Riding Lessons

ethical learning opportunities & experiences

Brought To You By East Devon Riding Academy

​Learn With Us

We provide horsemanship and riding lessons for all ages, our youngest rider has been 15 months, our eldest is in her 70's. Our lessons are mainly on an individual basis, or small groups of family and friends (maximum 3 riders). We do not put groups together, who you book for is who the lesson will be with. This is to avoid the 'one size fits all' style of lesson and ensure quality of learning and better value for money. Six riders in an hour's lesson is only 10 minutes individual attention each, meaning you could be riding for five times as long, either badly or not as well as you could whilst the instructor is helping someone else. This is unproductive, often a waste of money and can result in reduced safety, it is also harder on the horses.


"Every rider has different strengths and weaknesses, so we aim for bespoke tuition rather than just bums in saddles. Quality over quantity."


We will happily do a group of up to 3 riders, where we can still provide individual attention by having teaching assistants alongside the main instructor if required. Many families like this option, we teach several siblings and parent/child combinations who wish to share their lessons and we also have some friends who enjoy riding together.

We begun offering the opportunity for children to join us for the morning back in 2011. Our many years of experience in the industry helped us to define our Pony Mornings so we could offer children enjoyable, active and educational activities whilst providing parents with value for money and the peace of mind that we would strive to keep their children happy, engaged and most importantly, safe. Our reputation for hosting high quality Pony Mornings rapidly grew, we started with just two for the whole summer holidays and we now run two for every week of every school holiday and half term. Each year we welcome new children but we also have many returning customers, several who are local and some who just visit us once a year when they are on holiday. Some of the children who attend our pony mornings are regular riders and some have never ridden before- all are welcome as we split the group according to experience if necessary.

Adult Riding Lessons

Because we treat our horses as individuals, they are not expected to do every job, we therefore unfortunately cannot help every size and type of rider or we would have 100's of horses! If you are looking for adult lessons, please contact us with your height, weight and previous experience (if any) and we can see if we can help you. Our horses each have a strict weight limit depending on their level of training and conformation, please do not be offended if you are too heavy, we need to have limits in place to protect their welfare. We teach many types of rider, from complete beginners to those with their own horses. Just some of the people we have helped include-

Firstly, we understand children. We teach 1000’s of them every year! Our teaching methods follow an active learning approach, which keeps children involved by learning through doing, rather than the traditional but less effective way of just telling them what to do. All of our sessions are delivered through age appropriate activities, which enable children to succeed and learn whilst they are having fun. We guide the Pony Morning where appropriate, however we also encourage the children to be part of the decision making and empower them to have the freedom to discover and explore.
  • Nervous riders or those who have lost their confidence
  • Riders returning to their hobby after a break from horses or riding 
  • Adults who want to learn to communicate with horses using force-free methods
  • Riders who are uncomfortable with traditional tuition & who want to build a better relationship with horses via a greater understanding of their behaviour & ways of learning
  • Adults seeking harmony, finesse and successful communication without bullying, dictatorial methods 

Our ethos

All our horses and ponies have a home for life, we see them as part of our team and not just tools. We do not shut them down, ignore their communication and turn them into robots in order to make it easier for people to learn to ride. Neither do we use gadgets to provide short cuts for lack of experience either. We strongly believe in building a good foundation of knowledge and skill prior to doing 'more' (faster/longer/harder riding), this is to protect both the safety of our riders and prevent our horses from (even accidentally) being pulled or bumped about on. We teach people to understand how to communicate kindly and appropriately with the horses, explaining why they are getting certain results, good and bad. We are supportive and non judgmental, always working to help our riders enjoy their lessons and progress but never at the expense of the horse.

Secondly, we understand horses. We spend 1000’s of hours with them every year! The welfare of our animals is a huge passion of ours and we work very hard to look after our horses to a very high standard. This ensures that their health and well being is optimised and they are happy in their jobs, as after all, a happy horse is a safer horse. Our teaching methods do not involve bullying or forceful communication, such as encouraging children to kick or whip animals to make them do what they want. Instead the children are taught humane, respectful handling and riding techniques which keeps them safer and protects the horses from physical and psychological harm. Children absolutely love our kind methods and the harmony and success that they bring.
Thirdly, we understand what parents want. As parents ourselves, we appreciate that safety is a top priority and we structure our activities to minimise the risks involved with being around animals. We offer close supervision, well planned activities and high quality instruction with well maintained, purpose built facilities. We know that you want your children to enjoy their time with us, so we try our best to make this happen and give them a positive experience with lasting, happy memories. Our high standards, ethical horsemanship, fantastic resources and excellent supervision also give superb value for money.

Children's Riding Lessons

We are a rare riding school that offers riding lessons for 2, 3 and 4 year olds as well as older children.  We teach following an active learning approach, which has been proven to enhance learning and achievement and keeps children engaged and enjoying their lessons. Lessons often include age appropriate games and activities so children are learning without realising it. For example, there is a huge amount of repetition required to learn certain skills. It would be incredibly boring and uninspiring for a child to just constantly repeat the same action by going around in circles. Incredibly dull for the poor ponies too! So we often select from our large number of carefully created interactive games, which achieves the same repetition but in a much more child-friendly and successful way. More about us-

  • check
    We have an excellent safety record
  • check
    We do not shout at our riders or force them to take part, appropriate encouragement only!​​​​ 
  • check
    You can be assured that we will never teach your child to kick or hit their pony
  • All round horsemanship is encouraged, not just riding. Children are welcome to help get their pony ready or look after them after their lessons  
  • We work with all characters and levels of experience, teaching children kind, safer and more respectful riding and horsemanship
  • Nervousness need not be a barrier to your child. We are very experienced in creating and building confidence 

On Holiday? 

We are happy to provide one off lessons for people on holiday and to those who live more locally to us. During the school holidays we do get fully booked, so please contact us with plenty of time if you have a specific date in mind. It is always worth asking at short notice in case we have a cancellation space, however we can't always fit people in. 

How To Book A Riding Lesson


Please contact Natalie via email info@ridingacademy.blacknovadesigns.co.uk with the height, weight, aims and previous experience of the rider(s) and if applicable, the date(s) that you require. Once a time and date has been agreed, payment is required via our online booking system within 24 hours to secure the booking. You can find answers to some frequently asked questions below.

Frequently Asked Questions

What age can children start and do you accept complete beginners or nervous riders?

What Clothes Should I (or my child) Wear?

Where are you located?

What Happens In Bad Weather?

When Will I/My Child Come Off The Lead Rein?

What Is Your Cancellation Policy?

Is My Child/Am I Likely To Fall Off?

What Time Should I Arrive?

Copyright 2017, East Devon Riding Academy