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Stables

Saddle up for an unforgettable experience in Calvert Exmoor's very own Equestrian Centre! Learn important skills, bond with our four-legged friends and unleash your inner cowboy...

Stables Sessions

(This page is dedicated to the stables sessions as part of a redidential break at Calvert Exmoor. If you’d like to learn about private horse riding and lessons for the public, visit the Equestrian Centre page.)

At Calvert Exmoor’s fully accessible Equestrian Centre, we have our own on-site stables, indoor arena, viewing gallery and a purpose-built outdoor manège.

What is a stables session?

An activity session in the stables offers the full equestrian experience for everyone involved. Horse riding is a small part of it, along with carriage riding and horse care such as grooming.

Horse riding involves sitting on a horse or pony, or driving a carriage behind a horse, to learn basic control and enjoy the experience. It is both a recreational activity and a competitive sport, with a rich history and a wide variety of disciplines and styles.

Benefits of stables sessions are that it improves balance, coordination, and posture. It can also srengthen core and leg muscles. However the main benefits are mental and emotional: it promotes relaxation and stress relief, builds confidence and self-esteem, and encourages responsibility through the care and respect of the horse.

Horse riding and carriage driving are a key part of a stables sessions, but you may be surprised about how benefitting and heart felt it is connecting with the horses through touch and grooming techniques. Many guests make a real connection with the animals and enjoy simply being with them.

Horse and carriage riding at Calvert Exmoor

Our stables sessions focus on individuals enjoying horse riding OR carriage driving as part of a midweek or fullweek break (please note, sessions are not available at weekends).

Our specialised equipment and the accreditations we have gained over many years of experience can fill you with confidence that we will ensure your stables session is tailored to your needs and that everyone can access the session in some way or another.

The details for each aspect of the session are outlined below, with details about horse riding, carriage driving and grooming…

Your stables session

As you can imagine, these sessions are quite versatile. Your session may look very different to someone else, even if it’s on the same day, at the same time. Depending on your needs and your goals, your schedule during this session will differ. This is so our expert staff can make sure you’re benefitting fully from the activity.

What you need to know…

  • There is a 13.7 stone limit for riding a horse
  • Anyone over this weight (13.8 stone upwards) will sadly not be able to ride a horse but could partake in carriage driving instead
  • Anyone wishing to ride a horse will be weighed confidentially, in private, by the Equestrian Centre team to confirm they are not over 13.7 stone
  • Guests with epilepsy (Drop/Tonic-Clonic) will not be able to ride but could participate in carriage riding where appropriate, and guests riding with epilepsy (absences) will have to stay inside the arena

Read more below about how your session may look, depending on both your own and our staff’s requirements.

Riders

Click on each step for more information on what horse riders can expect from a stables session with us…
The tack room in the Equestrian Centre. There's a row of saddles on the back wall, a table with chairs around it in front and then to the left, shelves filled with riding hats.

1: Get ready

The tack room in the Equestrian Centre. There's a row of saddles on the back wall, a table with chairs around it in front and then to the left, shelves filled with riding hats.

1: Get ready

  • You will meet your instructor at your allocated meeting point
  • Your meeting point will be given to you on arrival at the centre in advance of your activity sessions
  • Your instructor will take you to the Equestrian Centre to meet the stables staff, who will:
    • find out what you aim to achieve from the session
    • get you weighed (in private) to assess which horse will be best for you
    • take you to the tack room, where you’ll be fitted with a riding hat
    • give you a briefing on how the session will run and what you can expect
A man is sitting on a ginger coloured horse at the mounting area of the indoor riding arena. Two members of Calvert Exmoor staff are positioned either side of the horse, talking to the rider and adjusting stirrups while a volunteer is facing away from the camera holding the leading rope.

2: Learn how

A man is sitting on a ginger coloured horse at the mounting area of the indoor riding arena. Two members of Calvert Exmoor staff are positioned either side of the horse, talking to the rider and adjusting stirrups while a volunteer is facing away from the camera holding the leading rope.

2: Learn how

  • Your stables instructors will lead you into the indoor arena, where you’ll meet your horse and one-by-one, mount your horse (this could be using our ceiling track hoist)
  • Before moving along and waiting for everyone else to mount their horses, you’ll have a check-in to see how you’re feeling and then told the basics of how to control your horse – you’ll also have a volunteer or staff member leading your horse
A guest in a blue fleece and gloves wearing a riding hat is riding a ginger coloured horse in the indoor arena at Calvert Exmoor's Equestrian Centre. There are other guests on horses in the background.

3: Have a go

A guest in a blue fleece and gloves wearing a riding hat is riding a ginger coloured horse in the indoor arena at Calvert Exmoor's Equestrian Centre. There are other guests on horses in the background.

3: Have a go

  • During the session, as a group, you’ll follow the instructions your stables instructor gives you as you ride around the indoor arena
  • Depending on weather and the group’s ability, you may be able to do part of your ride outside on a specified route
A guest is standing next to a white and black horse, whose head is down by its hoof, and she is holding the reigns within the indoor arena at Calvert Exmoor's Equestrian Centre.

4: Finish up

A guest is standing next to a white and black horse, whose head is down by its hoof, and she is holding the reigns within the indoor arena at Calvert Exmoor's Equestrian Centre.

4: Finish up

  • After your riding lesson has finished, the stables instructors will help you dismount your horse and depending on time, you may then have some time to help with some stables management tasks such as grooming, mucking out or feeding
  • At the end of your session, your instructors will ask you to return your hats and any other kit before heading back to the centre

Carriage Riders

Click on each step for more information on what carriage riders can expect from a stables session with us…

1: Get ready

1: Get ready

  • You will meet your instructor at your allocated meeting point
  • Your meeting point will be given to you on arrival at the centre in advance of your activity sessions
  • Your instructor will take you to the Equestrian Centre to meet the stables staff, who will:
    • find out what you aim to achieve from the session
    • get you weighed (in private)
    • take you to the tack room, where you’ll be fitted with a riding hat
    • give you a briefing on how the session will run and what you can expect

2: Learn how

2: Learn how

  • Your stables instructors will help you onto the carriage and, once you’re ready they’ll start the ride!

3: Have a go

3: Have a go

  • The carriage ride usually takes place in the outdoor arena or on a set route around our centre grounds
A white and black horse wearing full tack is walking through the indoor stables building at the Calvert Exmoor Equestrian Centre.

4: Finish up

A white and black horse wearing full tack is walking through the indoor stables building at the Calvert Exmoor Equestrian Centre.

4: Finish up

  • After your riding lesson has finished, the stables instructors will help you down from the carriage and, depending on time, you may then have some time to help with some stables management tasks such as grooming, mucking out or feeding
  • At the end of your session, your instructors will ask you to return your hats and any other kit before heading back to the centre

Non-riders

Click on each step for more information on what non-riders can expect from a stables session with us…
An image of large wooden stable doors with a sign reading

1: Get ready

An image of large wooden stable doors with a sign reading

1: Get ready

  • You will meet your instructor at your allocated meeting point
  • Your meeting point will be given to you on arrival at the centre in advance of your activity sessions
  • Your instructor will take you to the Equestrian Centre to meet the stables staff, who will talk you through the session and find out how you’d like to take part
  • You’ll also be shown how to access the Gallery Viewing Area, so you can watch the riding lesson take place in the indoor arena
Calvert Exmoor staff member and a volunteer are stroking the face of a white horse whose face is over the top of the door of his stable in the Calvert Exmoor Equestrian Centre stables.

2: Learn how

Calvert Exmoor staff member and a volunteer are stroking the face of a white horse whose face is over the top of the door of his stable in the Calvert Exmoor Equestrian Centre stables.

2: Learn how

  • Your stables instructors will teach you how to groom horses, feed or clean out the stables depending on whether you have chosen to do this
In the foreground are four blue chairs facing away from the camera, looking out over the empty indoor riding arena.

3: Have a go

In the foreground are four blue chairs facing away from the camera, looking out over the empty indoor riding arena.

3: Have a go

  • Have a go at helping in the stables – you’ll learn all sorts about the horses, how to care for them and more!

OR

  • Watch your group members have a go at riding in the indoor arena – you can watch from the viewing gallery

OR

  • Watch your group members ride the carriage. You can walk alongside at a safe distance while they walk their route around the centre or watch as they ride around the outdoor arena.
Calvert Exmoor Equestrian Centre staff member, Sophie, smiling at the camera and holding a horse either side of her using a lead rope for each one.

4: Finish up

Calvert Exmoor Equestrian Centre staff member, Sophie, smiling at the camera and holding a horse either side of her using a lead rope for each one.

4: Finish up

  • At the end of your session, say goodbye to your stables instructors, return any gear you’ve borrowed and head back to the centre

Stables session equipment

Whether you want to get an idea of what our kit looks like, or see some of our specialised gear that helps make our sessions more accessible, have a look below…
A view from below of a ceiling track hoist attached to a barn ceiling. It is a T-shaped blue bar with metal hooks at either end. There is a coiled wire hanging down alongside a blue belt attached to the bar. Attached to both is a remote control with coloured buttons.

Ceiling Track Hoist

A view from below of a ceiling track hoist attached to a barn ceiling. It is a T-shaped blue bar with metal hooks at either end. There is a coiled wire hanging down alongside a blue belt attached to the bar. Attached to both is a remote control with coloured buttons.

Ceiling Track Hoist

  • This hoist allows guests who may need extra help mounting a horse to do so with a smooth transition
  • When you arrive at the Equestrian Centre, if you and the staff decide that mounting a horse using this equipment is best, they’ll help you into a specialised sling. When you get to the mounting platform, the sling is attached onto the metal bar of the hoist to be lifted to the correct height
  • Please note: there is a 12 stone weight limit when using this equipment
The tack room in the Equestrian Centre. There's a row of saddles on the back wall, a table with chairs around it in front and then to the left, shelves filled with riding hats.

Tack and Riding Hats

The tack room in the Equestrian Centre. There's a row of saddles on the back wall, a table with chairs around it in front and then to the left, shelves filled with riding hats.

Tack and Riding Hats

  • We have an array of tack for all our horses, which you can see hanging on the walls in the tack room
  • This room also houses the riding hats, which you’ll need to wear if you’re riding during your session
An empty metal carriage with two cushioned seats on is stationary in a paved yard area. There are two long black metal poles extending to the right from the carriage.

Funbug Carriage

An empty metal carriage with two cushioned seats on is stationary in a paved yard area. There are two long black metal poles extending to the right from the carriage.

Funbug Carriage

  • This carriage is an option for guests who:
    • Are wheelchair users
    • Do not have sufficient core strength to safely ride a horse
    • Are above the weight allowance for riding a horse
    • Are not confident enough to ride a horse alone
  • One of the chairs on the carriage, pictured, can be removed, to make space for your own wheelchair to be secured in its place
  • The back of the carriage can be turned into a ramp for easy access
  • This carriage has a variety of modifications that make it comfortable, smooth and enjoyable for all
  • Please note: this carriage has a 17 stone weight limit

Horsemanship Tools

Horsemanship Tools

  • These could consist of a variety of tools:
    • Brooms for sweeping
    • Shovels and wheelbarrows for poo picking
    • Brushes for grooming
A person is sitting on top of a horse wearing a riding hat and the horse is walking, its head is to the left of the photo and its tail to the right as it walks to the left.
My overriding happiest memory is of my Dad and son riding horses, watched and cheered on by all our new friends accompanied by the theme of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly!

FAQs

Yes! We leave no one out and no matter what, we do everything we can to make sure you can enjoy the experience of stables sessions in a way that suits you and keeps you safe.

PLEASE NOTE: guests are encouraged to weigh themselves and give an accurate reading to staff during your booking process. Guests over 13.7 stone unfortunately will not be able to ride horses, but can still take part in related stables activities.

At Calvert Exmoor, it’s what you CAN do that counts. Our instructors use the term ‘challenge by choice’, which ensures that while you’re taking part and given challenges along the way, you ultimately always have the agency and control over your own limitations. Our staff are there to keep you safe but also build your confidence, even if this means accomplishing a simpler version of the activity.

Our instructors are not only incredibly experienced but also hold qualifications from esteemed bodies such as British Horse Society (BHS), Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) and Pony Club.

Our stables sessions take place in our onsite Equestrian Centre. This is only a 2 minute walk from the main building.

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