Hey London -- I have a pony request!
March 22, 2010 6:44 AM   Subscribe

Hey London -- I have a pony request! No, really - a REAL pony request: American Mefite visiting has heard rumours that there are actual pony/horse rides available at some local parks. This is as far as my knowledge on the matter goes. I am an accomplished equestrian (and do tend to bounce when thrown, anyway) so, I don't want to ride a merry-go-round. Where can I find a spot to go for a ride? Would anyone like to join me?
posted by caveat empress to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (15 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Visiting where, and when? Best bet is to contact the local to your visitor's spot Parks and Recreation dept, both city and county (in my area it is offered at county parks mostly). Additionally, stop at local spots to pick up area parenting activities magazines, they'll have ads and possibly articles with listings of local ranches or ranch-like places for young and old riders (summer camp season is heating up and there will be ads).
posted by tilde at 6:48 AM on March 22, 2010

Oh, doh, idiot me. I totally missed the "hey London" part. Don't mind me I need more coffee.
posted by tilde at 6:48 AM on March 22, 2010

Best answer: There are dedicated horse riding rows in Hyde Park in Central London, more details of opportunties to ride here.
posted by biffa at 6:50 AM on March 22, 2010

Response by poster: Tilde - no worries! I ALWAYS need more coffee!

Biffa - Wonderful information! I am going to book for tomorrow if possible - would you like to join?
posted by caveat empress at 7:01 AM on March 22, 2010

Mod note: added location to the question itself, not just the title, carry on
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:04 AM on March 22, 2010

Best answer: You can hire horses at Wimbledon Village Stables and ride on Wimbledon Common and Richmond Park.
posted by sagwalla at 7:15 AM on March 22, 2010

Best answer: This was just in Time Out -- there are four places at the bottom of this article on "Things to do on Sunday". Try the Richmond Park Stables.
posted by patricio at 7:21 AM on March 22, 2010

Best answer: I rode with Hyde Park Stables last year. They were very organized and responsible and gave me a lovely piebald Irish cob. Note that they are super-duper-ultra safety conscious, so much so that even though I have evented and competed in dressage and ridden for 25 years and even taught, they had me on a leadline for the first ten minutes. I didn't mind. I'd been dreaming of riding in Hyde Park since I read Gillian Baxter's Tan and Tarmac as a kid. And eventually I was allowed off the lead and we trotted past the Serpentine. No cantering, though.

So, you know, unforgettable fulfillment of a childhood dream - I rode on Rotten Row!!! - made all the more fun for me by the fact that my New Zealand guide had trained with my New Zealand trainer in California. International Kiwi showjumping mafia for the win. But as rides go, fairly tame. Next time I am hoping to try out Mudchute Equestrian on the Isle of Dogs.
posted by rdc at 7:46 AM on March 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: In Victorian London, Rotten Row was the place to be seen if you wanted to go out riding. The two stables still serving it are Hyde Park Stables (biffa's link above) and Ross Nye Stables.

In Rotten Row a cigarette
I sat and smoked, with no regret
For all the tumult that had been.
The distances were still and green,
And streaked with shadows cool and wet.

A horse or two there was to fret
The soundless sand; but work and debt,
Fair flowers and falling leaves between,
While clocks are chiming clear and keen,
A man may very well forget
In Rotten Row.

(W.E. Henley, 'In Rotten Row')
posted by verstegan at 7:47 AM on March 22, 2010

Response by poster: Thank you! So many wonderful stables... I may go riding everyday until I head back across the pond!

If anyone would like to join - MeMail me!
posted by caveat empress at 7:58 AM on March 22, 2010

Hi caveat empress, thanks for the offer, but I'm far away, and would struggle with anything beyond a rocking horse. Have a good visit!
posted by biffa at 10:26 AM on March 22, 2010

Best answer: Another vote for Richmond Park here. A friend of mine who is also a serious rider (management consulting travelling schedule permitting) says that they can cope with every level of rider down there. Apparently there are a number of steely-eyed former professional jockey 'workout boys' just itching to see what you're made of.

Frankly, it all sounds a bit too much like A View to a Kill to me - I'll stick to cycling on the inner ring!
posted by dmt at 10:31 AM on March 22, 2010

Response by poster: Hmmmm. I am a retired professional female jockey, not a workout grrl.... this could be interesting. Richmond Park it is!

Looks like Pallas Athena is game. Join us dmt?
posted by caveat empress at 10:44 AM on March 22, 2010

Sadly I'm travelling at the moment but have a blast.
posted by dmt at 8:08 AM on March 23, 2010

A fabulous place that seems like a huge secret event to London's horse folk, is Mud Chute City Farm, an absolutely utopian stable near The City where you ride in green parks with the bank buildings in the skyline beyond. I'm an accomplished equestrian, and the horses are of a higher calibur than anywhere I rode in London (and I rode a lot), and most importantly the instruction and riding is REAL, not as you say, a pony ride or merry-go-round.
Have a great time!
posted by SarahWriter at 1:47 PM on June 14, 2010

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