Written on: 26/01/2011
My 7 year old Daughter began her lessons at Barnston Riding center in September 2010. BIG MISTAKE!! The lessons started off okay in the indoor arena with approx 6 horses to a lesson and 1 teacher. I thought this seemed acceptable. I was charged £14 for the lesson and told if i was not going to lead the horse myself I would have to pay an extra £3 for one of the young stable hands to do it!
My Daughter had fortnightly lessons and after the first one, each lesson became more and more of a debarcle!! The amount of horses seemed to increase in each lesson - approx 9 horsess, Then the following week 10 horses and so on. When we arrived at the start of each lesson i would go to the office to book her in and request a lead rein. (I have a disability, I was unable to jog round the arena holding the horse for half an hour.) Then we would walk over to the arena to get her horse and find her lead rein. There was Apsolutely no communication whatsoever from the office to the poor teacher who didnt have a clue who had paid for a lead rein, if there was even enough young staff to do the lead reining and just looked completely stressed out not knowing what was going on! Each week you were always made to feel bad if you asked for a lead rein becoause they clearly didnt have enough staff for the demand of lead reins. I was even told by John (the owner/manger) one week "All the parents think they can just turn up and watch without doing anything and they need to start doing a bit of leading themselves!" I was astounded!! He then went on to say "so from next week it will be £6 for a leader not £3" Then on our last visit there (the final straw - so to speak!) when the lesson finally got underway about 20 minutes late ( as it often was because of the disorganisation) i was disgusted to see how many horses were crammed into that arena! The arena had been split in HALF to allow for TWO seperate lessons to take place and then they owners decided to book two lots of pupils from 2 lesson groups onto 1 half hour lesson to take place in the other half of the arena!! So in effect they had 2 teachers taking THREE lesson groups in ONE half hour time slot all crammed into the same arena!!!! I counted NINETEEN horses in that arena - four at the front of the areana in one lesson and FIFTEEN in the other HALF of the arena all just walking around in the circle waiting for a turn of trotting - you could hardly call it a lesson as there was not enough space for each pupil to get any individual trotting time. It was an apsolute joke!! Needless to say my Daughter promptly moved schools and is now settled at another fabulous riding school paying half the price (£10 with a leader) and lerning twice as much with plenty of one on one attention as there is only ever a maximum of 8 horses. Apsolute nightmare DO NOT BOOK HERE!!!