Parents Advice – how can my child start pony riding

In this 3 part parents advice video series, we help parents with the science that explains why riding is good for your child, where their riding journey could take them and how to get your child to start pony riding successfully.

Advice from the beginners’ experts

Shetland Pony Club is an award-winning children’s riding centre based in Cobham, Surrey. We have lots of well-trained Shetland ponies for children to ride. For 15 years we have been making children and ponies very happy. We specialise in beginners’ riding and first-riding experiences. Each child has their own individual trained person to help them with their pony so it’s safe and fun. It’s an ideal place to start riding and make your pony dreams come true.

We have a 5 star animal welfare licence and are approved by the Association of British Riding Schools. Having taught over 20,000 children to ride using our soft saddle success method, our customers trust us to give their children an amazing time as shown by our 4.8 stars on Google and over 300 5 star reviews on our website.

Why are ponies good for children – The Science: Parents Advice Part 1

Why are ponies good for children? Parents often ask us this question, and in the first video in our parents advice series, Rosemary, Founder of Shetland Pony Club, shares the science that explains this important subject. 

Spending time in nature 

There are lots of benefits for children of being in nature. Shetland Pony Club is a Founder Member of the Child and Nature Network where there is an extensive library of scientific evidence demonstrating that being outside in nature helps with long-term mental and physical health.

Connection with an animal 

Being with an animal gives the benefits of responsibility and empathy. Children experience love and responsibility when caring for their pony. Scientific studies have also shown that it can improve decision-making. 

Chin up, on your pony! 

Being on screens causes us to look down and have poor posture. Looking up and sitting tall is known to make you feel good and is an important part of riding safely. Learning new pony skills boosts your confidence and increases your happiness too.  

In summary, there are lots of good reasons why ponies are good for children. 

Where are our Pony Share Members Now-15 Years On?

Parents Advice Part 2

Many parents and children dream of riding, and our motto at Shetland Pony Club is: Small Ponies…Big Dreams. Yet, when you are thinking about organising riding for your child, you may not be sure where it could take them in the future.

Shetland Pony Club has been helping children start their riding journeys for 15 years. In the second of our parents advice videos, Rosemary, Founder of Shetland Pony Club, shares where some of our former riders are now. Take a look to see where your child’s riding journey could take them.

Success in many fields

Lots of our riders have gone on to own their own horses and become accomplished riders, with soft hands and a good seat, due to their sound start at Shetland Pony Club. Many have enjoyed riding with their families on holidays around the world.

Some have gone on to compete at high levels in polo and eventing. Some have even chosen horses as a career path, first working at Shetland Pony Club, then training as vets and veterinary nurses.

By starting riding on small ponies, you really can make your big dreams come true.

How can my child start pony riding – Parents Advice Part 3

Research shows that riding is good for children

In our first 2 videos in this parents advice series, we learned that regular access to green spaces, which happens when you ride outside, can make your child healthier and happier. Riding from a young age can lead to a life of success and fun too.

How can my child start pony riding?

Parents often ask us the best way to begin riding with children, because we have taught over 20,000 children to ride. Successful riding starts with having the right trained pony, and a Shetland pony is small and helps children feel confident.

It’s important to have an experienced helper. All our children ride on a lead rein, with a one-to-one helper to guide them every step of the way, making learning riding fun, easy and safe.

Special Riding Method

We have a special beginners’ riding method, where we use soft saddles to start children to learn riding. This helps children develop a good seat and position, and we add stirrups and reins later. Children ride outside in nature with friends, so they relax and have fun when they are with their pony, caring for him as well as riding.

Which type of riding should I choose for my child?

Starter Rides are a great way to begin from age 3. Children meet their pony and spend 45 mins with him. They brush and get to know him, and have a short, happy ride with their pony and helper.

Own a Pony Experiences are suitable for children from age 4. They meet their pony and learn how to care for him, as well as a longer ride with friends around our beautiful farmland trails.

Pony Share Membership is great for those who are keen to ride weekly, without the costs and responsibilities of actually owning a pony. It’s a practical way for keen children to learn more and enjoy the benefits of regular riding.

So, a great way to begin riding with children is to start at a specialist children’s riding centre, like Shetland Pony Club.

Bookings are now open for 2024, so if you’d like your child to start pony riding:

book now

We hope you found our parents advice useful. We can’t wait to see you for riding at Shetland Pony Club.

Contact us for more information on: 07734 950 309 or