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Riding in London or other study-abroad?

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  • Riding in London or other study-abroad?

    Hi all,

    I am looking into studying abroad in London next fall and was curious to know if anyone on here was from London and could discuss options? I've only been for a week-long visit and have no real sense of transportation or access to horsey-areas.

    I'd also be interested to know if anyone had any ideas for study-abroad programs (for college-credit) where I could also ride?

    I know both are such long-shots it almost sounds silly but I figured it was worth a shot!

    “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” -Howard Thurman

  • #2
    I rode while I studied abroad! I lived in Seville, Spain and studied at the University of Sevilla. I used google and sent some emails and found a wonderful and quiet dressage barn about 40 minutes outside of the city. I took the bus and the barn owner picked me up and dropped me off at the bus stop! It was a wonderful experience. I rode amazing spanish stallions, and even got to attend SICAB, the big festival of the PRE horse in Sevilla with the barn owner and the trainer and meet all sorts of interesting people (and become fluent in spanish in the process!)


    • #3
      There are lots of good stables within a reasonable commute of London. I used to go over for business and hack in Windsor with a local stable near Bracknell (cannot remember the name of it!) I would take the train out and then a short cab ride (about 5 pounds). Be ready to gallop on, and they are not deterred by torrential rain :-). Riding in Windsor is incredible, just try to go with a private stable instead of one of the rental hack places.


      • #4
        1. Please, please, please immerse yourself in the culture. Spend time really exploring London and the British lifestyle there. Riding is great, but spending all that time getting places to be able to hop on a horse for half an hour isn't worth the time it takes to get there and back when you have only four months in a country.

        2. That being said, I OFTEN went for hacks in Hyde Park. I believe it was through Hyde Park Stables, but their website is very different than the one I remember, which doesn't mean much, but I'm not entirely sure. The first time you go they pony you out into the park until they know you can ride. I remember my first ride with them the other person riding with us was not as advanced as they claimed and I had to be turned loose so they could deal with that person. The second time I went they were leading me and my riding partner out and one of the trainers recognized me and told the other I was fine to ride out off lead. They paid attention and were easy to schedule with. I just like it because it was a quick ride to get there, a decently long ride through the park and then back to real life. The horses did a few rides a day, but were well cared of, fat and happy. Also, people watching from horseback is quite fun.


        • #5
          I studied abroad in Austria and did a working internship with a facility that specialized in sport horses, jumpers, and eventing. Lots of stable management experience, riding European horses, and time with incredible riders. I did this with an 18 credit load, over the 4 months that I was in Austria. I also went on many trips (France, Germany, Luxemburg, Belgium, Czech Republic, Netherlands, etc.) and did lots of activities with my host family. (who convienantly had a 7 year old daughter who LOVED horses and did vaulting/dressage!)

          BEST experience of my life. Hard work, but if you plan your schedule well you can fit it all in.. but be warned it will FLY by!

          My University in Austria helped to set-up the internship and helped to balance it with the 18 credits I had. This counted for credit, gave me valuable horse experience in Europe, and didn't take away from what the country had to offer. If anything, it improved my exprience because I had to figure out the transportation system, be extremely independent, all while speaking about 3 words of German! haha

          Good luck! You will love it. I never made it to London, but talk to trainers in your area, they may have connections abroad for a working student position. I had a trainer that would have offered that opportunity had I studied in the UK, but I ended up in Austria. PM me if you have any study abroad specific questions.


          • #6
            What degree are you doing? I know that my school, Hartpury College do an exchange with Del Val and Lake Erie I believe and in the past have done it with Centennial. We're an equine university with amazing facilities and amazing horses, if you could find a loan horse you may be able to get onto the equine academy with sj lessons from the GBR young rider jumping coach and dressage lessons from one of the eventing dressage judges for the Olympics and Rolex... oh and Carl Hester also comes to give lessons to the elite dressage squad. That said, it really depends on your own goals etc, in London you would have to train it/cab to a stable which may or may not be convenient and feasible for you. Other cities you may find yourself a bit closer to the countryside, worth a shot to look at all your options


            • #7
              I studied abroad in London for a year. You will find one stable in Hyde Park. I was going to get a job there, but the man in charge I spoke to was SO rude. I have never been more offended in my life. It was not just British humour either. Getting to stables outside of London will be pricey and difficult just using public transportation. Believe me, I tried. I don't really know how you will ride if you're studying abroad in a city to be honest. It is difficult to get out of the cities to where barns will be, unless you go through a specific riding program study abroad situation. That being said, I loved my year abroad soo much I moved to Norway, and have found quite the awesome working student position. Do not study abroad just for the horses. My year in Londonmwas literally the best thing that happened in my life. I would redo it a million times over, despite multiple flaws in the studied abroad system. I wish you the bestof luck!

              ETA: riding in Hyde Park is expensive, between my living expenses and the few trips around Europe I couldn't swing to take a ride there. I also tried to book a mini riding vaca in Ireland myself. Difficult because PF lack of transportation from a centra area to where the barns were. I also recommend paying the extra to take another course whilst in the UK. Most UK students only take 12 credits, so most programs only pay for 12 whereas the US is based around 15 a semester. Pay the extra fee it will save you hassle when you come home.
              Last edited by DarkStarrx; Mar. 28, 2012, 08:01 AM.


              • #8
                As others have said 4 months will fly by but it's definitely possible to fit riding in - I did it the other way round to you and did a semester abroad in the US (my uni was in London) and joined the IHSA team while I was there.

                Trent Park is really easy to get to by public transport - 40 mins on the underground from central london and then a 10 minute walk. They have some good hacks (trails) in the woods.



                • #9
                  I lived, and rode, in London, but that was 15 years ago. Besides Hyde Park, there is/was a barn in the East End of London accessible by public transport. I'm sorry I don't have more for you to go on, but that should be a start, there cannot be many barns there. If I could only ride in London itself, that's probably where I'd go. Also, I believe there's a stables at Richmond Park but don't know anything about it.
                  Follow us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/peonyvodka/


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by SMF11 View Post
                    I lived, and rode, in London, but that was 15 years ago. Besides Hyde Park, there is/was a barn in the East End of London accessible by public transport. I'm sorry I don't have more for you to go on, but that should be a start, there cannot be many barns there. If I could only ride in London itself, that's probably where I'd go. Also, I believe there's a stables at Richmond Park but don't know anything about it.
                    The one in Richmond Park is called Star Lodge. I was going to they and go out there as well. I emailed, and never got any response. It would of hit my transportation budget in the gut as well.

                    The one in East End is Mudchute Farm and Park. Far outside the normal transportation zones as well. No idea on their service as I didn't even bother once I saw how far out and didn't think I'd get much from the lessons either.


                    • #11
                      Another thing I just thought of- what about BUCS (British university and college sport association) Equestrian? Most of the universities over here do a team or 3 and they do weekly training with transport provided plus competitions. Works similar to the ISHA teams in the US.


                      • #12
                        I had a wonderful experience at Wimbledon Village Stables near Richmond Park. It was only one ride, a guided 2 hour hack, but it was so much fun... Just me and a guide, and we did a lot more than just walk around the park. They have options available for people who want to ride regularly, take lessons etc. It's expensive but worth it IMO. You travel by underground or rail to Wimbledon Station and then walk up a big hill to the stables (which gets you all warmed up for your ride.)

                        The horse I rode is here and he was a "good egg." That's not me with him, though
                        You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                        1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"


                        • #13
                          University of Edinburgh has a herd of Exmoor ponies available to the students to ride through the highands.

                          World-class school and fantastic country!

                          ... just saying :-)


                          • #14
                            Does it have to be London? I am thinking that going farther afield would leave you more time for study and money for, you know, eating and such. Many colleges offer programs for non resident undergrads and smaller cities offer a wealth of things to see and do to immerse yourself in the culture for far less then London prices. Depending on your acedemic needs how about Dublin or Edinburg...there are also some schools in the Ayrshire/Prestwick area (Firth of Clyde) and I have ridden there-quite charming.

                            And what is your field of study? Many of the European nations are intertwined in British history, literature and the royal succession.

                            I did a high schoool semester abroad in Spain. University of Salamanca total immersion heavy in History. I got to ride a couple of times-on Andalusians out on a sprawling cattle ranch. Those prancy horses are faster then they look and don't tire. Very different from what I was used to...but that's the point of foreign study.

                            It was much more reasonable then the British programs and the weather was better.
                            When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                            The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by DarkStarrx View Post
                              The one in Richmond Park is called Star Lodge. I was going to they and go out there as well. I emailed, and never got any response. It would of hit my transportation budget in the gut as well.

                              The one in East End is Mudchute Farm and Park. Far outside the normal transportation zones as well. No idea on their service as I didn't even bother once I saw how far out and didn't think I'd get much from the lessons either.
                              Well, hardly. There are a number of DLR stations close by and London buses are excellent. But yes, you're correct in that an experienced rider wouldn't get much out of it - it's a city farm which does a lot of work with underprivileged children etc.


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by EasterEgg View Post
                                Well, hardly. There are a number of DLR stations close by and London buses are excellent. But yes, you're correct in that an experienced rider wouldn't get much out of it - it's a city farm which does a lot of work with underprivileged children etc.
                                Yea but when it is outside your monthly student zone card(which is crazy expensive) it just didn't make much sense. Like I said I never took a close look at that one.

                                Uni of Edinburgh is LOVELY a thousand times lovely.


                                • #17
                                  The dollar is crap against the pound (.62) and only slightly better against the euro(.74).

                                  Unless OP has a hefty budget, she is going to need to watch what she spends and a 5 pound cab.train each way wipes out almost $20-then she'd also have to pay for the ride.

                                  Just thinking there are better alternatives value wise in Great Britain or elsewhere in Europe IF they are available for her.
                                  When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                  The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


                                  • #18
                                    I agree with Findeight..., Paris for example, has a ton of barns in its suburbs and most are easily accessible by RER (the commuter rail where you can get cheap weekly or monthly student passes). I commuted regularly to Maisons Lafitte 25 mins by RER from Paris center and 3 barns all within walking distance from the station - 2 with in a short 15 min drive by taxi affordable. Plus Paris has some killer schools depending on your subject of study. I went for my "Monitorat" license while studying and now am qualified to teach the lower equitation levels. Plus getting the license taught me a ton or techniques I hadn't used before.
                                    OK so you have to learn a new language - so what !
                                    I ended up grooming at a great barn on the weekends and they would pick me up drop me off at the RER station. I got to ride some gorgeous Selle Francais horses and met tons of great instructors. Not to mention grooming at some big European competitions. Gosh I’d go back to that time in a heatbeat


                                    • #19
                                      When I lived in London I rode at Wimbledon Village Stables.
                                      It is expensive but the horses are well cared for and the instruction is good.
                                      You have to take the tube all the way to the end and then a bus.

                                      If you are considering other countries, when I lived in Berlin I got great dressage lessons an easy S-Bahn ride away for 20Euros per lesson. Really good value for the money, considering the quality of the instruction.

                                      Germany also has state riding schools that offer fabulous instruction relatively inexpensively, so if you pick a city to go to that has one of them, you're in luck.

                                      Berlin is actually quite inexpensive considering what a happening city it is. You can eat lunch in a restaurant with table service for 5Euros. I rented a room in the middle of the city (literally, in "Mitte") for 300Euros. Public transport was free because I had a student card.

                                      London on the other hand everything already costs a fortune and then the exchange rate just about makes you pass out. I think the tube went up to four pounds for ONE WAY if you don't have some sort of monthly card or other option which is basically $15 to go anywhere and come back. Jesus.
                                      The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
                                      Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
                                      The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY


                                      • #20
                                        Most colleges and universities have a riding club as part of the Students Union so you will have access to riding at reasonable cost and friendly-level competitions. If not, you can always organise something yourself.

                                        London has masses of stables. Given the very good public transport system, tube, bus and overground, all are accessible. Hyde Park is a ‘must’ because Rotten Row is where leisure riding began some 350 years ago, but the price is twice as high as anywhere else as the horses live in some of the most expensive real estate in the world. Richmond Park and Wimbledon Common, south of the river Thames, are also great to ride in. Hacking through a herd of deer with skyscrapers in the distance is wonderful. East of London is Epping Forest, ancient grazed woodland that has European significance, which is heaving with yards and horses (though half is in the county of Essex) accessible by tube and rail. Trent Park is a BHS test centre and claims to have taught more people to ride than any other riding school in the world. You can hack out with no road work even though the tube station is less than 100 metre away. Lee Valley Riding Centre was mentioned in this string: lessons not much hacking. However, they have clients who compete in eventing. Mudchute Farm, also mentioned, is the yard closest to the Greenwich Olympic venue. You can literally walk under the river between them. 32 acres within a stones throw of the towers of Canary Wharf and seeing rare breed cattle grazing there is quite surreal.

                                        The thing about the UK is that nowhere is all that far away for weekends out of London. Galloping on the beaches of west Wales is about 4 hours, riding Welsh Cobs in the Brecon Beacons, seeing the ponies grazing the New Forest, the Fells and Dales running out on the Pennines… Or use London as a hub and take cheap flights to ride in the wine regions of France or Lusitano dressage stallions in Portugal. Or don’t ride and go to one of the big B events; Blenheim, Badminton or Burghley. Go racing at Newmarket, ‘HQ’ of flat racing, or Cheltenham for jump racing. Go hunting, or point to pointing or show jumping, dressage. Never a dull day! Have fun.

                                        "Good young horses are bred, but good advanced horses are trained" Sam Griffiths