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  • What are our top 5 British boarding schools for riding? | Dickinson School Consulting

What are our top 5 British boarding schools for riding?

What are our top 5 British boarding schools for riding?

To reassure the young equestrian who might worry about missing their riding if they were to go to a British boarding school, we are pleased to confirm it is an option at many of the schools we recommend. So many, in fact, it is hard to pick a top 5 but here we go…

Bryanston School has a well-equipped Equestrian Centre open to all students, from those wanting a weekly lesson to those with international ambitions. Livery is available for anyone wishing to bring their own horse or there is the option to loan one. The BHS qualified coaching staff offer a rounded, friendly equestrian education, complemented by a team of clinicians who attend regularly and are competing nationally and internationally in their field, bringing with them a wealth of knowledge and experience. Riders can also work with the school’s Performance Sport Programme and learn about the biomechanics involved in equestrianism, to help them develop and improve. Competition is supported and encouraged, whether in NSEA (interschools) competitions or affiliated and unaffiliated events in all disciplines, while there is also extensive off-road hacking for those who prefer a more leisurely approach to their riding.

The Equestrian Centre at Mayfield School allows girls to stable their own horses or there is a loan scheme, so girls can join in with equestrian activities and develop their competitive skills through inter-house competitions. Experienced riders have opportunities to join the school’s highly successful Equestrian Squad, while girls who have never ridden before can attend lessons at a local, BHS approved Riding Centre. Whatever their level, the Equestrian Department supports girls to achieve their equestrian goals alongside their academic goals in a friendly, knowledgeable yard. Ponies and horses at the yard are cared for by a team of full-time staff, but girls are encouraged to help in the evening activity sessions, and are instructed in the correct methods of stable management and basic horse care.

Arguably the most famous boarding school in Britain for its all-round sports offering, we couldn’t leave Millfield off this list. With excellent equestrian facilities on campus, all levels of riding are accommodated. Riders aspiring to the highest levels of training and competition follow a comprehensive programme with their own horse under the supervision of a BHS Senior Coach. Receiving up to 7 hours of training per week, including riding, strength and conditioning, fitness and nutrition, biomechanics, competition pathway planning and equine specific sport psychology, they also attend targeted competitions. A development programme offers horse and rider 5 hours of training per week, including private and group lessons, specialist trips and tours, strength and conditioning and performance psychology. Meanwhile, entry level riders can learn on a school horse, with 3 hours of training per week, including riding, stable management, dismounted sessions and strength and conditioning.

Sidcot School offers either livery at its yard in the heart of the school or riding lessons for students who don’t have their own horse at a local, BHS approved Equestrian Centre, Urchinwood Manor. Keen riders with their own mount are encouraged to join the Equestrian Team, giving them the opportunity to take part in lessons, clinics and team training in a wide range of disciplines, plus regular opportunities to compete both locally and at national events with a good degree of success. The Equestrian Centre has some lovely facilities, dedicated and caring staff, and, as well as 1:1 or group riding lessons with highly qualified instructors to develop horse and rider, off-road hacking is available. At Urchinwood, horses are carefully chosen to cater for all abilities, and the instructors provide tuition for all riders from beginner to advanced in a safe environment.

As Tatler’s Schools Guide declared in 2020, “Stonar is widely known as the best equestrian school in the UK.” Its equestrian education develops pupils’ riding, challenges them and supports those studying for equestrian qualifications. The world-class Equestrian Centre includes an Olympic-designed cross country course meeting British Eventing standards, and the stables are at the heart of campus, giving riders easy access, even if only to visit and pet their pony during morning break or lunchtime. Students can bring their own horse or pony to school, or loan one from the Stonar stable, and there are options for riders of all levels, whether they just want a weekly lesson or more serious competition via a clear pathway for progression. The most adept riders may be invited to join the Stonar Riding Academy, supporting them with a more dynamic competition experience and access to the highest levels of coaching expertise. Take a look!

As mentioned at the outset, there are many other great English boarding schools with a good equestrian offering, including Abbotsholme School and Lancing College. North of the border, the best equestrian boarding school in Scotland is Kilgraston, offering equestrian facilities on campus, livery and lessons.

With so much choice, and so much to consider aside from their equestrian aspects, speak to a British boarding school consultant for the best advice on boarding schools in England, Scotland and Wales. Contact Gina now.