During our recent visit to the New Forest, Ms B & I did a 60-minute horseback riding session with Brockenhurst Riding Stables. We had done the same two years ago, when they were still located near the Forest Park Hotel, where we usually stay (they moved to the new location just off Balmer Lawn Road, just over five minutes walk from Beresfords restaurant (see our blog post here), walking away from Brockenhurst).
Sharon, who runs the yard, is a lovely person and very skilled at what she does. Her sense of humour and way with people can perhaps best be described as a bit rough on the edges, but in a very good way. Just like last time around, she immediately made us feel welcome.
As requested, we had arrived half an hour before the start of the session. Five, six other guests had already arrived and the rest of our group of roughly 20 (not counting friends and family that joined them without the intention to do any horseback riding) soon followed.
We were given our gear, then several of the staff assisted each of us to hop onto our horses’ backs, which all went very smoothly. There were several parents with children.
One little girl, probably no more than 5 or 6 years old, was clearly scared to hop on the back of the tiny pony that was waiting for her. I never understand some of those tiger moms, but the specimen at hand wouldn’t stop bullying her crying, screaming daughter to mount the pony. It took the best of 15 minutes, until she finally gave up. The little girl was shaking and merely whimpering at that stage, a complete and utter mess. Mom decided to give the ride a miss, too, but left the little person in no doubt that she was not pleased at all.
With a 10-minute delay, we finally set off on our little tour at a very slow pace. After passing through some woodlands, we arrived at the heath. This is when the group split according to preference. Ms B stayed with the slow group, I, despite having zero skills, expertise, or experience, decided to go with the fast group. It was surprisingly easy to get the gist of the cantering, even though I’m in no doubt: my performance must have lacked any grace.
It was fun to do the trotting part, too, up and down mounds and ditches, crossing little streams, passing by free-roaming horses, ponies, and red deer (we missed out on the famous New Forest albino deer this time, unfortunately, last time we had spotted them near this area).
Despite the fact that the intially lost ten minutes were added to our session at the end, we still felt like we could have easily enjoyed ourselves for a little longer, but I guess it makes sense not to overdo it, if you’re a beginner. Everyone in our group had had great fun.
One 5 or 6 year old Chinese kid was so ecstatic that it simply physically couldn’t stop grinning from one ear to the other. Apparently it was soooo cute, according to Ms B. This ride clearly was the best thing ever to that little marine. The parents had major trouble getting the kid away from the pony and into the car seat.
We’ll definitely do another horseback ride-out on our next trip to the New Forest. 5 out of 5 in our book.
Looking for more outdoorsy fun stuff to do? Try our posts on hiking at the Jurassic Coast, our weekend trip to Norfolk (including a seal safari in a former Vietnam war amphibian vehicle), rock-climbing and off-roading near Porto, and our trip from Longyearbyen to Colesdalen, roughly 1,000km away from the North Pole. Perhaps you’re also interested in our hot air balloon ride, or our jetlev, powerboat, and jetski experiences?