East Devon Riding Academy

Horse Riding Lessons & Ethical Horsemanship.

Countryside Activity Centre near Sidmouth & Lyme Regis

 07771 903220

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On a weekday morning from 10-11.30 am we run Pony Playgroup, the parent and toddler group in the countryside. There are also sessions every school holiday. We offer a varied programme of indoor and outdoor games, activities and experiences for you and your child to enjoy together. Pony Playgroup is suitable for children who are walking, up to four years of age; we have little ponies for little people and the parents often enjoy grooming them too! We have toilet facilities and tea and coffee is available, so why not join us for some quality time with your little one? Just £6.95 a session (adults & baby siblings not walking FREE). Special discounted riding sessions are also available for those who attend Pony Playgroup.


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East Devon Riding Academy offers safe and fun sessions for young children to introduce them to the world of ponies and riding.

Riding schools rarely accept young children but we are different! We are pleased to offer opportunities for children under 4, either through our Pony Playgroup or individual sessions.

Call us on 07771 903220 if you would like further information about how we can help you begin your child’s journey with horses.



We are experienced in teaching children from a young age, with a friendly and careful approach. We don’t just plonk the child on! Depending on the age and character of each individual child, we mix and match specially developed games and activities. Very first meetings with a pony can include patting and grooming, then practice mounting on the plastic saddle horse before progressing to riding a real pony in the arena. This is ideal to build confidence and introduce interacting with a large animal safely and progressively. Lessons are designed to teach a child to ride in a way that they can relate to and then make progress. Lessons here are not about the instructor ‘directing traffic’ or children riding round and round like passengers on a robot. We try to ensure they are very interactive, with the riders always being encouraged to build a safe relationship with the ponies. Games and activities are used to teach and practice an underlying aim e.g. halting, turning or balance. Lessons are on an individual basis, not group sessions and parents are welcome to walk alongside or watch from the sidelines.

 Yes! They like being involved and to feel in control, just like adults. Even at a young age we believe that the rider should have some understanding of communicating with a pony- they shouldn’t just sit there! It is an important skill for a rider to both feel what a pony is doing and also to ask it to do something, obviously relevant to the riders age and physical ability.

 For example: we will teach young children when a pony speeds up or slows down in walk. We also show them how to ask their pony to do this. This teaches many skills; feel, balance, co-ordination, etc and also shows them riding is a partnership between them and the pony. BUT, we do this in a way that is relevant to a three year old! They don’t know they are learning to balance when a pony changes speed. Nor do they realise they are learning to co-ordinate their seat and legs. They think they are slowing down or speeding up so they ‘Don’t wake up the troll!!’

Much more fun to a three year old!