Wowcher Does… Horse Riding

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This is the first in our series of Wowcher Does… posts, and what better way to kick off our adventures than in the saddle! Taking the reins are content writers Louise and Sophie…

Whilst Louise had only dabbled in horse-riding growing up, Sophie rode for her University team; taking part in ‘friendly level’ dressage and show jumping competitions. So we thought we’d head to Trent Park Equestrian Centre to review the Wowcher experience from two very different perspectives!

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Blessed with a beautiful sunny day, we made our way to Trent Park in Oakwood feeling excited and ready to muck in. This hidden gem lies beyond the bumper-to-bumper traffic, flurries of commuters, and general hustle and bustle of central London. A mere 30 minute tube journey from King’s Cross St. Pancras and a five-minute walk saw us emerge in suburban bliss, surrounded by rolling countryside. Upon arrival, it was clear that Trent Park had already exceeded our preconceptions of horse riding in London. We were surprised to find a well-presented yard, with the smell of manure and gentle sound of horses whinnying transporting us far away from the city. We stand corrected!

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A brief history

Established 40 years ago, Trent Park has quickly grown from its humble beginnings as a dairy farm to one of the country’s finest equestrian centres. The centre has fantastic facilities that seem to just go on and on, including two international sized indoor arenas, floodlit outdoor facilities, a cross country course, canter track and well-kept stables for over 130 horses and ponies. Beyond the confines of the centre lies woods and fields, where more seasoned guests can embark on a 12-mile off-road hack.

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Meeting the horses

We started off the morning with a comprehensive tour of the site from our lovely guide Chloe, which left us head over heels in love with several new equestrian friends! With cuddles from Fudge (a gorgeous brown and white pony who quickly became our favourite) kicking off the tour, things were off to a good start! From dressage masters and show jumpers, to hairy-kneed Cobs and cheeky Shetlands, there’s a mount for everyone here. And with names like Minnie, Mince Pie, Dora and Merlin, it was a pleasure to make each and every one’s acquaintance!

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Chomping at the bit…

Sophie: After our wonderful tour we were suited and booted with hard hats, riding boots and jodhpurs – not the most flattering attire, but needs must… and then teamed with our horses. My noble steed was named Polly, a beautiful 15.1 Cob. I headed up to the paddock with my instructor and spent an hour getting a feel for the horse, trotting, cantering, and rediscovering muscles I forgot I even had!

This is an experience for the young and old, beginner and expert, not to mention it’s all finished off with a well-earned slice of cake (or an ice cream if it’s hot enough!) at the Trent Park Café. I will certainly be keeping my eye out for the next Wowcher horse riding experience and you should be too!

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Getting back on the horse

Louise: They say ‘you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink’, and that’s exactly what I thought about the whole ‘horsey thing’. Not for me. Scarred by vivid memories of my five-year old self sat happily atop a cute Shetland pony… which proceeded, out of the blue, to bolt across the field, throwing me off and dragging me along the ground with my foot stuck in the stirrup. So when I was unwittingly coerced into accompanying Sophie to Trent Park last week, it’s safe to say I was expecting an embarrassing ‘one-horse race’ at best, a hospital trip at worst.

After explaining my lack of experience to the instructor, I was directed towards one of the friendliest horses at the centre, Hughie… A lovely white and brown creature with a sweet, docile nature, who was clearly feeling lazy in the heat and therefore not inclined to bolt. Perfect. Throughout the course of the hour I was taught the basics, from how to hold the reins to mastering the rising trot. A bit of a dark horse, I surpassed my expectations of myself by firstly, staying on the horse, and secondly, very much enjoying the whole experience! Just goes to show, it really does pay to get back on the horse.

Trent Park gets our vote!

So you’ve heard it straight from the horse’s mouth: despite our varying expertise, we unanimously agree that Trent Park is a brilliant place to escape the big smoke for fresher pastures. Keep an eye on Wowcher’s horse riding deals here for your chance to check it out for yourself!