delighted to be the pony used for the lunge coaching demo at our recent coach training day!


We will be running the following Pony Stars sessions over the Summer holidays and a couple of activity days for our teenage/more advanced young riders too. Bookings for all of these sessions will open on Wednesday 24th April at 10.00a.m for all sessions.

Mon 8th July – Thurs 12th July (inclusive) 10a.m–2p.m for riding group– Dartmoor Dazzlers (Beginner level up to learning to canter holding the saddle) £205 for the four days including group riding lesson each day.

Mon 15th July – Thurs 18th July (inclusive) 10a.m–2p.m for riding group – Welshie Wizzers (Novice level, having already done Dartmoor Dazzlers) £205 for the four days including group riding lesson each day.

Mon 22nd July – learn to lunge day (10a.m–2p.m) – Great session for both adults and juniors on how to fit lunge equipment, how to lunge effectively and which exercises to use. £60 per person.

Tues 23rd July – Leadership Awards Day – suitable for anyone aged 12–18 years 10a.m–2p.m) (whether they have done leadership awards before or not) – a day of team building, confidence building & communication skills – no riding involved. £60 per person.

Mon 29th July – Thurs 1st August 10a.m-2p.m – Dartmoor Dazzlers – as above description.

Mon 5th – Thurs 8th August 10.a.m-2p.m – Welshie Wizzers – as above description.

We are also happy to put on further educational/training days as required so if you have a suggestion of something you would like to do – either adults or juniors! If you have any questions about booking any of the sessions, then do feel free to email or ask Ali prior to the bookings opening on Wednesday 24th April.

For all the Pony Stars 4 day riding courses a £50 non-refundable deposit is payable on booking, with full payment due prior to the start of the course. Full payment is due on booking for the lunge and leadership days.

We also have grooming only sessions on each of the Pony Stars weeks from 10a.m–12p.m for £35 per session and you can book as many or as few of these sessions as you want.


As everyone is aware, we froze the price of lessons for three years during Covid and the cost of living crisis after Covid. The club board of directors agreed that having made a small surplus during 2019 and 2020, we would use that surplus to absorb the loss created by keeping lessons at the same price for 2021, 2022 and majority of 2023.

However, as you can imagine, the cost of provision has gone up hugely in the last couple of years – so the club made an (intentional) loss of £22k in 2022 and £10k in 2023. As a not for profit we are able to use previous surplus for two years to withstand the loss, but we now need to increase lesson pricing to cover the costs we are experiencing. Cost increases (just in the last 12 months) in addition to those we had already experienced in 2022 and 2023 (such as hugely increased electricity costs) are:

  • A 9.8% increase to the National Living Wage, meaning a large increase across our whole payroll.
  • Insurance cost increases of between 30 – 40% (for our public liability insurance, officers’ indemnity insurance and “asset” insurance (covering showjumps/arena event fences/surface e.t.c.)
  • A 30% increase in veterinary charges for like for like services.
  • A constant increase year on year for cost of producing haylage.

As always, as an organisation, we work as hard as we can to keep the cost of riding down, but many of the costs above are completely out of our control. Therefore, we are currently carrying out a review of pricing and will have to implement a price increase in the near future, but we will as always keep you all updated.


A big thank you to our riding school members and livery members who were brave enough to ride in the coach training day we hosted on Friday 5th April.

It was a great day with over 30 coaches attending in person and 10 online from all areas of the UK (including Shetland and London!). Sally was presenting the day, covering “Great Grass Roots Coaching” – so there were seven coaching sessions delivered ranging from a brand new rider on the lead rein through to some more advanced combinations, with sessions on making horses accessible, helping riders with confidence challenges and preparing for a first jump session. We got a lot of great feedback from the day with many mentions of how great the riders and horses/ponies were so a big thank you to everyone involved – it was a great opportunity to promote best standards of coaching within a riding centre environment.

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