Where to Take the Kids for Horse Riding Lessons in Melbourne

  • Kids

There's no denying horses hold a lot of charm for a child, and learning to ride one can be a lot of fun, whether professionally or just a hobby.

Most equestrian parks and riding schools will provide lessons for either, and often have school holiday camps and programs for a short-term intensive (perfect for testing the waters before taking the pony plunge!) Here are Melbourne's best. 

Valley Park Riding School and Equestrian Centre

Valley Park Riding School in Templestowe provides lessons in after work/school hours, as either private ir in a group situation. Everyone is welcome from beginner to advanced, and their Pony Birthday Parties are a huge hit with school kids! 

Holiday programs are also available, where internationally qualified and experienced instructors who specialise in building confidence in riders provide steady progress on the friendly and well-trained ponies. There is a varied curriculum across the week, where the structure of the day will be the same, but no two days' games and activities will be the same.

Children will develop their love and knowledge of horses in a really fun environment and can take part in Equestrian Australia's Ready Set Trot program, which is a very informal introduction to horsemanship.  In addition to riding, children learn all aspects of caring for a horse, including safety, grooming, tacking up and horse wellbeing.

Group Lessons are available for beginners up to advanced riders. They run every day for 2 hours each: 1-hour theory/practical handling and 1 hour ride in the arena. 

Private Lessons for any age and ability can be arranged any time between 8am and 7pm Monday to Sunday.

Kindy Lessons for children aged 4-5 are a smaller version of the children's group and goes for 45 minutes - the lesson consists of 15 minutes grooming and tack up followed by a 30-minute riding lesson.

20-minute pony rides around the property and arena are available for 3-year-olds who are too young to attend Kindy Lessons. 

Owning your own horse is not a necessity, as Valley Park have horses specifically trained for all riders.

What you need to know

Gunnamatta Trail Rides

Whether you’re looking for a half day activity, full day adventure, ongoing lessons or an action-packed holiday program, Gunnamatta Trail Rides provides!

The Kids' Program is for children aged 6-12 and includes Gymkhana games, Paint your Pony activity, trail treasure hunt, and a mini riding competition 
(Prizes awarded for 1st 2nd 3rd place)

The Beginner Suitable is for ages 13-16, and children will learn basic level horsemanship skills, horse health, care and maintenance; saddling and bridling, trotting, cantering, going for beach rides and more. 

Each lesson is held in the onsite arena and consists of a trail ride, tack and equipment lessons washing and grooming of horses, and general horse care. 

A hot tip: if you book three or more days and pay up front at the time of your booking, you receive 25% off the total price!

What you need to know

  • Where: Corner of Truemans Road and Sandy Road, Fingal
  • For more info: gunnamatta.com.au

Melbourne Indoor Equestrian Centre

Pony Club at the Melbourne Indoor Equestrian Centre is held each fortnight, where students learn all about horses and horse riding in a formal lesson inside the indoor arena, followed up with a ride across their incredible property.

Throughout the session, all aspects of horse riding, handling and caring for a horse is taught and experienced, including dressage, showjumping, bareback horse riding, horse riding competitions, obstacle courses, trail rides, cross country, and horse games. Children also become familiar with how to catch a horse, groom them, saddle and bridle them up, and then feed and rug them when they're finished.
Sesions are 6 hours long (BYO lunch) and are suitable for all children aged between 8 and 16 years old, beginner or intermediate.

What you need to know

Tandivale Equestrian Centre and Pony Club

Both group and private horse riding lessons are available at Tandivale, on either horses or ponies - and it doesn't matter what level you are at!

Group lessons are held on Saturdays and mid-week, where students are given the opportunity to look after a horse as if it were their own for the duration of the class. They also participate in the structured learning program, providing information on horse responsibility from beginner to advanced over the two hours. 

Lessons include one hour of riding, and the rest grooming, saddling, partcipating in horse handling, and theory exercises.

The Sunday program is a fortnightly day program running from 10am - 4pm, where students are allocated a horse for the day which they are expected to look after including feeding, grooming, saddling, and turning out at the end of the day.  There are two riding classes (morning and afternoon).  A BBQ lunch is provided.

Private lessons can be tailored to the child's ability and interest, held during the week only and they can be booked on a regular or casual basis, subject to availability.  

School Holiday Programs are run weekdays during the midyear term breaks and for a few weeks during the summer holidays.  No riding experience is required as students will learn the basic skills they require to groom, saddle and ride their own horse or pony for the day. The Holiday Program is also suitable for those with some riding experience as we will modify the format to suit the needs of our students.   

What you need to know

Wandin Riding Academy

 The Wandin Riding Academy offers one-hour private or group lessons Monday - Saturday for children aged 8 and above (either beginner or advanced).

Wandin has more than 20 riding horses, or you are welcome to bring your own for standard, dressage, cross-country and/or showjumping lessons.

Holiday programs and holiday camps are available during school holidays for a more immersive experience.

What you need to know

Hero image: Valley Park Riding School

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